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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 ptenisnet 01/04/2008 at 08:21 PM

yeah it's an antibiotic.

Posted by TennisEsq 01/04/2008 at 08:23 PM

I forgot to add that you get FREE Fila gear, depending on what you volunteer for. The Ball kids and coordinators got free Fila shoes, shirt, shorts, and hat.

Posted by P. 01/04/2008 at 08:23 PM

A few things:

1) I'm kind of amused by the fact that people are surprised/indignant that this happened at Wimbledon. I have it on good authority that, in London, cocaine use is about as heavy and widespread as you'll find anywhere in the world.

2) Did Robbyfan misinterpret Pete's Kleenex-and-bathroom reference as...a very different kind of joke, a la Fast Times at Ridgemont High?

3) Folks would do well to remember that cocaine and other drugs aren't illegal everywhere in the world -- there are plenty of places where they're either legal, or haven't been criminalized.

4) So are tennis players (and other athletes) officially forbidden to eat poppyseed bagels? Quelle injustice!

5) I don't really care if anyone does cocaine -- though the drug tends to turn people into jerks. Plenty of people I know and lopve have used it; a few have become addicted, most haven't. I'd never touch the stuff, myself.

Posted by Jamaican Girl 01/04/2008 at 08:31 PM

I have never been a big fan of Hingis and don't believe in knocking a person when they are down, that's why I could not believe this when I came across it.

http://www.womenstennisblog.com/2007/12/09/cartoon-making-fun-of-martina-hingis-alleged-cocaine-use/

I hope that this link works

Posted by TennisEsq 01/04/2008 at 08:37 PM

jamaican girl, I admit that I laughed when I saw that cartoon. Sometimes, the best way to deal with adversity is to laugh and find humor in the situation.

Posted by CL 01/04/2008 at 08:40 PM

Hart - welcome aboard... you will be allowed to play t-ball tennis til your ankle heals. We are very lenient here at TW. But something you said caught MY eye...and has nothing to do with the drugs under discussion hear...more like what George Carlin used to refer as DRUGS!!!! from the DRUG STORE!!!!!! Anti-biotics ... I'm not so sure they are 'well targeted' which is kinda why even a brief stay on them can wreak havoc on your digestive system. They go after the good bacteria in your gut as well as the bad bacteria there and elsewhere. However your explanation of the chemical chain was still first rate....and this from someone who's major chemistry class achievement was nearly setting the building on fire when I wiped up HCLA with a rag...then panicked when it started to smoke and tossed it in the waste basket... and then we got a nice fire drill out of the deal. :-) Highpoint of my lab career.

Posted by Jamaican Girl 01/04/2008 at 08:42 PM

TennisEsq,
You're right and I hope that if Hingis sees this she can or is able to laugh it off.

Posted by Ruth 01/04/2008 at 08:45 PM

I got to paragraph #101 of the 163-paragraph Hingis report; then my aging eyes began to fail me. (My vision is still a little blurred as I type now.) The print of the Hingis report is much better than that of the Canas report (which I read competely), but the Hingis report is much longer.

Anyway, sadly, I haven't seen anything in the part of the report that I read that would make me think that there could have been any mishandling of Hingis's sample, as her lawyers suggested -- although anything is possible. It appears that all the normal procedural steps were followed, including having Hingis pour her own urine into the two sample containers.

If we believe the Snowballs (yes, that's the real name of the couple who conducted the sample taking and storing -- I thought Pete was joking!), no Wimbledon samples -- stored in their specially locked containers -- were found to have been tampered with, and the tested urine was, indeed, Martina's.

Posted by jb 01/04/2008 at 08:48 PM

ok can't even really wiegh in on this, other than to say IMO, there should be SOME sort of discretion re: performance enhancing and 'illegal'...

I find it a bit disconcerting that a player could, at 17, be absolutely snookered and run their car off the road and not face any penalties... and yet what they're doing is both illegal and more potentially harmful to others than the possibility of a recreational snort of coke.

To me this doesn't tarnish my idea of Martina as a tennis player, there's only regret that she's been put through this...

Hart - happy de-lurking - what an entrance!

Posted by Sam 01/04/2008 at 08:50 PM

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

LOL Sherlock. But it's only a B-12 needle. :-)

Posted by Hart 01/04/2008 at 08:51 PM

Hey CL,
You are right about antibiotics, of course. Broad spectrum antibiotics such as penicillin kill all sorts of bacteria, good and bad. Unfortunately our use of it has resulted in so many drug-resistant bacteria...but that's another topic.

By specificity I meant that they target bacteria only, and not, say, red blood cells, or enzymes or anything like that...so they have very "bacteria-specific" markers, but not "Intrabacteria-specific" markers.

That being said, I just spent about half an hour staring at the chemical structure of amoxicillin, and feel sufficiently stupid after not being able to figure out how it would yield a false positive...though it seems to occasionally. I theorize that it affects the breakdown of something else, yielding the positive. Ta-Da!!! Scientific theory, brought to you by Wikipedia diagrams.

And o, boy, could I tell you some lab stories....

Posted by Eddy 01/04/2008 at 08:52 PM

When I first read this post, I didn't agree with it because who's to say whether the doper would have lost the match without the drugs? Actually, I still disagree but I'm giving it some thought. I think just the usual punishment is enough. I think it's a danger zone to start moving W's and titles around, especially if the ranking points don't follow. I think the player should be banned and the prize money and ranking points from the day of the sample should be taken away. But not given to anyone else, just deleted from that player. And I'd hate to base my reasoning on the misfortunes of a few players.

Posted by CL 01/04/2008 at 08:58 PM

hart - thanks; gotcha...that makes perfect sense now. And please continue to de-lurk. We promise to let you talk about stuff other than chemistry - eventually. ;-))

Posted by Tari 01/04/2008 at 09:03 PM

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

"LOL Sherlock. But it's only a B-12 needle. :-)"

Ok. My two best friends? I'm gonna smack you both!! :)

Posted by Sam 01/04/2008 at 09:05 PM

Sorry Tari. *points finger at Sherlock and runs* :-)

Posted by Sam 01/04/2008 at 09:08 PM

"Broad spectrum antibiotics such as penicillin kill all sorts of bacteria, good and bad. "

And most doctors neglect to tell you to take probiotics along with them ...

Posted by temes 01/04/2008 at 09:16 PM

I also read the report, and it said there is nothing extraordinary in this case, and there is also nothing extraordinary in denial. So it's up to the people who do not want to believe Hingis did cocaine to come up with all kinds of alternate theories. I don't see the point though, she's officially quilty as charged, but it wasn't an earth-shattering violation either.

Posted by CL 01/04/2008 at 09:17 PM

SAM!!! you know from probiotic??!!s... ohhh... beer, good hair, AND smart!! Don't worry - I'll protect you from Tari. Here's a hint - if she gets too close wielding her Clemens cleaver... I recommend flinging the pineapple pizza... the scent makes her think its a Taritini...while she's distracted..run like hail!!

Posted by creig bryan 01/04/2008 at 09:34 PM

P.:

Very interesting comments, particularly #2. I thought there might have been some kind of dissonance, but couldn't resolve it. Will be interesting to have her check in on this. Thanks for the perspective.

Keep Smiling

Posted by vanfan 01/04/2008 at 10:02 PM

all the pig talk is hilarious.

So in honour of all the pig lovers out there.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=U6krr40mdHM

Posted by Pete 01/04/2008 at 10:28 PM

Those who were around will remember that in the Canas case, he got suspended for taking medicine accidentially supplied to him by the tournament physician, which medicine contained a substance which was not in an of itself performance enhancing,
---------------------
Dunlop, are you sure this is factually accurate; I mean wasn't there some unbelievably complicated tale of the not being able to find the doctor, the script being handed around, etc. etc.? Just askin' because I don't remember the case as having been quite so cut and dried that the doc stepped forward, revealed what was prescribed, it turned out to be potentially a masking agent and the suspension was reduced.

Posted by Tari 01/04/2008 at 10:38 PM

vanfan! Nice to see you around. (and I e-mailed you a long time ago, btw...can't remember what for, but I did!!)

Posted by vanfan 01/04/2008 at 10:42 PM

Thanks Tari! I only just opened it today as the email I provided is an alternate and i forgot about it. Your email was in reference to TWBARF.

Posted by Tari 01/04/2008 at 10:44 PM

Ah!! I remember now. I was complimenting you. :)

Posted by Tari 01/04/2008 at 11:00 PM

LOL! I just watched your video, vanfan.

Posted by Tari 01/04/2008 at 11:02 PM

Were you having fun with us "pig lovers"? Hmm? :)

Posted by Rosangel 01/04/2008 at 11:05 PM

As per one of my earlier posts (from memory of reading some piece about recent research) according to wikipedia (first line) nandrolone, an anabolic steroid, occurs naturally in the human body. So I'd be interested in an explanation of how a tester sorts out naturally occurring nandrolone from ingested nandrolone. Purely by amount of metabolites?

The wikipedia piece also mentions that there is a situation in which nandrolone can be produced by the body above the upper limit (for testing purposes) through a combination of a high-protein diet, legal nutritional supplements and hard cardio exercise. That's not all that unusual for an athlete, is it?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nandrolone

Posted by rudy3 01/04/2008 at 11:07 PM

Whoa...the tribe is on fire tonight...my 2 cents
Martina tested positive for metabolites, not to be confused with metabolife i'm sure.
Pigs are smarter that horses. I happen to know horses are smart, they just do not perform well on standardize tests.
crack is whack...temes, uh huh!
grits are yummy. grits are not on my diet however. I am on the "spit diet". It's principles are simple...if it tastes good, spit it out.
lurkers have delurked to give us valuable info.
and with all the interesting posts and information, we still had to have our daily dose of Rafabashing. Shame, isn't it?

I just heard Hilary say "it took a Clinton to clean up after the first Bush *hold for applause*, looks like it is going to take a Clinton to...well you get the idea. This tickles me, i thought she was the front runner, i didn't think she wanted to run as the "Bill is my husband" ticket.

Posted by codepoke 01/04/2008 at 11:21 PM

Fun night.

Horses being smart - an old girlfriend of mine trained Arabians. She once left a shovel in the corral, and a playful horse grabbed the handle. Everything was fine until something moved about 5 feet away. The horse started and backed away from the possible attacker. When the intruder followed him, he positively spooked. He was running full-bore backwards away from the other end of a shovel he was dragging around in his own mouth.

Any horse will take you back to the barn (our's certainly would) but ain't none of them geniuses.

Oh wait. All horses know EXACTLY how tall they are, and go under the biggest branch they can find that happens to be exactly 3 inches higher when they have a rider. That's pretty smart. Evil, but smart.

Posted by Dunlop Maxply 01/04/2008 at 11:35 PM

Pete,

The Canas case, from my memory, went something like this:

1. At tournament, Canas tests positive. When test comes back positive, he is banned. Initially not sure why, denial ensues pending appeal.

2. Initial penalty based upon relatively strict liability.

3. On appeal, after some months of work, Canas' legal team gathers evidence from (i) the tournament doctor, (ii) the messenger service that brought the two sets of medicines, and (iii) the third party (I think it was a trainer or coach for some other player). This evidence confirms that there was a mix up in the delivery of the medicines.

4. The appeals court finds Canas' evidence to be accurate, but points out that if Canas had accurately reviewed the bottle delivered to him, and had compared it to the list of banned substances, he would have known not to take it. Obviously, Canas' position is that the tournament doctor should know what to prescribe, so why should he double check.

5. Finally, the penalty is reduced, but not completely pardoned, because under the facts Canas still was held liable for not fully examining the bottle delivered to him, even though it was proven to be given to him by the tournament doctor, and even though, it was also proven to be a form of cold medicine that provided no benefit, but contained the banned masking agent. As an aside, the court noted that the test showed no traces of any substance which was actually performance enhancing.

Certainly not cut and dried, if you will, because for all anyone knows Canas and company made it all up. And, for that matter at the time, plenty of people accused Canas of making it all up. My only knowledge if from the published appeals detailed opinion.

Posted by 01/04/2008 at 11:38 PM

May I ask: What is the difference between a watercooler thread and a deuce club thread? And how many stay open a time? Thanks

Posted by Aussie Ange 01/04/2008 at 11:44 PM

With the Hingis cocaine subject we have a footballer in Western Australian (Ben Cousins) who has a massive cocaine habit and runs with the mafia. He has gone to rehab (somehow I have the Amy Winehouse song in my mind) twice in Cal but somehow he managed to keep playing. He got tested all the time but he was always found to be clean but everybody knew he did coke. I'm not sure how long he has being using. He got arrested by the cops and went to court but he got let off.

The reason I'm mentioning this is because he is still regarded as a nice guy and a great player. He has though been suspended for 12 months for bringing the game of Aussie Rules into disrepute and not for his drug habits.

While I don't condone the use of cocaine I think Hingis suspension is a bit harsh even though we know she had decided to retire. It wasn't a performance enhancing drug.

Posted by Aussie Ange 01/04/2008 at 11:56 PM

Hey JBrad with Feli making the switch to the WTA what colour should he wear. He would still clearly be better looking than half the girls.

Is there another OT or watercooler subject happening because I have a OT to bring up?

Posted by Novela Nadalesca/Celia 01/04/2008 at 11:59 PM

anonymous-a watercooler thread is a thread we use for match calling. A deuce club thread is an OT(off topic) thread where we talk about anything besides match calling from how we think TMF's season will be, to who has the nicest behind or best hair on the tour, to what is going on in our own lives. The watercooler threads stay open until another watercooler thread is posted. The same goes for deuce club. A watercooler thread usually stays open for a day maybe two when a tournament is going on. The deuce club thread is usually posted every Thursday.

I hope that answered your questions.

Posted by MWC 01/04/2008 at 11:59 PM

You can;t give Rios the 1998 AO title, for this reason:

Korda beat 7 players in that event to win the title. Who's to say his 1st, 2nd, third, fourth, QF, or SF opponent wouldn't have won the event? It most certainly is an unfortuneate circumstance. You can never go back, only forward. So while it is a stain on the game that Korda juiced, it speaks well for the game that they banned him for two years, which in tennis is a death sentence to a professional ATP tour career.

Posted by 01/05/2008 at 12:04 AM

Thanks NN/C. It's a bit confusing. There are so many threads open right now and it appears they're all OT. Still very interesting.

Posted by Slice-n-Dice 01/05/2008 at 12:06 AM

Once again, leave it to Dunlop Maxply to make good sense where there is otherwise none.

This whole dirty business of doping in professional sports has my stomach in knots and has, for me, taken the joy out of following most sports. I refuse to watch the Tour de France; not one leg of it will I follow or even read about. I don't have any real interest in football or baseball these days, and surely will not waste my time watching a game on the telly. And there's no way in hail I'll sit and watch pro "wrasslin'" -- not for a second. The entire pro sports industry is at great risk of losing its legitimacy, IMO.

Of course, one could argue that the do-gooders who are trying so desperately and vigilantly to "clean up" sports may in fact actually be leading the sporting world down that slippery slope faster than a bobsled on wet ice. If the methods of testing, as well as the criteria used to determine culpability, are as suspect as Dunlop and others seem to be suggesting they are, the do-gooders may simply in the end be ushering in the brave new world of supermen and superwomen, pumped up on whatever chemicals they need to attain peak performance. When so many elite athletes can be "indicted" -- as were the 60 to 90 major league baseball players by the Mitchell report -- many of them done in on hearsay accounts only, so that 10 years of record-making achievements would be called into question and perhaps reversed, we've got so large a problem on our hands as to make the cleaning up a bit like needing to deliver a fatal dose of chemo to kill the cancer.

We might as well let them do what they want to themselves and the playing field will level itself in short order, so the argument might go.

Trouble is, for me: I don't want to see supermen and superwomen performing superhuman feats on the field, court, track, mat, bar, pool or slope. I still want to see ordinary people with extraordinary talents and discipline doing extraordinary things. And living to see their grandchildren grow up.

I've always felt that tennis has been a bastion of purity, despite the occassional foul-ups like Korda and Puerta -- whom I presume may not be guilty as charged. I'd hate to see that change, so I am very interested in seeing the ITF and other governing bodies do their utmost to ensure that the sport stays clean. And this means only going public with allegations of misconduct when the facts are clear and undeniable and the breach certain and meaningful. The risk of fueling a cynical spectating public is far too great if we allow anything less.

Posted by Moderator 01/05/2008 at 12:07 AM

watercooler = mostly tennis-related stuff, including the day's matches. These posts were designed to fill the need for a daily general tennis-related post, though some off-topic conversation is fine too, within reason.

Deuce Club = a post for and about the Tribe, so designated as an off-topic post. On these (not confined to the Deuce Club) you can discuss tennis if you like, but also anything else you want to chat about with other Tribe members.

Last Deuce Club - always open until the new one appears (weekly).

Last watercooler - always open until the new one appears (usually daily).

Posted by 01/05/2008 at 12:12 AM

Moderator: Thank you, too.

Posted by Aussie Ange 01/05/2008 at 12:12 AM

Did you know Lord Carlos has a new coach Pedro Salos. Does anyone know anything about Pedro? I though Luis Lobo was doing a good job.

I am going to miss Hingis a lot she made tennis fun and I like her interviews.

Posted by Hart 01/05/2008 at 12:26 AM

oooh, boy. We've reached the point where my knowledge leans more towards iffy. Here's what I recall re testing for hormonal supplements such as testosterone and nandrolone (disclaimer: I am not a drug researcher or testing researcher, this is NOT my area of expertise, so the details may be *ahem* not right).

Levels of the hormone found in the body is usually the main giveaway. There is a standard range of levels in the human body, and when levels are found above that, its considered a red flag. I do not know how high the level must be (.5x over? 10x over?) in order to be suspicious.

As Rosangel points out, this is not an overly foolproof method. To any standard there is an exception, and high level athletes tend to be a giant group of exceptions. The question is, where do you draw the line among such a group?

I do know that at least with testosterone, however, it is possible to differentiate artificial from natural testosterone. The chemical compound is nearly identical, and our current drug tests can't detect the difference, but if you REALLY analyze it in the lab, you can tell. I won't go into how, cause that's WAAAY complicated (and I'm not sure I really know anyways...). Think of it like looking at a clear sheet of plastic next to a clear sheet of glass. From far away you can't tell, but you get up close...

I don't know how much of this kind of analysis is incorporated into drug testing.

Posted by Novela Nadalesca/Celia 01/05/2008 at 12:27 AM

Your welcome anonymous. Although the moderator did explain it better than I did.
*gives moderator the stink eye*

Posted by Novela Nadalesca/Celia 01/05/2008 at 12:32 AM

Bye guys.

Posted by Jenn 01/05/2008 at 12:42 AM

Hart - you have officially delurked yourself in a big way. There's no going back, buddy. Glad we will see you at IW!

Hey Celia - hope you are well. happy new year!

Re Canas, I seem to recall that a high profile player (as it TMF?) made a comment about Canas earlier this year implying disapproval about cheaters. I wish I could remember the remark, and I know others here will. Anyway, it certainly left me with the impression that some players didn't think it as cut and dry or that he was wrongfully accused. Canas also had the misfortune of being lumped in with a country that has had a lot of doping scandal recently.

Posted by OK-k 01/05/2008 at 01:29 AM

"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."

"I am fairly certain I was prescribed amoxicillin after getting my wisdom teeth out."

"That being said, I just spent about half an hour staring at the chemical structure of amoxicillin, and feel sufficiently stupid after not being able to figure out how it would yield a false positive...though it seems to occasionally. I theorize that it affects the breakdown of something else, yielding the positive."

This is why the pig is greased and still running.

Tari - yeah it was me who has read the travails of Stephanie Plum. One of the very few times reading something that made me laugh out loud.

Posted by Ruth 01/05/2008 at 01:52 AM

Jenn: both TMF and Ljubicic made disparaging comments related to the Canas incident, and I remember thinking that neither of them must have taken the time to read the report thoroughly. I think that it's desirable for the #1 player and for Ljubicic who is the president of some player group to comment on these issues, but I wish that they sounded better informed when they spoke.

Incidentally, the tests showed that the banned substance that could be used as a masking agent was not present in enough strength/concentration in Canas's blood to act as a masking agent; the level of concentration was more in line with the bp medication, as Canas had indicated.

If the person whose medicine Canas got accidentally was in any way connected to him (coach, trainer, friend, relative), I might have been skeptical; but there was NO connection.

Pete: The doctor in the Canas case(from whom the ATP quickly disassociated themselves, making clear that he was employed by the tourny not the ATP) did not appear at the hearing; instead, he sent a strange letter saying how much he respected Canas, and he never really explained if he had given him medicine. (The letter from him was the Monty Pythonesque part of that case; even allowing for its possibly being translated badly, it was very weird.)

Posted by Sam 01/05/2008 at 01:55 AM

CL: Thanks for having my back. :-)

Posted by zonie 01/05/2008 at 02:28 AM

Joining late as I just got home from work a short while ago. I really don't want to get into the Hingis discussion itself, but wanted to comment on a couple of things since I do have some knowledge.

I saw mentioned several times how inaccurate drug tests are. There are basically two different types of drug tests. One group of tests are more accurately called drug screens. These have high sensitivity, but lower specificity. They are faster and cheaper and easier to perform. They can give false positives with cross reactive substances (ie: codeine, etc). They are designed as screens, to detect those samples that require further testing. Unfortunately these tests are all that most of us mere mortals are tested with, thus so many stories of false positives.

The golden standard for drug testing is a two-pronged test called gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. This test is much, much more precise, and also much more time-consuming and expensive. Drug tests performed using this methodology stand up very well to legal scrutiny.

Posted by Martymart 01/05/2008 at 03:02 AM

Gee, I am new here. This Samantha girl needs to chill out a bit.

She is so bitter. Sorry.

Posted by Anonymous Canadian 01/05/2008 at 03:26 AM

Zonie:

Mass spectrometry was actually the technique used in Hingis' case (see para 142 and 143 of the document on Hingis' case).

On a different topic, it seems to me that some posters don't seem to understand how the whole technique works and feel entitled to attack the drug testing procedure on irrational (or, at the very least, uninformed and unscientific) grounds, probably out of sympathy for Hingis. I think that those posters would do well to read and re-read Hart's posts (I have a graduate degree in biochemistry, by the way). If they muster the courage to do it, they should also read the entire PDF document relating to the Hingis case before commenting on the case.

From my experience, most of those scientists actually know what they are doing and are at least as smart as most posters here (this may sound a bit snarky, but I get tired of some comments about lab people not knowing what they are doing).


Posted by Hashim 01/05/2008 at 05:11 AM

The writer feels so bad for Marcelo Rios,because he lost his only GS final to Korda and that Korda came under a cloud later on.Well, we can't be sure if Korda took cocaine during Aussie Open and even if he did,would it have benefited him so much.
If you feel so bad for Rios,how bad should you feel for Seles.
That poor girl had won 8 of 9 GS she took part before her stabbing.And Steffi Graf had won just 2 overall during the period.
Steffi didnt have to use drugs because her fan eliminated the opposition,inflicting physical wounds and shattering Seles mentally.Poor Seles didnt have the same mental make up after her comeback.
Shouldnt you write how much Graf benefited from Seles' stabbing.
May be it could read 'What if Seles wasnt stabbed'?
I know Graf fans would come up with her personal problems during Seles' peak that prevented her from winning majors.Well,it i shard to believe that all of Graf's problems continued till Aussie Open 93 and vanished once Seles was stabbed.
As for Hingis,I feel very bad for her.It is a sad ending to such a glorious career.

Posted by 01/05/2008 at 07:37 AM

Guten Tag all, I just read the ITF report on Hingis, very long but very informative. Like Ruth, Temes and others who have read it, I saw nothing in the report that suggested Hingis sample was mishandled as she claimed, Hingis poured the samples into the containers herself. I would urge all the conspiracy theorists (the ITF has a vested interest in convicting her) and the rest who believe she's still innocent to read this report with an objective mind. Please let's stop the nonsense that she may have eaten poppy seed rolls, red bull or cough medicine and this is the reason for the positive test. Please read anonymous Canadians post which was excellent. Hingis needs to come clean, apologize to her fans and stop lying. To Martymart, first welcome to the board, I have a great life so why would I be bitter. I'm bitter, just because I choose to accept that science got it right. Hey makes sense to me. Go Justine, world's #1!

Posted by Samantha 01/05/2008 at 07:44 AM

The 7:37 is me. Let me just add one more thing, I feel very bad for Hingis, she had a great career, achieving so much when she was so young. My countrymen Mats and Bjorn had drug problems, Borg used drugs to try and commit suicide. But look at them today, they both are happy and have families and both are respected in the game. Hingis can overcome this and I wish her the best.

Posted by yello fuzz 01/05/2008 at 08:18 AM

This is a horrible time for Martina.this all could be a mistake. stranger things have happened. She had a lot of down time, when she first retired, sorta like Capriati:had a long layoff, pseudo-retirement, was rich famous, maybe even a dose of youthful arrogance (see Martina vs Steffi FO final),she wasn't socialized like most of us : home schooled by her mother(not sure about the father situation) , so she may have been a kinda victim , meaning coerced,seduced or even drugged(seems kinda easy to imagine some sleaze dumping some blow into her drink to loosen her up .we are still ,in the age of the date rape drug). Capriati came back from all her trauma, I don't see why martina's can't. She can fight the charges , but in this day and age, the press doesn't do follow up stories if the villain is exonerated.so most people will believe she's a coke head, even if she can prove her innocence.she might wanna accept the ban, hit the gym and the practice court and beef up her serve and her overall strength . she's still young and can squeeze another couple of years of a career out after the ban. and her game really only lacks power. if she had a decent serve and a bit more sting on here shots, she would be right up there in the top 5.

Posted by Papo 01/05/2008 at 08:19 AM

Aww, look at Misha posing with all the little deaf kids. Congrats to him for reaching the final playing so well. Are the having a remote controled car race on the court? Great stuff : )

Posted by Papo 01/05/2008 at 08:22 AM

Misha could win this tournament. Both Carlos and Rafa better watch out. Vamos Rafa!!!

Posted by Papo 01/05/2008 at 08:24 AM

How many times are they going to show that same Rolex commercial with Roger? Did they just show it three times during the same commercial break?

Posted by Papo 01/05/2008 at 08:41 AM

Rafa and Carlos are going at it! Am I the only one watching?

Rafa takes the first game easily. He's serving very well!

Vamos Rafa!!!

Posted by Papo 01/05/2008 at 08:45 AM

Rafa and Carlos are going at it! Rafa held the first game to love. He's looking great.

Carlos' strategy to keep the points short by serve and volleying is having mixed results, but he just saved two break points.

Posted by yello fuzz 01/05/2008 at 08:46 AM

papo
is there an online stream or place to view the match online?

Posted by The Original French(ie) 01/05/2008 at 08:48 AM

so there's a lefty who plays right (Moya) v a righty who plays left (Rafa): who's got the edge right now? well 1-1.

Posted by Papo 01/05/2008 at 08:48 AM

Moya manages to hold his first game and it's 1-1

Posted by Jamaican Girl 01/05/2008 at 08:48 AM

I'm sort of following the match at channelsurfing.net

Posted by Papo 01/05/2008 at 08:49 AM

yello fuzz, go to channelsurfing.net and scroll down to the Chennai links.

Posted by Papo 01/05/2008 at 08:51 AM

Has Rafa been hanging out with Nole? He's been bouncing the ball a lot.

Posted by lilly potter 01/05/2008 at 08:52 AM

Moya and Rafa playing terrific match so far!

Posted by Papo 01/05/2008 at 08:53 AM

Rafa's monster inside-out forehand is working : )

Posted by Papo 01/05/2008 at 08:58 AM

Wow! Moya really getting into his groove!

Posted by ndk 01/05/2008 at 09:03 AM

Happy birthday Tari!! Have a couple of dirty martinis or kir royales for me..

Posted by Snoo Foo 01/05/2008 at 09:03 AM

Yo TOF thanks for the nomination! Especially since your opinions are always so earnest. Go Michael Llodra, World's #93!

Posted by Papo 01/05/2008 at 09:05 AM

Darn it! Rafa's backhand looked IN!

Posted by abbey 01/05/2008 at 09:06 AM

happy bday, tari!

Posted by Papo 01/05/2008 at 09:07 AM

Well, it's a moot point since Rafa held, but that ball looked in when they played it in slow mo. That should have counted as a fantastic winner.

Posted by Papo 01/05/2008 at 09:10 AM

Happy B-day Tari! Thanks for that New Year's wish for me ; )

May all YOUR wishes come true!

-Papo

Posted by Flyer 01/05/2008 at 09:11 AM

Morning All,

Seems like an interesting match so far bw Moya & Nadal - well that is until my screen just froze.....

Posted by Jamaican Girl 01/05/2008 at 09:13 AM

Is anyone else having trouble with channelsurfing screen freezing up?

by the way Happy B-Day Tari :)

Posted by yello fuzz 01/05/2008 at 09:14 AM

Papo
I am a MAC user...I have been vexed.....can't get the feed

Posted by zonie 01/05/2008 at 09:15 AM

Happy Birthday Tari :)

Jamaican Girl: this link is working for me
http://www.bhejafry.net/tvshows/watchlivetv.php?l=31

Posted by Papo 01/05/2008 at 09:17 AM

Well, it's 0-30 time to break and serve out the first set, Rafa!

Posted by The Original French(ie) 01/05/2008 at 09:18 AM

YO-to you too-Snoo! :)

I love so much when Rafa does these roadrunner things to get to the ball!!!

Posted by Papo 01/05/2008 at 09:19 AM

Carlos gets out of trouble and holds! He is playing great!

Posted by The Original French(ie) 01/05/2008 at 09:20 AM

4-4 seems the old lion does not want to back down. This is good tennis.

Posted by Flyer 01/05/2008 at 09:20 AM

Great return by Moya

Posted by Papo 01/05/2008 at 09:21 AM

Good to see Rafa's serve clicking. Great return from Carlos.

Posted by Or 01/05/2008 at 09:23 AM

Ah, here you are!

I wondered which thread is match calling.

Wow, nice hold by Rafa.

Posted by The Original French(ie) 01/05/2008 at 09:24 AM

5-4 for Rafa!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TARI!!!

Posted by Papo 01/05/2008 at 09:24 AM

Fantastic tennis! It's always great to watch the two Mallorcans play against each other : )

Posted by Flyer 01/05/2008 at 09:24 AM

Can live without the cheerleaders...

Posted by 01/05/2008 at 09:24 AM

Zonie, AC, Hart: Thank you for bringing real experience/information into this discussion. The idea that false positives have been occurring in tennis and that drug testing has been a failure just does not ring true. Even the examples of the exoneration of Rusedski and the partial exoneration of Canas do not impugn the testing system. Both were able to point to people associated with the ATP that could have given them supplements that lead to a positive result in a drug test. Not that they had false positives during testing.

Posted by Jamaican Girl 01/05/2008 at 09:25 AM

thanks zonie

Posted by The Original French(ie) 01/05/2008 at 09:25 AM

hei POM POM girls on the court!!!

Posted by Samantha 01/05/2008 at 09:26 AM

Happy Birthday Tari, Yellow Fuzz with all due respect, who do you think drugged Hingis? Also, how is she a "kinda victim" She maybe a victim of her own excesses. Can we stop with the excuses? Congrats to Venus in straight sets over Sharapova. Looks like she's ready for the open.

Posted by Flyer 01/05/2008 at 09:26 AM

Moya better be careful right now - yep now 30:30

Posted by Backhand blaster 01/05/2008 at 09:26 AM

The 9:24 post was me.

Posted by Papo 01/05/2008 at 09:28 AM

Rafa can react sooo quickly! He's getting better and better by the day!

Posted by Sam 01/05/2008 at 09:29 AM

Happy Birthday Tari!!

Posted by Flyer 01/05/2008 at 09:29 AM

Ah no - dumb smash from Moya - wrong placement & speed

Posted by Papo 01/05/2008 at 09:30 AM

Moya saving set points. Can he hang on?

Posted by Or 01/05/2008 at 09:30 AM

Mistake with the smash there from Moya, right at Rafa rather than open court.

Will Rafa make him pay? Not this time.

Posted by The Original French(ie) 01/05/2008 at 09:31 AM

oh yes carlos a double fault now pleeeease!

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