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Martina and The Snowballs (Watercooler) 01/04/2008 - 1:10 PM

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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.


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Posted by 01/04/2008 at 06:32 PM

"you People" are too funny here. It's a very enjoyable place to lurk. I only roll my eyes every once in a while, mostly I laugh.

Posted by Lucy 01/04/2008 at 06:32 PM

To my mind, there's a big difference between the relative culpability of an athlete who indulges in coke and one who goes about pumping himself full of nandrolone (even if it is to little demonstrable effect). If I had my little way, athletes wouldn't be tested for anything that isn't performance-enhancing. But rules is rules - it's not like the drug code is a secret, and Hingis has been a pro for over a decade. I just think it's a sad, weird end to her career.

THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH VEGEMITE. YOU NEED TO PUT MORE BUTTER ON THE TOAST.

Posted by beth 01/04/2008 at 06:33 PM

Tari - not really - I failed at those courses miserably -I actually started my colllege career in biology before I changed over to nursing
So I had to study that kind of stuff - or at least attempt to - before I realized that I was woefully inadequate for such studies.

But - as a nurse- I dealt with the other side of the drugs - the applied stuff - and you have to be aware of what is going on . And as best you can keep up with the latest developments and new meds on the market .

I fear that too often the media finds out about some new development - and forces the hand of the pharmaceutical companies. I also have serious issues with drug companies advertising directly to the consumer. But that is not what we are discussing here.

Posted by Sam 01/04/2008 at 06:33 PM

Sherlock!! Nice to see ya back here.

Posted by Sam 01/04/2008 at 06:35 PM

" I also have serious issues with drug companies advertising directly to the consumer. "

You and me both, Beth ...

Posted by Hart 01/04/2008 at 06:35 PM

Hey Dunlop and the rest of TW regulars,
I've been lurking here at TW for a while, and apparently it takes appealing to my scientific geekdom to drag me into posting.

Re drug testing and metabolites: you commented "I for one would be quite a bit more sanguine about the entire drug testing regimen if the tests, like Hingis" in this case, actually revealed the banned substance ITSELF rather than a "metabolite" supposedly related to the substance."

ah, and you've hit on the crux of the inherent problem in regards to drug testing! I'll try not to get to nerdy on you all--
There are only two fundamental ways of determining what substances are in a body-- 1) monitor what goes in, or 2) monitor what goes out (we'll leave aside option 3, conducting an autopsy and/or surgical biopsy in the idea that those options are too extreme even for ITF. lol)
Option 1 has the advantage of being nearly 100% accurate. Identifying substances is SIGNIFICANTLY easier before they've entered the body. However, this option requires 24/7 monitoring and is therefore utterly impractical.
Option 2 therefore is the only practical option. However, the body is truly a powerhouse chemical processor. The moment any substance hits the system, the body starts working to utterly dismantle it down to component parts, so that those bits ("metabolites") can be shuttled all around the body and used. By the time the components of any substance are in a testable form (ie urine or blood) they are pretty well demolished. This is why it is rare to be able to find the substance ITSELF in testing. Quite simply, it's gone--been 'simplyfied' if you will. (and if its a substance the body is unable to simplify--well, those are the things that tend to kill your real quick. Like antifreeze)
However, being as the periodic table of chemical elements only contains a hundred-odd elements, with the edible section being a considerably small fraction thereof, the question then becomes, "how do i take this giant pile of chemical mush (eg, urine) and figure out what it used to be?" They only thing left for them to look at is metabolites. Not an easy task, which is why drug testing generates so much controversy.
The best way is for chemists to isolate the exact metabolic they're searching for is to determine how the body acts on a particular substance, and basically backtrack. And they've actually had great success at it. However, its not perfect, as any reputable drug testing lab should be able to admit. This is why the banned substance list in any sport contains so many items which aren't performance enhancing in an of themselves, but due to similarities in chemical structures and metabolic patterns, will yield a false positive. The most common example is poppy seed/opium.
This being said....if a drug test picks up a metabolite that is derived from a certain substance or class of substance...its only there because it was put in the body. The body will not make them on its own, spontaneously. So while there is a gray area in terms of substances with similar chemical compositions, metabolites from (using your example) cocaine will NOT be generated from Red Bull and Cadbury bars. :)
Well, that's the short version anyways. Hope that helps.

*slinks back into the dark lurkers' corner*

Posted by Lucy 01/04/2008 at 06:36 PM

Temes, as usual, had the best summary of the situation.

Posted by Beth Phoenix 01/04/2008 at 06:36 PM

Who has Rafa beaten so far in Chennai? NO World top 50 players.
ALL no names.
If he plays Mikhail Youzhny in semi or final, even he is only world # 19 himself now.

In Australian Open in Melbourne starting in 10 days, he won't be so lucky with such a weak draw after Round of 64 (he's never once gotten past Round of 16 there before in his career yet). From 3rd round on, he'll play top 32, 16, 8, 4, 1 players (much better world class players and opponents). That's a much more challenging, better, and accurate test of his level of play and talent on hardcourts, NOT Chennai against a bunch of inferior no names and a gift title to begin new year.

Posted by ptenisnet 01/04/2008 at 06:36 PM

no PIG OK-K
But it did have GUSC and PUSC which are respectively
Guidline(Protocol) for Urine Sample Collection.


Luuuuuuuuuuuuce!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by Grant 01/04/2008 at 06:38 PM

Man, this place can be really useful at times. There's always a helpful lurker, and I'm pretty sure we could assemble a crack legal team from the regulars if we had to.

Posted by Hart 01/04/2008 at 06:39 PM

wow, rereading it, my post was looooong. Sorry 'bout that folks. Feel free to ignore

Posted by beth 01/04/2008 at 06:39 PM

CL - thanks - seems our the poor pig has gotten a bad rap on his intelligence
I never thought horses were very smart - beautiful and fast - but frankly in my personal encounters with them , I found them to be ill tempered beasts - and I prefer to keep my distance from them , as well.

Veruca - exactly - grits in California are just wrong

Lucy - so butter makes the vegemite better? I tried it once - and it was not for me - but then, it took me a few tries to like seared ahi as well - so maybe more butter will help
It sure helps the grits.

jbrad - I did study organic chemistry - took one course and got the hell out with my C average intact - the teacher could literally see in 3-D - and I did not understand one word of what he was trying to teach me .

Posted by Sherlock 01/04/2008 at 06:42 PM

Hi, Sam. :)

"Crack" legal team? Was that intentional, Grant? :)

Posted by ptenisnet 01/04/2008 at 06:42 PM

No lie, a bus driver in Sydney almost kicked us off the bus because we expressed displeasure at vegemite.

Posted by Sam 01/04/2008 at 06:42 PM

" crack legal team "

No pun intended?

Posted by Lucy 01/04/2008 at 06:43 PM

Quite so, Beth Phoenix, and the minute someone asserts that Rafael Nadal is the greatest ever hardcourter based on his Chennai results, we'll be sure to appeal to you.

On the other hand, Moya over Florent Serra, now THERE'S a generalisable result. MOYA SIEMPRE!

PS: Hart, thanks for clearing that up. Makes sense now that I think about it.

Posted by 01/04/2008 at 06:43 PM

Hart: Great post. Can the antibiotics mentioned earlier truly give the same result as positive cocaine use?

Posted by Samantha 01/04/2008 at 06:43 PM

"Why do Serena always have to have the bling bling," Jelena Jankovic. She is so cute. I wish her all the best as long as she doesn't play Juju at the AO.

Posted by ptenisnet 01/04/2008 at 06:43 PM

yo sherlock.

Posted by kiwibee 01/04/2008 at 06:44 PM

Poor Hingis.Now she is going down in history as part genius, part cocaine user...

Posted by jbradhunter 01/04/2008 at 06:44 PM

Hart- you have shed some light! Thanks and welcome!
and for me, when light shedding is involved, no distance/length is too long...

hey Sherlock!

Posted by Sam 01/04/2008 at 06:44 PM

Sherlock: Mind meld!

Posted by beth 01/04/2008 at 06:44 PM

Hart - brilliant - see you and your very good explanation of metabolites is exactly why I got the C and left that particular major behind
You are brilliant enough to understand the concepts - I only floundered at it
I am glad you delurked -
now - don't go burying yourself too deep in your lab- ok - stick around here :)

Posted by Tari 01/04/2008 at 06:46 PM

A Hart-y welcome to you, Hart! :P

Posted by Sam 01/04/2008 at 06:46 PM

Welcome Hart. You sure know how to make an entrance. :-)

Posted by Lucy 01/04/2008 at 06:46 PM

Ptenissssssssss! Heya Beth! *hugs everyone*

Rules for eating Vegemite.

1. Butter the toast thoroughly.
2. Repeat step 1.
3. Apply as little Vegemite as you would possibly think worthwhile.
4. Remove excess Vegemite from toast with a clean knife.
5. You're good to go. Best enjoyed with a cup of sweet tea and a hangover.

Posted by Sherlock 01/04/2008 at 06:47 PM

Hart, great post. Don't slink away so quickly. :)

Posted by Jenn 01/04/2008 at 06:48 PM

Hart, you should be grandfathered into a TW geek 07 nomination for that post. It so funny what will bring some people out of lurk-dom

"he just smiled and gave me a vegemite sandwich".... we know its Aussie Open time!

Posted by beth 01/04/2008 at 06:49 PM

Lucy - glad you are back
and Vamos Carlos ! and Rafa!
anyway - i will remember to add more butter , should I get the chance to try vegemite again

Posted by Sam 01/04/2008 at 06:49 PM

Beth: You know what they say - C for Commencement, and D for Diploma ...

Posted by temes 01/04/2008 at 06:49 PM

Happy new year Lucy! I hope things are better in Australia.

Posted by Samantha 01/04/2008 at 06:49 PM

Kiwibee, I was drinking a diet coke when I read your post and it went all over the place. That was a good one, lol!

Posted by Tari 01/04/2008 at 06:50 PM

*hugs Lucy* Nice to have you back.

Posted by kiwibee 01/04/2008 at 06:51 PM

Lucy: I love vegemite!!! I think some people in Asia love vegemite too. I love it with some porridge (I hope I got the spelling right)...lol

Posted by Hart 01/04/2008 at 06:52 PM

to anon at 6:43:
antibiotics is a great question, and one I don't have a definitive answer to. My instinct is to say no--antibiotics work because they are targeted specifically to combat extracellular bacterial infections. As a consequence they have what is termed a VERY high specificity--their structure is extremely particular to their job. So I would find it hard to believe that antibiotics would yield a false positive, simply because they are so different.
However, would the body, under attack by infection, and being given high doses of chemicals (antibiotics) potentially respond differently and process chemicals differently? Its a longshot, but I can't rule definitively rule it out.
However, I freely admit to not being up to date with the absolute latest in drug testing research.

Posted by Sam 01/04/2008 at 06:53 PM

Samantha: I thought you didn't like coke ... (couldn't resist) ;-)

Posted by Sherlock 01/04/2008 at 06:53 PM

Hey, Ptenisnet, Jbrad. How are ye, gentlemen?

Posted by Samantha 01/04/2008 at 06:55 PM

LOL Sam, I'm innocent just like Hingis is.

Posted by OK-k 01/04/2008 at 06:56 PM

Now I know what I did wrong with my vegemite sandwich. Step 4 is very important. Thanks Lucy.

Posted by kiwibee 01/04/2008 at 06:56 PM

Samantha: LOL. I didn't want to sound mean. But that's my first thought when I read about Hingis' 2- year ban. It's sad that a genius player like Hingis would end up being guilty of drug use.I guess some super rich people can't find any other healthy activities to kill their boring time...lol

Posted by Dunlop Maxply 01/04/2008 at 06:57 PM

Hart,

Don't slink back, my man, longer can be better.

Well, that certainly puts a critical piece of the puzzle into focus. It also just occurred to me that the answer to the question "why not just admit you were hanging out with some people and tried some coke" is "there are probably clauses in major endorsement contracts which prohibit such an admission."

Posted by ptenisnet 01/04/2008 at 06:58 PM

Alright sherlock.

FWIW, Hingis' entire defense seems to be based on citing procedural errors in her drug test.

Apparently to get a "No Fault/Negligence" decision in your favour you have to be able to explain how the drug got into your system if you didn't take it knowingly/intentionally.
Which, if you really didnt know how you ingested it, you can't do and if you did know, then it wouldn't be unknowingly.

Posted by kiwibee 01/04/2008 at 06:59 PM

OMG! Today's TWers are going crazy with all these food and coke (diet or not) topics....lol

Posted by 01/04/2008 at 06:59 PM

Hart: thanks. You have a knack for many a complicated subject simple to understand.

Posted by Hart 01/04/2008 at 07:00 PM

jbrad, tari, jenn, sam: thanks for the welcome! I've been lurking since August, and from time to time thought about jumping in, but I'm rather a tennis novice--played as a kid, then stopped to pursue other sports in depth--and just rediscovered the sport (Aided by injury-induced 3 months of down time on the couch and the discovery that I had tennis channel...) The depth of knowledge around here is both impressive and intimidating!
Beth--you're overestimating my organic chem ability! That was the hardest class I've ever taken, by far. Wasn't helped that I had this crazy professor who would give us exam questions that were the exact questions that won previous Nobel Prizes...the class was lucky if we averaged 13%...

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

making not many

Posted by Veruca Salt (Has her golden ticket) 01/04/2008 at 07:03 PM

Chemistry was the best........!!!!


The best class to sleep in that is.....

Beth P-Why ask why does Rafa do anything? Don't you see? Everything is predetermined and predestined by his majesty, Sire "I am Legend in a Jacket" Federer. It's all part of his history making grand slam plan. In fact, none of us are really here, we're all part of the Matrix. There is no pill. There is no pill. There is noooooo pill.


woooooooooooooooo......

Posted by jbradhunter 01/04/2008 at 07:03 PM

"have to be able to explain how the drug got into your system if you didn't take it knowingly/intentionally."

see Deuce Club delicates...

Posted by OK-k 01/04/2008 at 07:03 PM

Hart- "However, I freely admit to not being up to date with the absolute latest in drug testing research."

Dang it Hart, now Andrew can't hire you, and he was looking for some good.

Posted by beth 01/04/2008 at 07:05 PM

Hart - don't be so modest - you gave a very concise explanation of a very complex issue.
So - I think you must have some grasp of the concepts - and are very good at explaining them
So you are not a Nobel Laureate - last time I checked , none of the rest of us are either

Maybe we had the same professor - our class average was very poor as well -


Posted by OK-k 01/04/2008 at 07:07 PM

"....someone good"

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

Dunlop, probably correct about the endorsement contracts. But wouldn't it be terribly refreshing to have one athlete actually say something like that?

Maybe Clemens will be the one? :) I just saw that he was called to testify before Congress. Oh, my.

Posted by temes 01/04/2008 at 07:08 PM

Oh Veruca, lay off the pills...=D

Posted by jbradhunter 01/04/2008 at 07:08 PM

Hart-what about the alchemistry of transmuting lead into gold?

:)

Posted by highpockets 01/04/2008 at 07:10 PM

I weighed in on Martina's siutation this summer, so nothing more to add here. I am sad for her, but also understand that our dumb actiions often have sucky consequences. God knows I've had my share.

However, the discussion about pigs brought this to mind:

I've been watching "Tribal Life - Meet the Namal" on the Travel Channel, and pigs are hugely important (right up there with yams) in this fascinating custom tribe.

Here's a link if you want to follow the series:

http://tinyurl.com/2uqjmw

The Namal live on the volcanic island of Vanuatu. There are several other tribes on the island, and one of them is called the "Jon Frum" tribe. The "Jon Frum" tribe is named after (I kid you not) an American serviceman, Jon. American solidiers stashed their suppies on the island of Vanuatu in the 1940's during WWII. Jon strongly urged the chiefs to throw out the Presbyterian missionaries who had destroyed their traditional culture. The people of Vanuatu had always been a bit more revolutionary than elsewhere, and in the last century had eaten one of the most successful missionaries in the Pacific. (The last reported case of cannibalism was in 1969). In any event, they ran out the missionaries and began to reclaim their old custom ways.

In a scenario foreshadowing that of Nelson Mandela, the British imprisoned the "Jon Frum" chiefs for 17 years (from 1940-1957) for practicing their religion. Today they continue to give thanks and pray to "Jon from America," hoping that he will return to lead them in the future.

I hope I haven't offended any missionaries or cannibals.

Posted by Hart 01/04/2008 at 07:10 PM

OK-k,
Well, over 50% of drug development is PR and BS anyways, so I'm sure I could fudge it... :)
Hire away, Andrew!

Posted by ptenisnet 01/04/2008 at 07:10 PM

jbrad - jejeje as santa would say.

Posted by highpockets 01/04/2008 at 07:11 PM

"Martina and the Snowballs" is a great name for a band.

Posted by Hart 01/04/2008 at 07:12 PM

Jbrad--
If I'd ever figured out lead to gold alchemy, I'd be set! I'd be watching these tennis matches in PERSON. ;)

Posted by jbradhunter 01/04/2008 at 07:15 PM

Hart- I have a feeling all this TWing will light a fire/open a door and you'll be watching live tennis within the year!

:)

Posted by Tari 01/04/2008 at 07:16 PM

*sighs and hugs cuddly Clemens bear*

Posted by creig bryan 01/04/2008 at 07:18 PM

Hart:

Welcome. And Thank you for providing something to hang my meager chemical science on.

As for the tennis bug, I'm glad you picked it back up. Never mind that it took you years to come back, like the topic at hand, once it's got you, you'll be back.

I started at 20, quit at 20. Started again at 38. That's 18 years wasted, ignoring the call of the racquet. But, it's OK, because now I'm addicted, and I'm continuously making up for all those dark years. Laugh and win, my man (as Dunlop would say).

Speaking of Dunlop, good to hear from you. You've been missed around these parts. How's that chess game coming?

Now, all we need is for Matt Zemek to check in.

Keep Smiling

Posted by OK-k 01/04/2008 at 07:21 PM

Hart - you might want to check with jbradhunter about working for Andrew. There were some issues about salary and management style.

Posted by Samantha, just say no to drugs 01/04/2008 at 07:27 PM

Forgot to congratulate the USA on their Hopman cup win and thanks to Serbia for such a great match. I hope Jelena is well enough to play single at the Open. Go Justine, world's #1!

Posted by beth 01/04/2008 at 07:28 PM

FOOD ALERT

I just returned from the market - and I am so excited. Jiffy Mix has made it into my Ralphs. I was so excited - I bought some and am making it tonight to go with my dinner .

I now return you to your regularly scheduled program

Posted by TennisEsq 01/04/2008 at 07:29 PM

I'm confused after reading Dunlop and Hart's posts re: Hingis.

If the tests revealed a "metabolite" in Hingis' system and did not actually identify the banned substance itself, how was it eventually determined to be cocaine? Especially considering Hart's proposition that substances are "utterly dismantled" after entering the body.

Now I'm starting to think Hingis unintentionally implicated herself by publicly announcing cocaine was found in her system, if the tests only revealed a "metabolite" rather than cocaine.

Anyway, I'm so glad the tennis season has started again. Goodness, if the off season went quick for a tennis freak like me, I can't imagine how fast the off season went for the players.

Posted by TennisEsq 01/04/2008 at 07:31 PM

I would like to add that its mighty classy of Venus to defend Hingis.

Haoli Makahiki Hou everyone! (That's Hawaiian for Happy New Year!)

Posted by Hart 01/04/2008 at 07:31 PM

creig:

Yeah, I can see where it might be going the way of an addiction. Borrowed a racquet last week for the first time in 10 years. forced a brother to come to the courts with me and hit balls at me (but DIRECTLY at me, seeing as I can't run, hop, jump, stop, change direction or even currently USE the right ankle--due to above mentioned injury). And all I got out of it was a sore ankle, a firm lecture from my physical therapist and a greater appreciation of footwork.
So actual tennis is some months off yet. But until then, I have reupped my tennis channel subscription. :)

Posted by 01/04/2008 at 07:33 PM

Ptenisnet: jejeje is apparently all Santa is permitted to say in Australia

Posted by Tari 01/04/2008 at 07:34 PM

That's so cute, Hart! Take it easy with that ankle. ;-)

Posted by creig bryan 01/04/2008 at 07:34 PM

Hart:

Then you are aware of Thomas Muster?

Keep Smiling

Posted by Ruth 01/04/2008 at 07:35 PM

I think that Canas told the ATP how the very small amount of a substance found in a drug for high blood pressure had "unknowlingly" entered his system -- it had come from a hbp prescription for a person -- who actually existed -- that had been given by mistake to Canas.(The other person got the script for a cold medicine that was prepared fore Canas by the tournament doctor.) WADA apparently believed what Canas said and ordered the ATP to review the Canas case and penalties.

I think that the ATP must have believed there was substance to Canas's argument, so they reduced the suspension. However, like many official agencies, they didn't want to back down too much, so they refused to rescind the penalty completely. It reminded me of those DA's etc who insist that they were right in their decisions even after new and conclusive evidence (like DNA) shows that someone whom they prosecuted (and who was found guilty) was actually innocent.

Posted by TennisEsq 01/04/2008 at 07:38 PM

Btw, has anyone ever tried out the "Wrist Assist" endorsed by Brad Gilbert?

I'm skeptical, but massively curious if it works.

Posted by Tari 01/04/2008 at 07:38 PM

Was it on this thread that OK-k said he read Janet Evanovich? Meant to say earlier that I smiled at that. Very cool. I literally laugh out loud while I read her books.

Posted by creig bryan 01/04/2008 at 07:39 PM

> "...those DA's etc who insist that they were right in their decisions even after new and conclusive evidence (like DNA) shows that someone whom they prosecuted (and who was found guilty) was actually innocent..."

Exactly. An inexact science, at best.

Keep Smiling

Posted by Dunlop Maxply 01/04/2008 at 07:42 PM

Don't put much weight in my post. According to Hart the thing is that finding any actual cocaine, of for that matter any actual "X" substance which is not poison and which the human body can metabolize, is unlikely unless, basically, you find undigested cocaine soon after it is ingested.

Failing that, you get "metabolites" which is what the initial substance, in this case cocaine, chemically becomes after its chemically broken down by the body.

The big question then, is are these "metabolites" unique? Or, as Hart implied with his "poppy seeds produce the same metabolites as opium" line are they merely proof of a percentage chance that you ingetsted the banned substance (i.e., "you either smoked one pipe full of opium or ingested 50 poppy seed bagels in the last three hours.")

Posted by ptenisnet 01/04/2008 at 07:42 PM

Anon
you'll be hard pressed to sell that concept to santa.

Posted by Hart 01/04/2008 at 07:43 PM

Hey TennisEsq:
Sorry I apparently wasn't clear. Its much easier with diagrams, rather than typing, but I shall try again and hope I don't confuse you further.

Say we have Substance A. We'll give it a simple chemical formula. How about "HO-C-C-Ph-C-OH" Substance A we'll say is banned. Person B ingests A. So as Substance A hits B's stomach it still has this same form.

Now the fun begins. Enzymes in the body work to dismantle A. Enzyme 1 is a de-alkylator--it'll take away the -OH groups. So after Enzyme 1 does it's work, Substance A now looks like "C-C-Ph-C"

And we'll put another enzyme in. Enzyme 2 decarbonates a loose end . So after Enzyme 2 works, Substance A now looks like: "C-C-Ph"

In our simplified model, the metabolite, or the remainder of the original substance A (C-C-Ph) is waste and leaves the body in urine.

Our drug tester, however, KNOWS what enzyme 1 and enzyme 2 do. So he knows that if he gets (C-C-Ph) in the test, he can backtrack and say, well, before Enzymes 1 and 2, this looked like OH-C-C-Ph-C-OH, and that's Substance A! So he devises a test for C-C-Ph, knowing that if he finds it, it means Substance A was in the body.

Obviously this is an EXTREMELY simplified version. Real chemical compound are much more complicated, and their metabolites are often clearly recognized even after being processed.
Hope this helps!

Posted by Sherlock 01/04/2008 at 07:44 PM

Tari, LOL. :)

Does the Clemens bear come with a needle stuck in the backside? :)

Posted by Grant 01/04/2008 at 07:46 PM

There are times on this thread when I'm reminded of the lawyer's use of the Uncertainty Principle in The Man Who Wasn't There.

Posted by 01/04/2008 at 07:47 PM

ptenisnet: That's the one story my teenaged son came up with at school when requested to report back a news item from Christmas break. At least this son does know the realationship between Bill and Hillary. (Not proud parenting moments lately)

Posted by ptenisnet 01/04/2008 at 07:47 PM

Dunlop
Apparently you can also test positive for the cocaine metabolite if you
1) have liver disease
2) kidney disease
3) have taken amoxicillin( which scares me some what) or an anesthetic derived from cocaine
4) have diabetes
5) or have ingested coca - (the leaves of this plant can be brewed like tea and it is banned in the US).


Posted by creig bryan 01/04/2008 at 07:47 PM

I second whoever said that you, Hart, make this subject understandable. Thanks.

Keep Smiling

Posted by 01/04/2008 at 07:48 PM

Ooooh. Actually, I hope he does not know too much about that particular relationship.

Posted by jbradhunter 01/04/2008 at 07:49 PM

Hart and everyone else- may the doors fly open!

for Indian Wells 08 http://tinyurl.com/2aqndr

Posted by Hart 01/04/2008 at 07:50 PM

creig--
took me a second, but I got the reference. lol.
I plead chemistry-addled brain...

Posted by TennisEsq 01/04/2008 at 07:55 PM

Hart thanks for the clarification. It was utterly fascinating (seriously, no sarcasm intended). It makes me wish I paid better attention in Chemistry class.

Dunlop, I see what you saying. I don't remember Hingis's press conference statement verbatim. But, why hasn't the World Anti-Doping Agency (or whatever its called) considered the possibility that metabolites could possibly come from other sources besides cocaine. Poppy seed muffins are standard fare at most hotel breakfast buffets. I bet the hotels players stay at are full of poppy seed muffins.

It's so frustrating how narrow-minded these high and mighty doping officials can be! Ugh.

Someone should submit an amicus brief in support of Hingis.

Posted by ptenisnet 01/04/2008 at 08:00 PM

TennisEsq
From what I understand the banned substances list not only includes the drugs themselves but also various substances that can test false positive for those drugs.

Posted by TennisEsq 01/04/2008 at 08:06 PM

ptenisnet, apparently the list of banned substances is 11 pages long!

http://tinyurl.com/yqtb25

Most normal human beings would probably test positive for something on the list. Makes me appreciate what athletes have to go through on a daily basis regarding nutrional intake.

Posted by Schwab 01/04/2008 at 08:08 PM

Lindsay Davenport just won Auckland 2 and 2. Per stats, she only served at 56% 1st serve but did not face a break point.


Well, that is 3 titles in 4 events since USO.

Posted by Jenn 01/04/2008 at 08:11 PM

To follow up on jbrad's link, we posted on one of the other open threads too, about Indian Wells / Pacific Life. Please speak up if you will be there this year! Pete will be there, as will Beth. I cannot wait - it will be my first visit to that tournament.

Posted by ptenisnet 01/04/2008 at 08:11 PM

No kidding TennisEsq
I am fairly certain I was prescribed amoxicillin after getting my wisdom teeth out.

Posted by jbradhunter 01/04/2008 at 08:11 PM

Thanks Schwab!

Lindsey beat Azarenka 2 and 2!?!

wow- watch out rest of field at AO... Victoria's no pushover... whew!

okay, I have a seedling of "dangerous floater" hope for Linds now... oh gosh, it's all coming back to me now.

Posted by jbradhunter 01/04/2008 at 08:12 PM

Jenn- I'll be there if I win the drawing :)

Posted by TennisEsq 01/04/2008 at 08:16 PM

ptenisnet, isn't amoxicilin that pink medicine that tastes like bubble gum and it's refrigerated so it tastes even better? I know it's an anti-biotic. Adults probably take it in pill form. I remember taking it when I was a kid and actually looked forward to it. lol.

Posted by jbradhunter 01/04/2008 at 08:16 PM

and I was thoroughly confused... Linds beat Razai... Azarenka's in the Gold Coast final to face Li

Posted by Hart 01/04/2008 at 08:17 PM

Jenn--
I'm going to try to get out to IW for at least a day, seeing as it's not too far from me...
maybe i'll officially not be a lurker by then... ;)

Posted by Jamaican Girl 01/04/2008 at 08:18 PM

Congrats to Lindsey and I think she might just pull off what Serena did last year.

Welcome Hart and great post

Posted by jbradhunter 01/04/2008 at 08:19 PM

that's Rezai!

Eeek! I better watch out or my TW card will be taken away...

*slinks away to brush up on tennis scores and player data*

Posted by TennisEsq 01/04/2008 at 08:20 PM

I'll be at Indian Wells this year, if work doesn't get in the way. I've been there every year the past two years.

Last year, I volunteered as a Ball Kid Coordinator. They made us wear the ball kid uniforms, so I blended in with all the other ball kids.

I suggest anyone who's going to Indian Wells to volunteer at the tournament. It's a great way to get up close, see the players behind the scenes. Great experience. Plus, you get FREE access and a guest pass!

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