Peter Bodo's TennisWorld - Martina and The Snowballs (Watercooler)
Home       About Peter Bodo       Contact        RSS       Follow on Twitter Categories       Archive
Martina and The Snowballs (Watercooler) 01/04/2008 - 1:10 PM

Phpzaszdepm

Housekeeping note: Make sure you tune in tomorrow morning for an important, happy announcement that is sure to bring a smile to many of your faces! - Pete

As most of you already know, the ITF independent Anti-Doping Tribunal handed down its decision in the case against Martina Hingis yesterday. The Tribunal categorically rejected Hingis's appeal. Hingis, the 3,456th consecutive athlete who, after testing positive, vociferously denied the charge and proclaimed her innocence, has been suspended for two years - which has become a moot point given that Hingis also announced her retirement shortly after the original doping charge was made public.

I urge you to read the entire report of the Tribunal. I found that some parts of it read like the script of a Monty Python movie. There's this whole thing about the doping control officer being "Mr Snowball" (his wife, Mrs. Snowball, was the one who actually supervised the urine-sample delivery process). And how about that bit (paragraph 36) about how Mr. Snowball thought it "strange" when the Firekitten gave Mrs. Bosanquet a kiss. Anyway. . .

I'd be the last person to advocate lynching people who have used or even just tried cocaine (among other things it would make me a horrible hypocrite, wink-wink), but the recreational drug is a prohibited substance and, at the end of the day, either you have rules or you don't. (Excuse me, I need to run to the men's for a moment!). Many people will think it a shame that this positive drug test will become part of the Hingis legacy, but something that came up while Pete Sampras and I were working on his book has led me to re-consider that (Back in a sec, where the hail is that danged Kleenex?).

You may remember that Petr Korda won the 1998 Australian Open (it was his only Grand Slam singles title, and in winning it he prevented Marcelo Rios from taking one) and rose as high as No. 2 in the world rankings.  Months thereafter, after a drug test administered at Wimbledon, he became the first high-profile tennis player busted under doping rules that finally acquired teeth when tennis became an Olympic sport again (in order to be an Olympic sport, tennis must embrace the stringent drug-testing policies of the International Olympic Committee). Korda tested positive for nandrolone, which is to dopers what a Big Mac is to fans of fast food. Banned for a year, Korda (like Hingis) basically said "To hail with it", and left the tour.Korda

Now here's the funny part. In 1997, Korda hung a surprising loss on Sampras at the US Open of 1997. This was one of the strangest matches in Pete's career, and it played out under ugly conditions, including at least one rain delay. Korda hung in there to win the match in a fifth-set tiebreaker - it was one of the few times in Pete's career that he had a match under control and let a guy come back to win. But in light of the Korda bust of a few months later, its perfectly acceptable to speculate on what role doping might have played in that win by Korda. After all, one of the things doping can increase your strength and stamina - two critical areas for the human pencil,  Korda.

Pete will re-visit this issue in his book, and it wouldn't be right of me to publish his thoughts here. But here are mine:  Korda was a player who gave Pete fits on more than one occasion. The guy was a brilliant shotmaker who seemed to play his best when he had nothing to lose. He was also a weird dude - he defaulted from the US Open after beating Pete that year, on the grounds that he was "sick" (it was an incident reminiscent of the Gasquet default at the US Open; in fact, there are a number of similarities between Korda and Gasquet). Still, if you connect the dots, even Korda's upset of Sampras is tainted.

The funny thing, now, is that nobody made that big a deal out of the Korda suspension and fine back when it happened. And while Korda lost all his appeals and had to return over half-a-million dollars in prize-money, it's fair to ask if that was sufficient punishment for a guy who won over $10 million in his career - plus earned hefty sums in appearance feels, exhibitions and endorsement fees.

I'm not sure that's sufficient punishment, and it isn't because of how I feel about Petr Korda. It's because how I feel about Marcelo Rios.

Rios was denied his one and only major, and it may have been because his opponent had the benefit of doping. I wonder how Rios felt after Wimbledon in '98, seeing that the guy who beat him in Melbourne had been found guilty of doping. I think that the ITF should have stripped Korda of his Australian Open title and awarded it to Rios.

Of course, the ITF has no such protocol in place. So I would suggest that the ITF adopt a policy of awarding all the matches won by a convicted doper for a specific interval (three months? six months? a year?). I mean, dopers presumably benefit from their illicit actions, at least in some cases (nandrolone, as opposed to cocaine) for some time before they're busted. So why not let the record show that?

Here's something else to consider, if you don't think that a doper here or a doper there can really influence the game very much. The record that may very well be the foundation of Pete Sampras's legacy is his six consecutive years as the year-end No. 1 player. Pete sealed that record in 1999, tying Jimmy Connors in '98. Guess who was really pushing him, near the end of the year, and threatening to actually make Pete have to play him in the year-end championships in order to secure the top spot?

Correctamundo. Marcelo Rios.

Now, imagine if Rios had the added benefit of winner's ranking points at the Australian Open. That could have given him enough of a cushion to finish as the year-end No. 1, with a major to boot. This become critically important because Rios pulled out of some events at the end of the year, which helped enable Sampras to catch and surpass him in the rankings.

Personally, I'm not sure you could re-adjust things like ranking points in order to mete out justice to dopers. That gets awfully complicated. And who knows what Sampras himself would have done, if Rios had won in Melbourne? You certainly can't take Pete's No. 1 ranking away, because Korda was a doper and you had to make restitution to Rios.

To me, the key thing is the titles anyway. So I would urge the ITF and other Lords of Tennis to agree that in addition to the usual punishment,  dopers be stripped of any victories or titles they won for a specified time before their positive test. Give the Ws, if not the ranking points, to the guys they beat. In my mind, Rios is the 1998 Australian Open champion and Petr Korda is the doper who never won a major legitimately.

This rant began as a speculation on Hingis's legacy, so let's bring it full circle. Korda, who to my mind committed a far worse offense than Hingis, is happily playing on the senior tour, acknowledged as a Grand Slam champ, and (presumably) livin' large. Even Pete Sampras bears him no ill will, which speaks well for Sampras. I've always felt that it's much easier to forgive than to forget, but in tennis, people seem to forget with equal facility.


739
Comments
Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8      >>

Posted by Grant 01/04/2008 at 01:18 PM

That Korda picture is hilarious. I guess doping also helps you win the steeplechase.

Posted by Grant 01/04/2008 at 01:20 PM

Oh, and doping is a hotter subject than it used to be, due at least in part to Dick Pound being on the warpath for the last eight years.

Posted by robbyfan 01/04/2008 at 01:27 PM

Pete writes-"Even Pete Sampras bears him no ill will, which speaks well for Sampras. I've always felt that it's much easier to forgive than to forget, but in tennis, people seem to forget with equal facility."

I found this entire post distasteful due to the tongue in cheek trying to be funny alluding to running to the bathroom, needing kleenex, etc. And how do you know for sure how your supposed good buddy Pete really feels about this? You are trying to trivialize drug convictions. Not funny at all.

Posted by Sakhi 01/04/2008 at 01:29 PM

Interesting post, Pete. Though my sense is that there is more to the Hingis story than meets the eye. Will read the tribunal report as you suggest, before venturing too much speculation here. Some comments though--while it might seem reasonable to question an athlete's entire legacy, post a doping offence, it seems also a bit unjust to dismiss a lifetime of effort on the basis of bad judgments. As a forensics expert, let me tell you that such doping claims are on an average 65% false--which means that the benefit of the doubt scenario needs to be stretched in such questions. As for Hingis, I refuse to believe she would be so foolish. Hingis, while clearly not a model of good behaviour, is one of the smartest players on the circuit. Even if she did snort the said cocaine, she did so post a bad loss, and did not end up winning or playing much of significance after that anyway. I think there has to be some room for emotional/personal distress as well---if indeed that was the case, given her break-up with Stephanek etc.
Am not justifying the usage of course, but I think you Americans tend to be very self-righteous about any aberrant behaviour, and some generousity of spirit might be warranted, no?
Best wishes for the new year.

Posted by Paul Ryan 01/04/2008 at 01:29 PM

I remember yesterday when I posted on the TW Awards thread about not getting nominated for one and how Pete said I could nominate myself.

Well...

I nominate myself for the Most Heartbroken and Depressed Martina Hingis Fan.

Granted I probably would lose to Ryan or the many many other Hingis fans here and worldwide, but man it all just hurts.

Posted by vanfan 01/04/2008 at 01:33 PM

Why is cocaine on the banned substances list anyways? I can not believe that any athlete would gain benefit from using it. It seems to me to be a moral judgement rather than a way to create an even playing field.

BTW, this has no impact on Hingis' legacy, IMO. All of her major triumphs came as a clean teen. Big whoop if she used a little blow AFTER bowing out of Wimbledon. And besides, who amongst us hasn't faltered, particularily in their 20's?

Posted by Pete 01/04/2008 at 01:33 PM

Robbyfan, you gotta lighten up there. I know for sure how my good buddy Pete feels about this because he told me, as should be obvious from the post and the fact that I am writing his book with him.

Posted by Pete 01/04/2008 at 01:34 PM

vanfan - Ihope it's clear in my posts on this subject that I fundamentally agree with you on all that, without wanting to shoot the messenger who brings us news that Martina tested postiive.

Posted by CL 01/04/2008 at 01:36 PM

robbyfan - Seriously, about half the country's population genuinely needs kleenex right now....

I always liked Korda's play a lot, but he was one strange little bird...which is why he reminded me of Woodstock from the Peanuts series. (Mostly it was the hair.)

But in anycase, I just don't think you can re-set the dominos... changing one thing changes everything...except when it doesn't. (oooh- I feel so 'Zen' ;-))

Posted by Or 01/04/2008 at 01:37 PM

OMG, ROTFLOL - For a second there, reading the title, I thought this was a really quick and crude(yet funny!) play on my thoughts and Grant's post in the previous thread.

Guess not, and I have a dirty mind, apperantly.

I think what's done is done, his title wasn't taken at the time, and I dare say it would taste bitter to rios.

I mean, does anyone really remember WHO won the tour the France when Landis was stripped of his title? I barely do, and I'm the girl who sat and watched Landis's famous stage 17.

Posted by Yummy Prince Fed/Karen 01/04/2008 at 01:39 PM

I think one of the reasons why people are so fed up of people who use various means to get ahead is the fact that the instances of athletes turning up dirty for drugs or admitting, after much denials, that they were in fact taking drugs at the time of their wonderful performance. In the case that is being cited by Pete, we will never know what would have been Marcelo's legacy had he won that AO. It is unfair for 2 people to go into a ring, we say let the better person win, and then only to find out that 1 individual had the advantage of using something that would make them stronger and faster. People have trained for years, suffered countless injuries, basically sold the clothes off their backs to ensure that they succeed at their chosen athletic profession and it is really sad when someone who wants instant fame and glory without the hardwork comes and takes it away. We look at the Olympics of 2000 and some of the athletes from many Caribbean countries who were robbed of their moment in the sun because Marion and company decided not to play by the rules. I am with Pete, take away all their titles, money and points, but I will go a step further and say this, fine them 10 fold - for every dollar that they won, for every endorsement that they got as a result of their doping offence, fine them 10 times the amount. I bet you it would stop. Hit them where it hurts

Posted by creig bryan 01/04/2008 at 01:41 PM

robbyfan:

Sorry to say, but the humor of which you speak eluded me, until you made the connection for me. Even so, I don't think Bodo was/is trivializing drug convictions in this post. How do you reach that conclusion?

As for the possibilities, all I want is consistency and logic.
Thus, discrepancies between baseball and tennis punishments for drug use incense me. Tennis' adaptation of IOC's drug schedule is equally distressing, and not because it's Draconian.

It really is a shame that the Tennis is in such a place as to prevent real genuine play; instead it seems only about tuxedo shorts, illegal drug use, illicit gambling, shrieks of noise, etc.

It should only really be about...

Time!

ks

Posted by vanfan 01/04/2008 at 01:41 PM

gotcha Pete, your opinion is crystal clear. I am just agreeing with you.

I am little saddened by some of the harsh criticism I have been reading about Hingis in the comments here and elsewhere. I just wish people would give the kid a break and save their condemnations for the real dopers.

Posted by Grant 01/04/2008 at 01:43 PM

"Why is cocaine on the banned substances list anyways?"

Because they don't want their players doing illegal drugs, which really makes decent sense. Between public image, the fact that you ban what the Olympics tells you to, and the fact that there was probably a bit too much blow done by players in the 70s and 80s, I can't really fault them for it.

I wish that they'd distinguish the banned substances between performance-enhancing and illegal, but expecting reason in this sort of area has always been a bad idea.

Posted by rudy3 01/04/2008 at 01:44 PM

Along the same line...

Mariano Puerta came back with a positive test during his Roland Garros run. I have wondered about the trajectory of Rafa's career if he lost that final.
Rafa would not have 3 titles and an undefeated record at RO, he would not have the 81 match winning steak. And he quite possibly would not have the record #2 ranking for 3 years.
All changed because of a doping opponent.

Question??? Baseball is an Olympic sport. Are the rules different because they only use college players? Please tell me the reason that Team USA is not made up of professional players, is becuase MLB does not agree with the anti-doping policies of the IOC. That should be big news.

Posted by omar 01/04/2008 at 01:44 PM

To suspend someone for 2 years based on one positive cocaine test, when cocaine is not a performance enhancing drug, is ludicrous.

And Pete, Rios deserved to get whatever he got, becuase the guy wasted so much talent and ability anyway. No sympathy for the guy.

And finally, Pete's year end No. 1 is a great accomplishment, but let's keep in mind how funny those year end No. 1 rankings were leading up to the 90's. Things were done pretty subjectively up until the ATP took over in 1990. What Pete accomplished was great, but real tennis year end rankings weren't even done by the computer until the 90's, so it's not like this record is holy ground here.

Posted by 01/04/2008 at 01:44 PM

I haven't read the tribunal but I honestly can't believe that Hingis snorted cocaine and if she did, it sounds like she did it after the tournament (I know the basics, not the details of the whole cocaine bust thing). As vanfan said, all her major wins came before this whole cocaine thing...the reason it just sucks right now is that people will tend to associate Hingis with cocaine.

The stripping of titles thing reminds me of the Romanian gymnast from...the Sydney olympics? I don't even remember her name, it's been a while, but she won the gold and her medal was stripped when they found she had taken some banned substance. She didn't know it was in her system, she'd taken cough syrup or something that had it. I don't know if she got her medals back or if the investigation showed she was innocent or what...but I guess there are always the ones that unknowingly take the drugs and ones who willingly take performance enhancing drugs to win. I feel like we'll never really know for sure who does it for what reason.

Sort of a ramble...sorry.

Also, Rafa won. Hurrah!

Posted by Veruca Salt (Has her golden ticket) 01/04/2008 at 01:45 PM

Pete, do you think the ITF could really go as far as busting in someone's house and plucking their miniature replica trophy right off the shelf? And even if they had a policy in place at the time, would Marcelo really have accepted a trophy?
Just an observation, but tennis players are prideful creatures. They always want to feel as if they really earned their victories--even if their opponent had one leg and just hawked out a lung in the middle of the court.
Yeah it's a bitter pill for Marcelo and Pete to swallow, but it is what it is, yanno?

Posted by Or 01/04/2008 at 01:46 PM

I too, have a hard time condamning Hingis for taking something that was not performance enhancing in a tournament she did badly in.

I just feel sorry for her, and I was never too much of fan or something - I wasn't a tennis fan during her years of greatness, only got to see her playing in her 2006 comeback.

Posted by harini 01/04/2008 at 01:48 PM

Bah sorry the anon was me.

Posted by DMS 01/04/2008 at 01:48 PM

I am rather sure you can be fired from the local Best Buy or Target stores for testing positive for cocaine, so I think the tennis slams & tours ought to at least aspire to such demanding professional standards, vraiment.

Posted by PaulC 01/04/2008 at 01:48 PM

Interesting post as usual.

Re: Hingis. I was not a huge tennis fan when she was in her prime. But I enjoyed watching her in her comeback. My question is, did she come back significantly more muscular? I seem to remember her as a string bean, and she was extraordinarily muscular in her revival.

I remember her win in Italy (last year? Year before?) and the camera was very tight on her face during the awards ceremony and it appeared to me that she had a big time mustache. My thought was, how does a extraordinarily wealthy, hip, celeb get caught dead with that on her upper lip?

Looking at her physique, and the mustache, I wondered: could she be on some kind of steroids?

I know, I know, I have nothing to base it on other than some physical appearances - and the thought left my head.

Posted by Tennut 01/04/2008 at 01:49 PM

So Korda made Rios the only ATP number 1 to never win a grand slam.

Posted by ptenisnet 01/04/2008 at 01:51 PM

Wouldn't any drug use during the '98 AO have been detected by whatever drug testing was done at that tournament?

Andrea Raducan. By a strange quirk of coincidence the head of the Romanian Olympic Committee and the man who spoke up on her behalf (and resigned his post because of this) was Ion Tiriac.

Posted by Suresh 01/04/2008 at 01:52 PM

Where is Matt Zemek to describe the picture ? ..the way only he can :)

Posted by rudy3 01/04/2008 at 01:53 PM

Marion Jones has been stripped of her medals, records, and money.

And it has been reported that the members of her relay teams will be stripped as well.

Slippery slope...

Posted by Veruca Salt (Has her golden ticket) 01/04/2008 at 01:56 PM

rudy3-I don't think it's fair to strip the other members of the relay team of their medals, they didn't test positive so why punish them? But you are right. It is a slippery slope.

I don't even wanna think about Marion. I defended that chick for years! To quote Ree Ree, " I feel violated!".

Posted by harini 01/04/2008 at 01:57 PM

The Marion Jones thing pissed me off. I'm glad she got stripped of her medals. I guess I'm going a bit wishy-washy here. If the athlete admits to the use of steroids or whatever drug, then yeah, he or she should be stripped of his or her title.

I always thought tennis was the clean sport. It still is compared to baseball or whatever, but it makes me sad that the doping stuff and betting and all this is bringing it up into the spotlight.

Posted by Grant 01/04/2008 at 01:58 PM

Two years seems extreme to me, but if I was looking to set an example, who better to hit hard than someone who retired and therefore probably won't fight the suspension?

Posted by robbyfan 01/04/2008 at 01:58 PM

Pete writes, "Robbyfan, you gotta lighten up there. I know for sure how my good buddy Pete feels about this because he told me, as should be obvious from the post and the fact that I am writing his book with him."

Pete-you just don't know who is reading or posting on this blog do you?

Posted by Snoo Foo 01/04/2008 at 02:01 PM

"I thought this was a really quick and crude(yet funny!) play on my thoughts and Grant's post in the previous thread."

Or: DMTA

Posted by vanfan 01/04/2008 at 02:02 PM

Grant. Not all "illegal drugs" are illegal in all parts of the world. This is forcing one's judgement upon another. I understand banning performance enhancing drugs but not so-called illegal drugs.

IF it's a matter of image they should also ban cigarettes and alcohol. Where I live smoking is not permitted in most public areas and soon to be anywhere in public. And alcohol is responsible for more crimes and deaths than any other abused substance.

I applaud WADA and the governing sports bodies efforts to clean up athletes but soiling a good person's reputation based on one positive test for a substance that gives no advantage is sad to me.

Posted by Pete 01/04/2008 at 02:07 PM

Robbyfan, whoever it is, I assume he or she is old enough to recognize humor when he/she sees it. In fact, I think our younger readers (Celia, Samantha, et al) would be not all corrupted reading this. As for six-year olds who are addicted to TW, I just don't know. . .

Posted by jbradhunter 01/04/2008 at 02:07 PM

*sigh*

where's a good sex-change tennis story when you need one?

Posted by rudy3 01/04/2008 at 02:08 PM

Even though we have an excellant tennis writer, Dale Robertson, here in Houston, tennis is rarely covered as a major sport. Even when we hosted the Master's Cup, it was rarely promonent in sports.

but today, Martina Hingis is on the front page. There you go...

Posted by jbradhunter 01/04/2008 at 02:09 PM

... Dima did say Feli was prolly most likely to make the switch to the WTA tour...

Posted by robbyfan 01/04/2008 at 02:14 PM

Robbyfan, whoever it is, I assume he or she is old enough to recognize humor when he/she sees it. In fact, I think our younger readers (Celia, Samantha, et al) would be not all corrupted reading this. As for six-year olds who are addicted to TW, I just don't know. . .


What the hail are you talking about? I don't think you are humorous at all when you belittle posters. I just don't think you should be trivializing drug use. You used the analogy of going to the bathroom constantly and searching for kleenex. Did I totally misunderstand the point you were conveying? wink, wink.

Posted by rudy3 01/04/2008 at 02:15 PM

Houston Chronicle headlines:

Woman trapped in elevator lived on cough drops
CPS: Mother leaves 8 kids to wed in Africa
Clemons says he recieved B-12 and pain killers
Tennis star Martina Hingis banned over coccaine test

Posted by Pete 01/04/2008 at 02:17 PM

Ptenisnet - You know, from what I know about testing (how much hide-and-seek can take place as certain chemicals spike up and down as a player more or less detoxes from steroids etc.), it may not be such a cut-and-dried situation. Also, I am not sure if at the time GS winners were automaticallly tested. In any event, I think that given what is known about drug-testing, surely there is a way one could establish a window during which a doper must forfeit all gains and privleges.

Posted by 01/04/2008 at 02:19 PM

"Am not justifying the usage of course, but I think you Americans tend to be very self-righteous about any aberrant behaviour, and some generousity of spirit might be warranted, no?
Best wishes for the new year."


Posted by 01/04/2008 at 02:19 PM

"Am not justifying the usage of course, but I think you Americans tend to be very self-righteous about any aberrant behaviour, and some generousity of spirit might be warranted, no?
Best wishes for the new year."


Posted by Pete 01/04/2008 at 02:20 PM

I don't know who I am belittling, Robbyfan. Really, I don't know what's gotten into you today. I maintain that anyone reading this post is old enough to understand to know humor from advocacy, but I am sorry if I have offended you in some way.

Posted by Pete 01/04/2008 at 02:21 PM

I always get a little weirded out when people use the construction: "You Americans (substitute demonized group of your choice)"

Posted by Sam 01/04/2008 at 02:24 PM

Pete: You mean all us Americans are not the same?

Posted by 01/04/2008 at 02:25 PM

“To suspend someone for 2 years based on one positive cocaine test, when cocaine is not a performance enhancing drug, is ludicrous.”

Cocaine is an illegal drug. She is breaking the law. Lucky for her she just got a suspension. It could be a lot worst. People have got locked up for a lot less. She should count her blessings.

“And Pete, Rios deserved to get whatever he got, becuase the guy wasted so much talent and ability anyway. No sympathy for the guy.”

I don’t disagree about Rios’ talent being wasted, but fair is fair-even if you don’t like the guy.

Posted by L. Rubin 01/04/2008 at 02:29 PM

"I always get a little weirded out when people use the construction: "You Americans (substitute demonized group of your choice)"

Yes, but Americans do tend to be a bit tight-assed about casual drug use. That said, I prefer the American attitude (which seems to rear its head during presidential elections) to that of, say, the Saudis or the Indonesians.

--Liron

Posted by harini 01/04/2008 at 02:30 PM

rudy3, that's awful. It makes me sad that tennis is barely covered in the major newspapers here...but when a tennis star is banned from a positive drug test...well, as you said.

Posted by Or 01/04/2008 at 02:34 PM

Um, people have gotten locked up for a lot less?

For what? a positive cocaine test? She wasn't caught with the stuff on her, ya know, if she wasn't a tennis star who gets checked up in every tournament, no one would even know.

Posted by The Original French(ie) 01/04/2008 at 02:34 PM

well I'm sad for Martina Hingis and I'm still puzzled about this (did she take coke during a party a few days before Wimbledon and then forgot it could still be in her system if she'd be tested during the tournament? Did coke could have possibly enhanced her performance?)-Ok I stop there but it's still idiotically careless and bewildering.

Also, what happened exactly to Mats Wilander when he was busted for the same use? Why did he get only 3 months?

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C02E3DE1038F934A25756C0A961958260

For me the irony and humour of this post is when mentioning the ITF giving something (ANYTHING) to Rios, who was universally abhorred. I'm pretty sure they would have preferred to exonerate Korda than to give anything to Rios !!!

More seriously now, about doping and athletes: I've read that the cyclists will have to produce a sort of "biological passport" that they will have to carry with them at all time. Should other athlete's in numerous disciplines do the same? I think so, it would prevent problems that Hingis hinted about the results (provenance and security of the samples) as well as force the athlete's to be more vigilent. Anyway, that's an interesting development.

http://english.sport.fr/Cyclisme/cyc/Un-passeport-biologique-des-2008-103713.shtm

Posted by Rosangel 01/04/2008 at 02:35 PM

Er, Sakhi, Hingis and Stepanek's breakup happened after Wimbledon, so taking cocaine during said Slam, by deduction, cannot have been a consequence thereof.

Posted by Andrew Miller 01/04/2008 at 02:35 PM

I liked how Korda played but it never made any sense to me how he won AO 1998, until I look at his draw that week (WEAK!)

R128 Portas, Albert (ESP)
35 6-3 4-6 6-1 6-4

Stats
R64 Draper, Scott (AUS)
76 7-6(3) 6-3 6-3

Stats
R32 Spadea, Vincent (USA)
79 6-2 7-6(10) 6-2

Stats
R16 Pioline, Cedric (FRA)
21 6-4 6-4 3-6 6-3

Stats Q
Bjorkman, Jonas (SWE)
4 3-6 5-7 6-3 6-4 6-2

Stats
S Kucera, Karol (SVK)
20 6-1 6-4 1-6 6-2

Stats
W #8 Rios, Marcelo
6-2 6-2 6-2

I mean, if ever Petr Pencil Korda were going to win a major, this one was definitely the only one. That is a sweet draw and he probably did not need steroids to make it through. Only the sado-masochistic Federer would look at that draw and not want it, because he prefers beating up on challenging players "who would win majors were it not for his birth."

So, the last laugh would be on Korda himself, who didnt need any of the stuff for an outside chance as AO 1998 champ. I love Rios but felt his majors performances were less than clutch. And as much as I like to rail against JC Ferrero for falling off the map, at least the guy learned from his mistakes and made himself a one-time French Open champ after his Finals blow-up against Alberto "I have as many slam titles as Roddick, Chang, Muster, Moya, as well as Ferrero and many other one slam wonders!" Costa. At least Ferrero made three grand slam finals. Rios, however, only saw himself through one and ranks up there with talented but unpredictably predictable Fernando Gonzalez, G. Rusedski and Martin Verkerk.

So, a thoroughly disappointing subject and disappointing set of results and outcomes, but it would have been nice to see a little more grit from Rios at slams. For all the breathtaking shot making - and from his racquet it really was as breathtaking as any player that ever played, in my opinion - never got the sense that Rios was interested in staying hungry out there and getting even with the unfairness that surrounded AO 1998 by scoring himself a slam title.

One thing to get angry. Another thing to get even (Ivanisevic, 2001 Wimbledon Champ!)

Posted by jhurwi 01/04/2008 at 02:35 PM

rudy3: baseball will not be an Olympic sport after this year. Both baseball and softball have been eliminated from the 2012 Olympics (but can reapply for 2016): http://tinyurl.com/2ylc9m.
The main reason given in the article is that European members of the Olympic committee felt the sports were "too American" .But clearly one of the problems with baseball as an Olympic sport is that major league players did not participate, and one reason for their non-participation was that the players' union refused to accept Olympic standards for drug testing.

Posted by Samantha 01/04/2008 at 02:38 PM

The thing I find striking is the utter stupidity of Hingis action. Now did she think she was going to get away with it when there is random testing. Also, the lack of respect for the most important tournament in tennis is revealing. My sincere sympathy to all her fans,

Posted by CL 01/04/2008 at 02:39 PM

I still don't think you can un-ring bells... trophy MAYBE...but at this late date? What if we find out some Champion Aussie was actually smokin' some of the cruciferous veggies under his hat? How far back if far enough? As for number one...pull that thread and it will ALL unravel.

Is there a snowball's chance in hail that this thread is not going to implode? I think I'll take my tattered lungs out into the cold air and put my skis on some real snow, and come back later to check for survivors.

I'll bring chocolate... a safe...and for now anyway, legal 'high.'


Posted by Tokyo Tom (tt) 01/04/2008 at 02:40 PM

I have sympathy for Hingis because the system is so stacked against the athlete. She reckons, and history from the Tour, suggest a million or more is what it cost to take the doping industry on, who will do anything to ensure their credibility is not put in question. As Sakhi points out there are considerable false positives from using over the counter cold medicines to muscle rubs.

For instance cocaine has the following false positive markers:
amoxicillin, tonic water (perhaps she likes gin), ampicillin and most antibotics.

Reading that report only highlights my opinion the current system is far less conclusive that the treatment of the results suggests. If the appeal system were more open, honest and fair handed, I would be tons more comfortable with the process. As the science is still subjective, and correct me Sakhi if I am wrong here, the process should also be a blend of science and common sense.

Posted by The Original French(ie) 01/04/2008 at 02:43 PM

ok this article from the french site above is an "automatic translation": the English is a bit weird...

That's where below, I first read about this biological passport (and also about the potentiality of antidoping actions contravening article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rightsm, meaning that athlete's could invoke this article and refuse the tests as invading their privacy, a case is pending). It was an interesting read.

http://www.liberation.fr/actualite/sports/289428.FR.php

Posted by eric 01/04/2008 at 02:46 PM

PaulC, I remember thinking the exact same thing watching Hingis. She totally had a mustache and looked huge--I thought she might be juiced, but dismissed the thought because she surely would have been busted. Funny how things turned out for her.

Posted by The Original French(ie) 01/04/2008 at 02:46 PM

aren't the Japanese completely "mad" over baseball too?

Posted by Tokyo Tom (tt) 01/04/2008 at 02:47 PM

They are and I have enjoyed many games by my favorite team - The Nippon Ham Fighters with a tasty roasted squid on a stick and a cold Asahi Super Dry!

Posted by Or 01/04/2008 at 02:48 PM

Rosangel -

The break up was annouced at the USO, we don't know what happened AT Wimby.

And now, factor in the Vadisova thing, and how fast THAT happened, and how neither Vadisova or Stephanek denied it.

A break up of an engaggment does not happen over night, it had to be brewing.

Posted by creig bryan 01/04/2008 at 02:50 PM

Samantha:

Is it possible for you to entertain the possibility that Hingis was not at fault? Is there any chance you might see it differently, or are you experienced enough in these matters to KNOW THE FACTS?

Speaking your opinion is one thing, but adopting and delivering a intractable position based on faith, not facts, is, er, religious.

It's as though you are beginning with one of Pete's favorite phrases: "Everyone knows she's guilty..."

ks

Posted by Ali C 01/04/2008 at 02:51 PM

Frenchie, yep. And Taiwan. China a bit. And most Latin American countries. All mad for baseball.

So really, it's just Europe and Africa who don't like baseball. But for cricket-loving countries, you'd think they'd love another slow ball-and-bat game. ;)

Posted by DMS 01/04/2008 at 02:55 PM

yes, Japan is mad over baseball because like their current MacArthur cadre written constitution, we (as in the U.S.) exported that game to them as well while we administered our little occupation.

Posted by harini 01/04/2008 at 03:04 PM

somehow i find i enjoy watching cricket more than baseball...but that's just me.

Posted by creig bryan 01/04/2008 at 03:05 PM

> "...She totally had a mustache and looked huge--I thought she might be juiced,..."

So, let's see about this deceased Equinine. Using deductive reasoning, I submit that: She used cocaine, not once, but regularly (which she was able to mask by drinking excessive amount of Orange Juice-which would retroactively impeach a certain ex-coach and his ex-charge) in order to enhance her masculine appeal in the hopes that Radek would be see the Samson-like power she possessed and avert the impending breakup. Then, to take the heat off of her, she had some goons make strange bets on The Obscure One, which only worked for a while. So, she...

C'mon.

ks

Posted by The Original French(ie) 01/04/2008 at 03:07 PM

well then I don't see why baseball should not be included as an olympic discipline! It's not fair, perhaps Samaranch or Rogge did not get enough ahem, "incentives" to push for that discipline....

I've made some research and found the sites of the teams.
http://www.japanball.com/teams_websites.htm

Posted by Rosangel 01/04/2008 at 03:08 PM

Or - the breakup was announced before the USO.

Posted by Veruca Salt (Has her golden ticket) 01/04/2008 at 03:10 PM

"somehow i find i enjoy watching cricket more than baseball...but that's just me."


Veruca sez: I enjoy watching paint dry, snails crawl, the crazy lady down the street scream at the bus stop, and my plant die more than baseball...but that's just me.

Posted by Rosangel 01/04/2008 at 03:10 PM

Specifically, it was announced on 11 August, in Montreal, by an ATP spokesperson, after Radek had been beaten in the semifinal there.

Posted by Or 01/04/2008 at 03:11 PM

Yea, the USO lead-up.

BTW, Venus defeded Hingis.

"...Speaking after her semi-final victory over Elena Dementieva at the JB Group Classic in Hong Kong, Williams said: "I like Martina and I think she is a nice girl. I was shocked like everyone else.

"For me, personally, I give her the benefit of the doubt.

"There are hardly any doping cases in tennis and I think that in tennis it doesn't matter what you might take, it doesn't keep the ball in, it doesn't calm your nerves.

"I see where in track and field or other sports where it can help, but tennis is a sport where you need a lot of skill - there is no magic pill for that."

http://www.sportinglife.com/tennis/n...ms_Hingis.html

Posted by jbradhunter 01/04/2008 at 03:13 PM

Gosh, I'm floving Venus more and more...

Posted by Rosangel 01/04/2008 at 03:14 PM

And, I beg to differ about an engagement not breaking up overnight. Everyone is different.

One of mine did just that, and the other took longer.

I just don't think there's any evidence to link the breakup to the drug test. Hingis has a long history of relationship breakups - that's a very verifiable fact.

Posted by ptenisnet 01/04/2008 at 03:15 PM

Pete
Sure. I guess the atp just imposes the punishment after the conviction rather than retroactively. Which is probably why we get drastic 2 year suspensions and such. Administratively it is probably easier too, to assess the penalty for the future rather than recalculate points and rankings and such.

Posted by Grant 01/04/2008 at 03:15 PM

"Grant. Not all "illegal drugs" are illegal in all parts of the world. This is forcing one's judgement upon another."

The very act of banning some substances and testing for them is forcing one's judgment upon another. In that sense there's no difference between banning them because they enhance performance, because they're illegal or controlled in most countries, or because they aren't a pretty enough colour.

"IF it's a matter of image they should also ban cigarettes and alcohol. Where I live smoking is not permitted in most public areas and soon to be anywhere in public. And alcohol is responsible for more crimes and deaths than any other abused substance."

The simple fact is that cocaine is more frowned upon in most of the tennis market than cigarettes and alcohol. This may be ski season but lets not go nuts with the slippery slopes.

"soiling a good person's reputation based on one positive test for a substance that gives no advantage is sad to me."

I'm sad about it too, but at the same time I can see why they don't allow cocaine :\

Posted by Tokyo Tom (tt) 01/04/2008 at 03:16 PM

What Venus said

Posted by Or 01/04/2008 at 03:18 PM

**And, I beg to differ about an engagement not breaking up overnight. Everyone is different.**

Well, if the engaggment is breaking up, one must assume everything wasn't rosy before.

But, ya know. It's all speculation anyway.

Posted by 01/04/2008 at 03:20 PM

Engagement, not engaggment - funny how I can misspell when the word is right there in front of me.

Posted by jbradhunter 01/04/2008 at 03:21 PM

I did discover Hingis' email, if anyone wants to ask her

it's moderator@tennis.com...

Posted by rudy3 01/04/2008 at 03:22 PM

Saddly though US will not have a baseball team in Bejing this summer, as they failed to quality.

2012...those games will be in London? Where on earth would they build a proper baseball stadium in London? Better left I guess.

Softball and baseball are big sports in America, Asia, South & Central America, Canada, and Russia. Seems it would be just as good a sport to promote as, I don't know, archery or yatching, no?

They will probably replace baseball with Texas Hold'em Poker. Based on ESPN programing, it is a growing sport.

Posted by Sam 01/04/2008 at 03:24 PM

Or: Thanks for posting Venus' comments.

Samantha: Just out of curiosity, if it were Justine that was in Hingis' position, would you be condeming her the same way?

Posted by jbradhunter 01/04/2008 at 03:25 PM

Or- your misspellings are ironically funny today..

I noticed "BTW, Venus defeded Hingis"

yes, Venus did win a few of those really important matches- LOL

and "engaggment"

prolly just the way some would describe some broken engagements...

Posted by harini 01/04/2008 at 03:27 PM

LOL Veruca. That's why I prefer tennis above both those...faster and more fun! :)

Posted by Grant 01/04/2008 at 03:27 PM

"Seems it would be just as good a sport to promote as, I don't know, archery or yatching, no?"

Yachting had better stay in the Olympics - we need to keep the idle rich off the streets.

Posted by GVGirl (Just happy being nominated) 01/04/2008 at 03:30 PM

Pete,

Wasn't there also an issue with cocaine and Mats Wilander some years ago?

About Hingis,all I can say is that cocaine is an illegal drug and the use of it warrants some action.

Posted by Rosangel 01/04/2008 at 03:31 PM

Or: since when did you become an expert on how one of my engagements broke up? It happened overnight.

I fell in love with someone else, period.

Posted by Rosangel 01/04/2008 at 03:39 PM

And all I'm saying is, that generalising about other people's relationships just doesn't work, especially when you don't know the individuals involved, and the details of the relationship itself and its ending have, by mutual consent, remained private.

Posted by Rosangel 01/04/2008 at 03:41 PM

And all I'm saying is, that generalising about other people's relationships just doesn't work, especially when you don't know the individuals involved, and the details of the relationship itself and its ending have, by mutual consent, remained private.

Posted by CM 01/04/2008 at 03:43 PM

I'm so sick of the whole drug/performance enhancing subject! You basically can't believe anyone any more. Marion Jones lied, and so have alot of other people. I don't believe any of them anymore. Ever heard of the 'boy who cried wolf'? And don't even get me started on liar Barry Bonds. I don't believe Roger Clemens either.

I have no idea about Hingis, but if the test said she did, then somehow it got in her system. She has to live with that.

Posted by Sher 01/04/2008 at 03:44 PM

What about in cases like Canas, when the sentence is later rescinded or lessened for whatever reason? Do we do the Round Robin fiasco of early 2007 where you're never quite sure who actually advanced?

Posted by Or 01/04/2008 at 03:49 PM

I wasn't talking about YOUR engagement, I was talking in general, relationships - usually when you break up, it means things aren't good. Such had been my experience with relationships.

It's a generalization, obviously it does not apply to every single case, such as yours.

As far as we know, Martina thought she was really happy and then she caught him making out with Vadisova on center court at 3 AM the night before her match.

Oh, well. That can't happen, I guess. Vadisova would be dead.

I don't know, I still find the whole - "Drugs on June, Break up announced in August, A new (and secret) Engagement in December" combination a bit fishy, I see a connection.

jbrad - I admit to the engaggment misspelling :) the defeded was pure typo.


Posted by OK-k 01/04/2008 at 03:50 PM

Pete - a long time ago, you were promising to write more extensively about the doping issue in tennis. To my knowledge, you never did. What happened?

I am curious, because I suspect that the issue is as slippery as a greased pig, and it posses the same dangers when you catch it.

Posted by Ryan 01/04/2008 at 03:53 PM

Well I haven't posted since all this jazz went down...

It seems that the whole doping bureaucracy is becoming as shady as, well, our real government--but still (and I haven't read the full report but probably will at some point), from the snippets in the news, they make the case sound pretty cut and dry. I can't really wrap my mind around it. I think this whole situation is proving to me that I am a bit of a Kool-Aid drinker when it comes to Martina. But this was already obvious to some of you.

I'm on the fence about the two-year suspension. You have to enforce the rules, and this sends a clear message. At the same time, you'd have thought that Coria's suspenion, and the Korda case (that picture, btw, is the dorkiest single thing I've ever seen in my life), and the Puerta case, and the Canas case sent messages. Who knows.

All I know now is that we'll never see any more of Martina's great play on the court, which is the saddest part of the whole deal.

Posted by Or 01/04/2008 at 03:56 PM

Obviously, I didn't see your 3:41 post before my 3:49 post.

Lets just drop it, I didn't mean anything by it.

Posted by ptenisnet 01/04/2008 at 03:56 PM

Dude, that tribunal report is acronym hell. I am on bullet 12 and there's already like 17 of them.

Posted by Or 01/04/2008 at 03:57 PM

And on a more cheerful note -

Here is a nice little article describing where top players like to hang in Australia.

http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,23008491-2862,00.html

Posted by Sher 01/04/2008 at 04:01 PM

The thing that gets me about this is oddly not (possibly illegal) use of a drug.

Cocaine, of all things, at Wimbledon, of all places, by a high-profile athlete?? Bizarre.

Posted by Ryan 01/04/2008 at 04:02 PM

If anything, the cocaine use was a definitive statement on her level of commitment to the game. So unfortunate--at her best (AO both years, Tokyo, Indian Wells, Rome) she looked to be in great shape. I was naive enough to believe she had at least a Slam semi left in her.

Posted by Rosangel 01/04/2008 at 04:04 PM

I should actually say that I basically agree with Pete that there could and should be a punishment that strips proven drug cheats of titles and such.

But I do have a bad feeling about the fact that athletes tend to be treated as guilty until proven innocent, rather than the other way around. I have vivid memories of the way that Greg Rusedski was excoriated by members of the UK press after he went public about the test that apparently showed him positive for nandrolone - and then it turned out (massive screwup!) that ATP trainers had been handing out contaminated supplements, and large numbers of players were implicated then cleared. That saga and the fact that there are stressful situations in which the body can, apparently, manufacture its own nandrolone without taking any drug made me wonder about the science behind some tests.

Ultimately, should sports operate a policy of "guilty until proven innocent" or "innocent until proved guilty"?

Given that cocaine isn't performance-enhancing, I find it impossible to get worked up about what Hingis may have dabbled in - I'm assuming that if the test was correct, it was recreational. True, people who do recreational drugs help to fuel the crime that underlies the distribution of said drugs, but there's an awfully complex chain of responsibility here, and I'm not sure it's within the scope of the Lords of Tennis to be able to make judgements about all of that. So, there's the letter of the law (or the regulations) - that will condemn a player like Hingis for doing something that couldn't possibly have made her play better. How does that fall into the same category as Petr Korda taking nandrolone (I'm assuming the case against him was a strong one - I haven't looked at it)? I don't think it does.

Posted by Samantha 01/04/2008 at 04:07 PM

CB, The ITF just found her guilty, she tested positive twice and a Medical doctor stated "absolutely" she tested positive for Cocaine. Now on the other side, what proof do we have that she's innocent. She said so. Well, the ITF doesn't believe her story. I think the ITF made the right decision, and she deserved to get ban for two years. Sam, the issue isn't about Justine, but what Hingis did at the most important tournament in tennis. And after she did it, she lied which speaks volumes for her character. Like CM said, she has to live with the consequences of her action and the damage she has done to her career and legacy. She will be forever linked with drug use in sports. How sad for the so called smartest player in the game. Go Justine!

Posted by Ryan 01/04/2008 at 04:11 PM

I'll take "Skirting the Question" for $800, Alex.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8      >>

We are no longer accepting comments for this entry.

<<  Year(s) that might have been, Pt 1 The Deuce Club, 1.3 (08!)  >>




Wild Women of the U.S. Open
Wild Men of the U.S. Open
Roddick's Imperfect World
"It's Kind of a Dance"
Nadal's Kneeds
The Racquet Scientist: Canadian Tennis
The Long and Short of It
This blog has 3693 entries and 1646147 comments.
More
More Video
Daily Spin