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Rokkon the Boat 11/03/2010 - 3:00 PM

95590393 by Pete Bodo

One of my articles of faith regarding tennis has recently been confirmed by Christophe Rochus. That conviction is that if you want to get a lot of attention in tennis, you must do one of three things: Beat Roger Federer. Beat Rafael Nadal. Or make accusations about doping.

Rochus, the 5-7 Belgian drop-shot artist also known as "Rokkon" (which I assume is a variant of "Rock on!" as in, "Rock on, dude!") is a lover of Jack Russell terriers. Somehow, that seems really fitting; like a Jack Russell, Rochus never seemed to understand that he's a small dog.

Still, Rochus was 0-2 for his career against Federer, and 0-2 versus Nadal. That leaves option three, which Rochus exploited to the max recently, when he made some disturbing allegations about doping in the Belgian newspaper La Derniere Heure. "Derniere" means "last," and this may be the last we hear of Rochus for a while, given that he's currently ranked No. 237 and headed further south. It appears that he's called it a career, and I'll miss him—even though his claims about doping seem ill-considered and irresponsible.

I say that because I've learned—or is it "decided"?—over the years that if you're going to shoot your mouth off about doping, you'd better have something to back it up—something beyond, "Don't you see how waxy so-and-so's skin looks?" If you don't have anything beyond the most flimsy circumstantial or connect-the-dots evidence, common decency demands that you either keep your mouth shut or couch your comments in the most broad, general terms. It just isn't fair to any of the players, especially those whose activities are in question, to do otherwise.

I learned this myself the hard way, after writing a few relatively careful but highly speculative posts on the subject a few years ago (at this blog). I don't want to dig them out or link to them because, frankly, I'm somewhat ashamed of them. Being familiar with firearms, I should have known enough to remember that you only aim a gun at something you intend to kill. And you'd better have a good reason to kill anything.

So let's start here. Doping exists in tennis. We've learned that it exists in pretty much all pro sports. If it didn't, nobody ever would have been suspended for it, right? This should not come as Stop the Presses! news to anyone. But when does doping (or substitute betting on matches) become so ubiquitous a problem that it damages the credibility of the sport? Not at any point at which we've arrived, although I like to think I'm ready to take the bad news if we ever do get there.

In the precis of the interview, Rochus is quoted as saying, "There's a lot of cheating. Simply, people don't like to talk about it. I simply would like to stop the pretending. This hypocrisy is exasperating."

I'm not sure what hypocrisy Rochus is talking about. Abusers are first and foremost cheaters; hypocrites would be those who know for certain that doping goes on, and on a significant scale, but choose to ignore it, or claim it doesn't. The implication here is that the guys on the tour know it goes on, but have engaged in a kind of conspiracy of silence. This is the first time I've heard anything like that claim. I also don't believe any of the players would knowingly let others unfairly take food off their plates without kicking up a fuss about it.

Secondly, Rochus said: "I've seen things like everyone else. For me, it's inconceivable to play for five hours in the sun and come back like a rabbit the next day. I remember a match against a guy whose name I will not say. I won the first set 6-1, very easily. He went to the bathroom and came back metamorphosized. He led 5-3 in the second set and when I came back to 5-5... his nose began bleeding. I told myself it was all very strange."

I'm not so sure what's so strange about a guy recovering from a bad 1-6 set to turn a match around. And we've seen players find a seemingly prenatural surge of energy on many occasions. It happens all the time, in all sports. I'm not sure what nosebleed suggests, other than a really bad cold or a whopping cocaine habit, but it's pretty bold to infer from that experience that the incident suggests doping on an institutional scale. Maybe Rochus just drew a guy with nasal passage issues. Or even a cokehead. Given how many pro tennis matches take place in a typical year, and how many players qualify for tournaments, I wouldn't find either option very strange at all.

The most specific and damaging of allegations Rochus made were about his countrywoman Justine Henin, and her abrupt withdrawal from the tour in 2008. Rochus apparently said: "I heard [the rumours] like you. All I can say is, I found it surprising, her sudden stop without apparent reason. Usually, champions like this announce several months in advance and do a sort of farewell tour."

Let's start with this: the original doping claims against Henin were made after the 2003 U.S. Open, and by Leo Clijsters, the father of Henin's Belgian rival, Kim. Filip de Wulf, a former French Open semifinalist turned journalist, appeared to back up Leo. These remain the most serious, resonant doping claims ever made against a high-ranked player. And while nobody knows the objective truth about them, wouldn't it be a horrible injustice to Henin if we took the words of Clijsters and DeWulf at face value, with no concrete evidence? Are you so confident in your judgment—or the word of some third party—that you would insist that Henin was doping?

Fast forward to 2008. I don't know where Rochus got this business about champions liking to announce their intent to retire months in advance in order to go on a "farewell tour." I'm still waiting for Elena Dementieva to post the dates of hers, and I don't really recall Kim Clijsters' victory lap of a few years ago. Nor that of Andre Agassi, or Pete Sampras. Were they doping, too? This is such poor reasoning on the part of Rochus that it makes me wince.

Rochus freely admitted that he'd been given 10-15 doping tests a year for a decade, and also received a warning letter from the ATP when he shot his mouth off on the same subject some time ago. I don't know if 15 tests is enough; and I don't know if the testing regimen is sufficiently rigorous to catch violators. To make an informed judgment about those things, I'd probably have to spend the better part of six months dedicating my life to penetrating the sinister and depressing world of doping, and doping police work. I have no desire to do that, so I keep my speculations to myself. The important thing is that I don't think Rochus put in those six months, either. Perhaps it could become his second career.

Doping is a subject that reminds me in some ways of the little I know about pornography. Some people seem inordinately attracted to it. Both subjects appear to have some sort of addictive power, and foster some sort of obesssion that can balloon out of control. Why would someone convince himself that this player or that is a doper, and then make it some kind of a mission to expose him or her? I can't imagine that obsessively wanting to discover some real or imagined secret harbored by someone else, or some group of people, is an entirely healthy enterprise. But I'm pretty sure it's one you can be sucked into, if you're susceptible to it. In some ways, speculating about doping also is a sporting equivalent of political conspiracy theories. Dots, after all, are there to be connected. I prefer that someone armed with data and expertise—someone in a position to actually know—does the connecting.

I don't think, from what I've read, that Rochus is in a postion to connect those dots. I would be more inclined to value his comments if he had some firsthand experience—being approached by someone who had PEDs to peddle; a fellow player confiding in him about the benefits of doping; encountering a colleague injecting himself with a dose of performance-enhancing drugs. But he offers none of those firsthand experiences, beyond playing some guy, somewhere, who came back from a set down to give Rochus a match despite also having a bloody nose.

Many years ago, Boris Becker confided (and I published the confession, with his blessing) that at the end of one particularly grueling year (the best of his career, if memory serves), he was a mental and physical wreck, and survived to end the year on a high note only because he received an injection of calf's blood. It was a creepy thing to think about and, as far as I could work out, not a violation of any of the rules that existed at the time. Players always seek an edge, there's no doubt about that. Just what they're willing to risk, both in terms of their health and their livelihood and reputation, is open the question.

I'm in no position to answer that question with anything like authority, so I'll leave it to the administrators of the game and the scientists to provide those answers—or charges. My job, as I see it, begins when a credible, fact-based claim is made. The glories, such as they are, rained down on someone who exposes a cheat or deception, hold no appeal for me.

I don't know what that original admonition from the ATP said, but if I were to write a letter to Rochus today, it would be a brief one: Shut your piehole, until you can make a specific charge against a specific person or persons—and back it up.

I have a feeling that Rochus is going to regret saying the things he did when he gets an earful from the ATP, or Henin, or maybe even that dude with the bloody nose. But given his comments, I can also see him interpreting censure of that kind as a warning that he take part in this alleged conspiracy of silence. 

After the noise he just made, a little silence might be a good thing.


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Posted by Colette 11/03/2010 at 06:09 PM

Carrie, I believe even choir girl Mary Jo Fernandez once tested positive for some cold medicine/antihistamine or something.

Posted by Ruth 11/03/2010 at 06:10 PM

"But I'm going to make a point in Australia to pin down some folks on some of the more compelling issues—like whether or not it's possible to duck out-of-competition testing by simply not answering the door when the testers come around."

This sounds like precisley the kind of thing that Karen and others are suggesting that Pete an other tennis writers do. I doubt that Pete's job was threatened because he did this, as the person who cited the above quote from Pete suggested. But it would be interesting if Pete could explain why he seems to have radically changed his position about doing even some minor "digging" about a subject like doping.

Posted by Pierric Bross 11/03/2010 at 06:13 PM

No offence but Christopher Rochus is obviously saying this to justify his own use of doping in order to better his tennis career, and obviously once he stopped and his ranking dropped considerably he 'realised' that everyone else dopes too.

Posted by Jay 11/03/2010 at 06:14 PM

Carrie--I remember some player saying that she had to be careful what cold/flu medication she took, trying to avoid doping violations. Sometimes its too much.

I was happy that Coria won his lawsuit over unintentional doping. It should not have to come to that.

Posted by Carrie - Thanks for the memories Elena! 11/03/2010 at 06:20 PM

Jay- the whole Coria thing makes my heart hurt. He is still slammed as someone who knowingly cheated by some. I remember in his interview after the 2004 FO final he said that ever since his ban he had been trying to clear his name and it weighed heavily on him. Coria really is a sad story in tennis.

And I think Nole has problems because he can't take some allergy medications. Yes- it can be too much. Focus more time and effort and transparency on getting accurate test for procedures that can really alter a performance.

Posted by Parrot 11/03/2010 at 06:21 PM

C. Rochus says:
"There's the case of Canas, for example. I can cite his name because he has been caught twice, so one can assume he was doping. [Editor's note: Canas has received one anti-doping suspension under the ani-doping program. Mariano Puerta is the only tennis player to have received two suspensions.]

C. Rochus is unable to keep even a single KNOWN fact straight. Yet he wants us to believe him when he winks and nudges at the UNKNOWN ones.

Posted by temes 11/03/2010 at 06:23 PM

Jeez Lump! LOL

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne has 2 more days in jail,Vamos Wayne! 11/03/2010 at 06:23 PM

Sherlock Agree

If didnt take long for Rafa and his doping allegations to begin

Though may I add Vamos he did get his Golden Career Slam

Thank goodness for the Spring

Posted by lilscot 11/03/2010 at 06:25 PM

For me it doesn't matter WHY Pete sort of changed his position on writing articles about drug use in tennis. What matters is that he does admit being ashamed of some articles he's written in the past.

It takes a big person to admit publicly that they made mistakes in the past, and that not only goes for journalists, but athletes as well.

I don't think I've heard too many, if any people, say that there is no doping in tennis. Anyone who says that obviously doesn't watch tennis or read about it because anyone familiar with the sport knows the players that have already been busted like Canas, Puerta, and others. It's never been kept secret. Quite the opposite, it's always been front-page news.

For as long as I've been coming here I haven't read where anyone said there was no doping in tennis. I've heard lots of us deny that certain specific players weren't doping when they've been accused of it by other posters, and justifiably so.

Because in the end, like Pete and others including myself here have said, with no kind of evidence other than someone had a nose-bleed, or someone looks a little more buff than normal, it's not right to just shoot your mouth off in public and hurt lots of people.

I suppose it might just be me, but the subject didn't even need as long an article as Pete wrote. Just a simple sentence stating the obvious is enough:

INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY.

Posted by Carrie - Thanks for the memories Elena! 11/03/2010 at 06:27 PM

Parrot- yes- that was a bit jarring. I followed the Canas case quite a bit during and after his ban. That one the goofy Mexian pharmacy mix up story. Another non- cut and dry case. And another one where the ITF said they did not believe there was intent. But maybe to Rouchus all Argies are the same.

Posted by Or 11/03/2010 at 06:27 PM

Thanks for the search on Rochus, I was just about to do that.

I imagine guys will respond now. I doubt Henin would.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne has 2 more days in jail,Vamos Wayne! 11/03/2010 at 06:28 PM

lilscot I said the exact thing in my opening post

Great minds

Posted by Sherlock 11/03/2010 at 06:29 PM

"Thank goodness for the Spring"

Lol, AM. Indeed. :)

The part I like best is that Rafa must have only taken his "Make the semis" dose the previous couple years at the USO, but this year he went with the full-blown slam winning dose. :)

Posted by Carrie - Thanks for the memories Elena! 11/03/2010 at 06:32 PM

Sherlock- hee!

And don't forget in some of the years during his title droughts he also took the make the finals of Miami, Bercy, Shanghai and Madrid (when it was an indoor tournament) but lose dose.

Also good to know that Miami is now a fast hard court..

Posted by temes 11/03/2010 at 06:32 PM

Rafa really likes the spring eh?

Posted by Colette 11/03/2010 at 06:32 PM

Sherlock/AM, I hope he does a special cycle for this year's WTF

Posted by Pierric Bross 11/03/2010 at 06:32 PM

On Henin, it wouldn't be surprising if she did cocaine at a party or something (like Agassi and Hingis), and personally I don't find that serious at all. It wouldn't be out-of-character (she's a bit similar to Hingis and Agassi), but it also would not be to improve her tennis matches.

Personally I don't know why recreational drugs aren't legal during the off-season anyway as there is no tennis then and they don't give you long-term benefits like many performance enhancing drugs do.

I know many drugs like marijuana and cocaine are illegal, but should you be banned from tennis becuase you smoked pot at a christmas party or snorted cocaine at a new years party? I honestly don't think so.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne has 2 more days in jail,Vamos Wayne! 11/03/2010 at 06:33 PM

Sherlock Thank goodness for that

Like I might not have been around to see his Golden Career Slam

I can now go to Tennis Heaven a Happy Mature Woman

Posted by temes 11/03/2010 at 06:35 PM

I'd imagine Henin is a lot of fun on coke.

Posted by Carrie - Thanks for the memories Elena! 11/03/2010 at 06:36 PM

*I know many drugs like marijuana and cocaine are illegal, but should you be banned from tennis becuase you smoked pot at a christmas party or snorted cocaine at a new years party? I honestly don't think so.
*

Oh geeze- if they had banned rec use of drugs in the 1970s half of the ATP tour would have been put out to pasture.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne has 2 more days in jail,Vamos Wayne! 11/03/2010 at 06:37 PM

May I add though I am glad he did drop a set in the final of the USO

He didnt want to make it look that obvious

Vamos Rafa!

Posted by Sherlock 11/03/2010 at 06:38 PM

Carrie & Colette, lol! Woo hoo! :)

Pierric, well said. The recreational drug issue I don't get either. Hingis getting such a long suspension for something like that is absurd.

"I'd imagine Henin is a lot of fun on coke."

Lol. Oh my. :)

Posted by tennis muse 11/03/2010 at 06:40 PM

Peter Bodo's livelihood depends on access to top tennis players, and if some top players are doping, then anything other than head-in-the-sand denial by Bodo and his colleagues threatens their access and therefore their jobs.

There is no need to moralize: Bodo is not necessarily a bad person for looking the other way, but for corruption to prevail it only requires that good people do nothing.

The bottom line is that Bodo and his colleagues, who have a vested interest in hearing no evil and seeing no evil, are the last people in the world we should trust on this issue. The temptation to do what is personally advantageous is just too strong, which might also be said for a lot of the athletes.

Posted by Colette 11/03/2010 at 06:40 PM

"He didnt want to make it look that obvious"

Lol, AM

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne has 2 more days in jail,Vamos Wayne! 11/03/2010 at 06:40 PM

I would like to say Coke a Cola is good for cleaning windows

If Justine needs to clean her windows when at home

That was the fun you were all talking about wasnt it?

Posted by Min 11/03/2010 at 06:41 PM

I thought the first paragraph was the most pathetic thing I've ever read of Pete Bodo's but then I got to this.....

"I don't know if 15 tests is enough; and I don't know if the testing regimen is sufficiently rigorous to catch violators. To make an informed judgment about those things, I'd probably have to spend the better part of six months dedicating my life to penetrating the sinister and depressing world of doping, and doping police work. I have no desire to do that...."

Bravo Pete, you brave journalist you. Way to go... Enjoy your cosy job. Tennis world nice and tight with the ATP?

Posted by temes 11/03/2010 at 06:50 PM

Yes AM washing your windows with coca cola is one of the first things you do when on coke.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne has 2 more days in jail,Vamos Wayne! 11/03/2010 at 06:54 PM

temes Well I do live in another world dont I

Hangs Head.

Posted by TheTruth 11/03/2010 at 06:55 PM

Reading through the comments, I find it curious that known Rafael Nadal fans are the ones PUSHING BACK (at least, they sound DEFENSIVE) against stringent dope testing, whereas Roger Federer fans seem more open to improved or expanded testing.

Quite telling, no?

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne has 2 more days in jail,Vamos Wayne! 11/03/2010 at 06:57 PM

True us Rafa fans always put our heads in the sand at times like this

We are also Cheats in many ways.

Posted by LM 11/03/2010 at 06:58 PM

Pete Bodo 2006:

But what are you going to do? Allow doping? Talk the talk, but look the other way as soon as there’s even a hint of a problem (as I believe the ATP and WTA have done for years)?
...
Trust me: Doping is a burning, omnipresent topic on the pro tour these days. I owe it to you to tackle it, and I am proud that as a blogger I can do that in a way that a newspaper reporter cannot....


Pete Bodo 2010:
"I don't know if 15 tests is enough; and I don't know if the testing regimen is sufficiently rigorous to catch violators. To make an informed judgment about those things, I'd probably have to spend the better part of six months dedicating my life to penetrating the sinister and depressing world of doping, and doping police work. I have no desire to do that...."

What year was it exactly you lost your courage, Pete? 07? 08? 09?

Posted by Sherlock 11/03/2010 at 06:59 PM

Umm, no. :)

Nadal fans are pushing back because one poster launched the tired old diatribe he's written a dozen times before. If someone wrote accusatory things about Fed, you'd get the same response, rightly so.

None of the pushback said anything against testing. They can test every day as far as I'm concerned.

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 11/03/2010 at 06:59 PM

We cheat all the time at the truth, or I meant to say that's the truth.

Posted by JumpinJack 11/03/2010 at 07:01 PM

"I also don't believe any of the players would knowingly let others unfairly take food off their plates without kicking up a fuss about it"

Maybe this is the fuss you talk about. Perhaps being sick of seeing some/many/hardly any?? of his peers doping now that he is retiring he feels he can say what he wishes to on the subject?
Also, if he was talking in an interview then presumably he would have been responding to questions, which is very different from bringing these topics up himself. To respond to questions in what he may consider to be truthful is more admirable then not. How many players never say anything in interviews, or obfuscate to a level where they may as well not even be asked?

If this kind of opinion piece is how the media responds when one player "kicks up a fuss" is it any surprise more do not bother? Im not saying you have to believe him, but to denigrate is a good tway to demean the issue and any point he may or may not have. And to demand that he provide proof yet providing none of your own beyond the usual 'noone tests positive so there is no problem' (which is faulty for many reasons, East Germany, Marion Jones, Michelle Smith, and many many more) may be the a part of the hypocritical nature he is talking about in regards to doping.

Who knows if doping is prevalent in tennis? It is an unanswerable question to some degree. But it is not helpful to shoot a messenger who raises the question. This article could basically have been written by a governing body anxious to protect their sport from controversy. It uses the same basic arguments anyone fond of cycling, athletics, swimming, and olympic sport has heard many times. And whilst you are not expected to get to the bottom of the problem if you do not wish to, to denigrate (even if in a soft way) is close to actively obfuscating the issue.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne has 2 more days in jail,Vamos Wayne! 11/03/2010 at 07:02 PM

Lynne LOL! Well said

Sherlock That was the best post I have read from you in sometime

ps I hope your not on anything?

Posted by Ruth 11/03/2010 at 07:03 PM

"It takes a big person to admit publicly that they made mistakes in the past, and that not only goes for journalists, but athletes as well."

lilscot: I certainly agree with this 100%, and that is why I gave Pete a motherly :) compliment on what he had written in his post (see comment #2 on page 1 of this thread).

But I assumed that Pete was apologizing onl for his past pointing the finger at certain players (mostly Argies) as being chronic dopers -- and making other similar allegations/insunuations re: Nadal -- without cause. If Pete was apologizing for simply asking questions about the policies and procedures of the ATP vis a vis drug testing, I now withdraw and cancel my motherly pat on the back! :)

Posted by TF 11/03/2010 at 07:05 PM

Actually chatter about doping in tennis is getting much louder on the internet. Check out some European sites, it's much louder over there than here but even here it's gaining noise. Fans of other sports even scoff a little at the tennis drug system and the naivety of it's followers.

Why doesn't a journalist organise a Q&A with some offical from the ITF/ATP about anti-doping?

Here are some questions I would like answered:

Why are so few drug tests done out of competition?

Why are so many out of competition tests done at hotels a few days before the tournament starts, instead of at the players training base weeks before a tournament?

Why are the players, who are not where they are meant to be when testers turn up, not faced with another test in the days afterwards?

Are the ATP/ITF concerned that a whopping 25% of out of competition tests were missed?

Are the ATP/ITF concerned that there are different sources who say tennis players are involved with Operation Puerto? Are the ATP/ITF concerned that they ignored these sources and listened to only one source, who also said Valverde was not involved with Operation Puerto?

Are the ATP/ITF concerned that a blood bag with Valverde's blood proved this to be a lie?

Are the ATP/ITF concerned about what other things may have been withheld?

In addition to warning and sitting a player down to talk about PR when they speak up about the issue of drugs in tennis, does the ATP/ITF also ask them specific questions about why they raised the issue? Do they ask them to give any inside information they may have? Do they use their unique insights to further fight doping in tennis?

Are the ATP/ITF going to introduce testing for HGH after Wayne Odesnik was caught with HGH by Australian Customs?

Why did the ATP/ITF not authorised the French to do testing for CERA at the French Open? Why do the ATP/ITF believe CERA would not be useful in a 7 match best of 5 sets clay court major with huge prize money?

What was the information that the French had which led them to target test at the French Open in 2009? Information that the French said the ATP was aware of?

Are the ATP/ITF concerned that anti-doping organisation officials have used words like: "off the rails" and "preposterous" about tennis in relation to doping issues in the past?

Come on Journos', there is MUCH to ask. NO ONE IS ASKING. We're not asking you to become Woodward and Bernstein for pity's sake. Just do your job and ask some questions and explore the issues of one of the most important topics in the sport you make your living off.

Posted by Pierric Bross 11/03/2010 at 07:05 PM

@TheTruth

Tomorrow at 6o'clock Roger Federer found to have been taken Samprasine, a highely effective steriod-like drug that gives you a Pete Samprass-like career. Combined with a dagernous mix of Bjorgesterone he managed to become the greatest tennis player of this generation. He has been banned from tennis for life over the revelations that he used the drugs since 2003 and all tennis titles have been stripped from him.

Rafael Nadal on the other hand tested positive for too McDonalds double quarter-pounders. In response to the allegations he said, "I'm lovin' it".

Posted by temes 11/03/2010 at 07:06 PM

Rafa fans are a cheating, hairy and muscular bunch with horrible bacne. All of them.

Posted by Parrot 11/03/2010 at 07:07 PM

Well, C. Rochus is not a tennis journalist, his livelihood does not depend on burrying his head in the sand.

What's stopping him to really spill the beans, and not merely fart before closing the door on his way out?

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne has 2 more days in jail,Vamos Wayne! 11/03/2010 at 07:09 PM

temes

Do you have to be soooooo cruel in your assessement

Like I go to the Beauty Therapists for some of the above on a monthly basis

Hmmm I am trying at the muscle thingy I will get back to you on my fast forward development

Though may I say

I still have Incredible Hair

Pity about Rafa's hair though

Posted by Joe 11/03/2010 at 07:11 PM

Pierric Bross, lol, that was a good one!!!! the best response

Posted by Tigress 11/03/2010 at 07:12 PM

Nice, nice very nice! Fed moves on toward his 4th Basel crown. 25/25 of first serve points won. That sounds like 100% to me! Now, if only Fed can do that while serving at 69%!

And 62-40 in total points (61%-39%). Far more than a typical Andrewesque "Clean Kill', since it's over 60%. Maybe we should term it a "Slice-and-Dice" (Where is our friend 'Slice', BTW. I always enjoy the incisiveness of his comments.

Bye-Bye Birdie. Too bad. I was looking forward to savoring a Fed-Birdy Semifinal, before a delicious Fed-Djoker Finals rematch.

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 11/03/2010 at 07:13 PM

Why, thank you, temes !

Posted by fernando 11/03/2010 at 07:13 PM

I am not a tennis pro si Iwould appreciate an education.The great Nadal is an amazing athlete and a wonderful role model and person. But is it usual for a player to increase his serve by 10-15 MPH through a new found grip change?

Posted by MN 11/03/2010 at 07:13 PM

You can add Rochus to the list of a dozen players that say there is/has been a problem. Fabrice Santoro and Mahesh Bhupathi are also just 'jealous' 'pathetic' 'sour grapers' too are they?

Posted by tennis muse 11/03/2010 at 07:14 PM

Sherlock,

You have an unfortunate moniker for one who ignores the obvious rather than perceiving the abstruse. But doesn't it bother you at least a little that kids all over the world are overtraining to the point of injury in the vain hope that their "muscles will explode" at age 17 like uncle Toni says Rafa's did, and wrenching their shoulders out of socket in the attempt to add 10 mph to their serve speeds by a simple "grip change?" BS is not always harmless.

Posted by Sherlock 11/03/2010 at 07:14 PM

AM, I can't comment on those allegations. Though I must admit I have a strange urge to go wash my windows with coca cola.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne has 2 more days in jail,Vamos Wayne! 11/03/2010 at 07:17 PM

Sherlock I love to give out helpful hints

Believe me it does work!

Posted by MN 11/03/2010 at 07:18 PM

How many players have to raise the issue (some in a more tactful manner than others) before people will start thinking about the issue properly? Let us not forget one thing. They are actually IN THE SYSTEM. And perhaps, as much as the fans here and the blogger who writes would like to think they know it all, perhaps these people have a clearer idea than any of you.
When Odesnik was caught players said they suspected because of what they saw in the locker room.
Journalists have said players have spoken to them off the record but the journo's can't print without more proof.
These players, are the ones that would have a better idea than anyone, and they ARE trying to speak up or get people to open their eyes. But the response to Rochus is a just a typical aggressive defensive piece of rubbish. And this piece in particular takes the cake. The media repsonses could have been scripted by the ATP, and that is damning.

Posted by adicecream 11/03/2010 at 07:19 PM

I think I don't care much about doping. If that makes me a bad person, I can live with it.

Posted by Ruth 11/03/2010 at 07:21 PM

carrie: I, too, wasver upset about the Coria's treatment by the ATP; I followed his suit that was tried in NJ against the company that made the nutritional supplments he used, and at the end, I was even more convinced that coria had been unfairly treated.

As for Canas's one and only case, I downloaded 40 pages of the transcript of the hearing from the Internet after my eyes got tired reading the first 20. And there's no doubt in my mind that the local tournament doctor,for whom the ATP quickly distanced themselves, had made a mistake in giving a blood pressure drug that was for another person (identified and found to be no relation or associate of Canas) when he was handing out medicine to several players (including Canas) who had become ill during the tourney. This is why the ATP decreased the ban, but Canas continues to have a mark against him. They should have reversed the decision completely and rescinded the ban IMHO.

Posted by ladyjulia 11/03/2010 at 07:24 PM

TF,

+1000 for your questions. You bring up really good questions that need answers and nobody even tries to find answers for them.

"Here are some questions I would like answered:

Why are so few drug tests done out of competition?

Are the ATP/ITF concerned that a whopping 25% of out of competition tests were missed?

Are the ATP/ITF concerned about what other things may have been withheld?

Are the ATP/ITF going to introduce testing for HGH after Wayne Odesnik was caught with HGH by Australian Customs?

Come on Journos', there is MUCH to ask. NO ONE IS ASKING. We're not asking you to become Woodward and Bernstein for pity's sake. Just do your job and ask some questions and explore the issues of one of the most important topics in the sport you make your living off."

I mean Odnesik has to be caught by custom officials transporting eight vials of HGH...its ridiculous. Testing in tennis is a joke.

While C.Rochus is a little ridiculous commenting about rumors...why is he so adamant on talking about it, despite being warned before? Just because he is 0-2 against Fedal?

It dosen't make any sense...why is so vocal about doping being rampant in tennis? Just because he's 0-2 against Fedal???? Really??? Despite being warned, he is vocal...and everybody admonishes him.

Did any journalist actually email him and find out if he has any evidence? Or its just rumors? Can he get other players to talk? Do other players feel that way too?

A little bit of research can be done on this topic before just admonishing the guy who has been warned not to talk, and still insists that doping is rampant in tennis.

Are there any facts to claim otherwise? No, there are not enough facts...simply because tennis isn't tested enough.

Instead of writing about ITF/ATP should pull up their socks, so that retired players don't come and make such claims...or if they do, they can be refuted with facts and prove that the person making such claims has a jealous tendency...but there is no data to prove either way.

Its silly..and journalists should do better. And its worse about actual rules. Even we can see on tv, that ATP/ITF dosen't enforce rules. It dosen't even bother.

And then we are supposed to believe that ATP/ITF take drug testing seriously???

Posted by Sherlock 11/03/2010 at 07:25 PM

"BS is not always harmless."

Some delicious irony there. :)

Tennis muse, you've got about as much "evidence" to back up your "obvious" assertions as I do in saying there is life in some other galaxy far, far away. Sure, Rafa, Roger, and every other player on tour could be doing PEDs. But they could also be....wait...NOT doing them. Your original post is full of enough holes to resemble swiss cheese, so it is quite apparent that it's not the obvious I'm ignoring, but rather a whole lot of the harmless BS of which you speak.

Posted by Carrie - Thanks for the memories Elena! 11/03/2010 at 07:25 PM

*known Rafael Nadal fans are the ones PUSHING BACK (at least, they sound DEFENSIVE) against stringent dope testing, whereas Roger Federer fans seem more open to improved or expanded testing.*

Urm no- but generalize much? As Sherlock said a number of us are just responding to the repeated accusations about Nadal- and solely Nadal.

I would love frequent and comprehensive testing that targest players who use performance enhancing drugs instead of say- players who take an extra puff of an inhaler.

And you know- I have noticed that Nadal- and it seems only Nadal is the player accused of being a doper on the ATP tour. If j'accuse that doping is prevelant on the ATP- then it is not just about one player. So I would rather the focus be about how to have good and accurate testing than to constistantlty just accuse one player over and over and over and over because they have biceps. It seems to me that for some- the focus is more about Nadal than doping in general.

I want to sport to be as clean as possible to weed out cheats. But I do not think Rafa is a doper. That does not mean I have my head in the sand as Rafa fans are frequently accusing. And because I do think Rafa is clean I want the best testing possible. That way instead of accusations without concrete proof- there can be actual real evidence instead of conjecture. And if Rafa or any of the other players that I support are actually proven to take real PEDs then they should be punished. But I do not believe that conjecture is proof. Sorry. You can easily twist circumstances around as "proof" when I would like hard evidence.

Posted by TheTruth 11/03/2010 at 07:25 PM

Sherlock, et al.

Even before "tennis muse's" full-blown accusation of Rafa @ 5:56pm, the tone of Rafa KADs like Pete (himself), Alexis, @work, etc. was defensive, whereas Roger KADs like JK, CWATC, Kombo were all pushing for more testing or, at least, urging Pete not to pooh-pooh Rochus.

Posted by temes 11/03/2010 at 07:26 PM

Too bad I only drink sugarfree pepsi. But I'm gonna apply that to my windows anyhow. lol

Btw I've seen many muscular teenagers not saying it's very usual but it's nothing unbelievable, especially for a world class athlete. All it takes is a proper diet and supplements and vigorous training, genes can help too.

Posted by Carrie - Thanks for the memories Elena! 11/03/2010 at 07:27 PM

*as Rafa fans are frequently accusing.*

I meant that Rafa fans are frequently accused of doing. :)

Posted by Sherlock 11/03/2010 at 07:29 PM

TheTruth, can't speak for everyone, but I'm a Rafa fan, and I want the best testing we can get.

Also, Alexis would be absolutely appalled at being called a Rafa KAD. Just to warn you. :)

Posted by GB 11/03/2010 at 07:33 PM

LOL at Alexis being a RafaKAD!

LOL at the idea that RafaKADs' supposed hope to make everyone shut up about testing is somehow evidence of something...perhaps we're all party to Rafa's cycles? When can I expect an email from the ATP?

Posted by Carrie - Thanks for the memories Elena! 11/03/2010 at 07:37 PM

TheTruth- Alexis is not a Rafa fan to my knowledge- far from it.

And I still did see Rafa fans saying there should not be testing as you claim. I just saw folks saying that they were not a fan of veiled accusations. It is easy to throw out generalizations. That to me is what people were not fond of. And maybe folks are defensive too because they expected the same tune that soley focus on accusing Rafa being a doper than say cleaning up tennis.


And again- it must be pointed out- Rochus said he was free to besmirch Canas when he did not even get the facts straight. Please see Ruth's 7:21 for more info on Canas.

Posted by TheTruth 11/03/2010 at 07:40 PM

Mine was just an observation.

But I want a clean sport, too. And I think the solution to this endless suspicions of doping is TRANSPARENCY.

Besides the regular tests done during/at tournaments, make the off-season tests random, and if a player refuses (or drags his/her feet, or shuts the door on officials who come for blood samples) LOUDLY PUBLICIZE these incidents.

Random, unannounced sample collections (like the one Rafa once bitched endlessly about) should become ubiquitous.

Posted by Kwaku 11/03/2010 at 07:42 PM

Good day to enjoy the site rule allowing us to insult players:
Rochus is a poor jerk, lol!

And WTF happened with Verdasco today again, and in his final sprint for a WTF berth? Pffft. You can't get much more disappointing than that.

Posted by TheTruth 11/03/2010 at 07:43 PM

Alexis is a (nobody) KAD?

I stand corrected.

Posted by Sherlock 11/03/2010 at 07:44 PM

TheTruth, I hear ya. I'm all for more random tests. And not the few here and there over the course of a year that it sounds like we get sometimes.

But...we can test a thousand times every year, and we can still can't stop HGH use.

Posted by Mr Rick 11/03/2010 at 07:45 PM

What is so particularly irritating about the pushers of doping accusations on this site is that 1) of course they never have any actual evidence to back up their accusations, and 2) they never have any actual expertise in the area of doping, sports medicine, or medicine of any kind so that their accusations can at least be plausible.

They are never able to describe in any detail what specific kind of doping agents a player might be taking, how and when exactly they are taking them and for what purpose, and why any kind of doping for a tennis player is advantageous (especially for top 10-20 title-winning players) over plain old-fashioned training, nutrition, and treatment as needed by a bona fide sports medicine clinician. So many advances in sports training and medicine have been made in recent years, which is why, for one thing, we are seeing career-ending injuries now not-so-necessarily career ending --- and athletes in all sports having much longer, healthier careers. Brett Favre still at it? Olympic gold and silver medalists in their forties, who would have thunk it possible??

But what always happens on this site instead is that a fan gets pissed their favorite player is losing and their not-favorite player is winning and the only way these types of fans are capable of explaining this sad state of affairs is to start throwing around accusations of doping against the player they don't like. Not one iota of actual evidence is every presented to back up the accusation. No plausible, knowledgeable explanation is offered about why and how a specific player even MIGHT be doping, even if there is no actual evidence. Instead they just say they saw a photo of a player looking extremely muscular, so obviously the player is on 'roids; or as in this thread, we get an utterly illogical analysis of a player's win-loss results to somehow establish the player's "pattern" of doping.

Yes, I know doping is a reality in professional sports. But for a lot of reasons, I don't think it has ever been anywhere near as wide-spread as it has in other sports that require truly super-human bursts of speed, strength or endurance (like football, field and track, or cycling). Tennis is a mental sport as much as it is physical, and there are many sports where athletes expend much greater physical force and energy. Going five sets of tennis is still not quite up there with an Iron Man Triathlon or the Tour de France.

Doping is a dark art, but I simply wonder, where tennis is concerned and in this day and age, if it is even a terribly effective art.

But if someone - ANYONE -with actual expertise/knowledge in doping in tennis came on this site to describe how and why Player A might be doping and with what substances, even when there was no actual evidence as yet that Player A was doing so, I would be more than happy to read their thoughts on the matter.

But so far, in all the years I have been coming to this site, that hasn’t happened. If it is that difficult for someone to describe how and why doping in professional tennis is so advantageous that a multi-million dollar player would be willing to risk his/her whole career and reputation to do so, it makes me doubt even further these annoying accusations.

Posted by ladyjulia 11/03/2010 at 07:45 PM

JK,

Just catching up on posts. +1000 to your posts too.

Posted by Sherlock 11/03/2010 at 07:46 PM

Oh, TheTruth, sorry. I should have also said that Alexis is a big Roger fan.

Kwaku, yeah. Dasco and Berdych both. Yikes. They look to be ready for a break. Can't say I blame them really.

Posted by Karly 11/03/2010 at 07:46 PM

Justine wouldnt quit tennis to avoid a doping ban. If she flagged a test, believe me, the powers that be wouldn't ALLOW her to just go away and then not publicize the positive test. I'm not so sure they would treat everyone the same, but if Belgian giant killer, Serena beater Justine failed a drug test, we ALL would know it and no quitting would make it go away. Press and certain factions LOVE LOVE LOVE to make this little gal the bad guy... a doping violation would drive them into feeding frenzy. She didn't test positive, the girl just quit. It's her right or anybody elses right to just quit something, there doesn't have to be a shady reason. Another reason to laugh at the specualtion she would dope is that if anybody had noticed, Justine Henin is a borderline hypochondriac about her health, every little sniffle and strain is a big deal to her, this is the last person on earth that's going to risk the body and mind damage that comes with doping. Lei Clijsters made his "accusations" when Justine was working with Pat Etcheberry and got the Etcheberry body, beacuse Etcheberry will work you to death in the gym, and yes if you work yourself to death in the gym you are going to build muscle. Yes it is possible to get some more muscle if you try really hard, and you don't have to take steroids to get it. It also happens that CLijsters made his accusations about the time Justine was rising one of the top players on the tour and kept BEATING HIS DAUGHTER in majors.... ya think a little jealousy might have influenced his comments? Gee, your daughter keeps getting outshined by her main rival in her country, go ahead and call her a cheater,, Mr Clijsters was eating the sour grapes if you ask me.

Here's a little snippet of an article from that time period:

But the 21-year-old, who had been concerned that her game was too lightweight to contend with the brutish power of the Williams sisters, has been working hard with physical trainer Pat Etcheberry, so much so that she was frequently in tears.

"It's just ridiculous, so petty. I would have preferred to have been welcomed differently, with talk about my performances," Henin-Hardenne said at Brussels airport. "I have never been tempted by doping. My only doping is work. I am ready to undergo whatever test, wherever, whenever, to prove that my body is clean," she said.

Her coach, Carlos Rodriguez, went on the counter-attack. He said that Clijsters camp was spreading rumours out of jealousy and frustration that both of Henin-Hardenne's Grand Slams - the first was the French Open - have been at the expense of their girl. Clijsters, the world No 1, is the only woman since the WTA introduced the rankings in 1975 to top the list without having won a Slam. Rodriguez said, "I swear on the heads of my two sons that Justine has never taken doping products."

It has been suggested that this new spat may have helped along by Henin-Hardenne refusing to play alongside Clijsters in the final of the Fed Cup this November."

You can see all the POLITICS involved in the Clijsters camp throwing out the doping card. And their ONLY so called evidence was that justine was bigger and stronger than she used to be. WEll duh, working out does that for you. All the Clijsters camp should be ashamed for doing what they did, it really soured me on Kim Clijsters as a player for a long time. And as you see, Kimmy C has only NICE things to say about Justine now, if she really thought Justine was a doper, she surely wouldn't have changed her tune so much?

I have to say too, the Justine allegation that was made has not been the most "Resonant" or "serious" allegatoin to ever be made, seems to me the Operation Peurta or whatever it's called deal with Nadal where his name was supposedloy on a list of athletes who went to a doping doctor is the most "serious and resonant"...

Posted by Parrot 11/03/2010 at 07:48 PM

"Did any journalist actually email him and find out if he has any evidence?"

Why should they, after what they read from C. Rochus? He actually spoke with a journalist while giving his lengthy interview. He neigher gave nor mentioned having any evidence, only factually incorrect accusations against Canas and slanderous innuendoes against Henin, Unknown Blooded Nose and practically everybody else.

There was his chance to speak up, yet he resorted to mudslinging. Unreliable source.

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 11/03/2010 at 07:49 PM

Well said, Mr Rick.

Posted by Carrie - Thanks for the memories Elena! 11/03/2010 at 07:51 PM

I am just curious- which sport has the "best" testing. I seem to recall that swimming is pretty strict- the days of the East German swimmers seem to be far in the past.

It would be neat if there could be a blood testing machine that all players would have to use every day which would automatically alert remotely the test ws taken.. I am thinking of something like what diabetics use to test for blood sugar. However of course- it could be easy to use someone else's blood. Maybe a blood testing machine that had Skype or facial recognition. Just throwing out random ideas...lol.

Posted by I Come From Anon 11/03/2010 at 07:52 PM

Pretty sad when a journalist who writes about a sport can't be bothered to get off his butt for six months to investigate what would probably his career story? Unless you're just pushing people to shut up about this problem because the ATP also fired a warning shot at you back in the old days when you cared about the sport and the livelihood that came with your job?

The following is from Pete Bodo before he sold his soul to the ATP:

"First of all, at this site I am a blogger—an opinion journalist and commentator. I have neither the mandate nor the responsibility to deal strictly and exclusively with facts and/or the thoughts or opinions of others about those facts.
...
But what are you going to do? Allow doping? Talk the talk, but look the other way as soon as there’s even a hint of a problem (as I believe the ATP and WTA have done for years)?
...
Trust me: Doping is a burning, omnipresent topic on the pro tour these days. I owe it to you to tackle it, and I am proud that as a blogger I can do that in a way that a newspaper reporter cannot.__
...
It's a different landscape now. You can read why and how this came about at this page of the ITF’s anti-doping website. __Is it mere coincidence that we’ve had a sudden explosion of positive tests? Why have the increasingly puzzling scheduling habits of so many players suddenly become front-burner issues? Draw back and look at this in perspective; it seems to me that we’re in the midst of an undeclared, unannounced shake-up.
...
Given the amount of time he’s had off and the fact that Nadal’s own doctor said in an official ATP press release that his foot is healed, I find his withdrawal from an event that will be without the defending champ, Safin, or Agassi, baffling.__Whether or not there's anything more to this story, I can't say. But I'm going to make a point in Australia to pin down some folks on some of the more compelling issues—like whether or not it's possible to duck out-of-competition testing by simply not answering the door when the testers come around."

Well, there you go. You can keep the sport alive for a few more years until a real journalist investigates and destroys it after everyone is disillusioned by physical miracles (seriously broken knees healing within months without actual rest??). Or, you can be who you used to be. Dig out that old courage from the closet and go find proof that the sport is or isn't as clean as people think. Of course Rochus wouldn't spend his time doing that, he's a tennis player. I wouldn't spend my months doing that; I'm a student. You, on the other hand, are a journalist. A sports journalist specializing in tennis. It's your job to find the stories, not just speculate on who's going to win what tournament at the same time every year. Good luck.

Posted by Karly 11/03/2010 at 07:53 PM

I want to make another point as well. ROchus actually never made an allegation that Henin doped. HE responded to a question from an interviewer who asked him if he heard the rumors. The interviewer was the one to bring her name in it looking for an allegation (which supports my theory that if Henin had failed a test, she woulnd't have been allowed to slink quietly into the sunset without being put on trial for it). He said he heard the rumors and thought it was strange that she quit so abruptly. That certainly falls short of an "allegation of doping".... He, being an ATP player really would have no ability to comment much on a WTA player doping, he never played agianst them, he didn't hang around in the locker with them, he had not so much contact with them. How can he even allege much about a female player anyway since he would spend so little time with them watching their behaviors on court or behind the scenes?

Posted by antoinette 11/03/2010 at 07:54 PM

Jumpin Jack. MN and TF..great posts.

I wish people would look past the personalities and focus on the issues....doping is an issue and it needs to be looked at seriously.

Posted by Mr Rick 11/03/2010 at 07:58 PM

antionette et al - okay can you just please elaborate what you mean by doping??????

can you name any doping substances, specific doping regimens, the tennis players who use the substances, anything????????

anything will do, really

Posted by BrooklynNY 11/03/2010 at 07:59 PM

Do we all also agree Agassi was doing something during his end of career run. "re-dedicating your life to fitness" at 30.. yeah, so did A-Rod, Barry Bonds, Marion Jones. 60% of your notable achievements occur in the last 4 yrs of your career. hmmmmmm

The time period is too permitting given the other events pertaining too PED use in the late 90s-early 00s. Lets not compare to Connors either, because the same people who will make that comparison are the same people who will write off Jimmy Connors for playing in a so-called 'weak era' #justsayin'

Posted by Nalby Fan 11/03/2010 at 07:59 PM

Wish we had something like this for Tennis. No interviews = no education.

http://cozybeehive.blogspot.com/2009/11/8-things-on-lance-armstrong-from-other.html

http://velocitynation.com/content/interviews/2009/michael-ashenden

Most people can learn about "doping" in general by simply reading the work done by Cycling journalists.

Posted by Tigress 11/03/2010 at 08:02 PM

I agree with the Nadal supporters who have defended him against dru-useg allegations. After all, nothing has been proved. Massive muscle gain and loss, and such things as sudden 10-15 m.p.h. serve speed gain at age 24 may seem strange to many. But again, nothing has yet been proved.

BTW, has there been any follow-up on the raid ATP investigators did on Spanish players during an ATP tournament 2 years ago?

A player of Nadal's popular appeal and calibre is of such economic value to Tennis etc. that no drug allegations will ever be proved in any case. Nor even properly investigated, by all odds.

Nothing will ever be "proved". In contrast to Fed, where the vey idea of allegations against a player of high ethics and sportsmanship would be inherently ludicrous and unbelievable, and properly laughed out of the forum.

Posted by Mr Rick 11/03/2010 at 08:04 PM

Nalby fan - cycling and tennis are of course two completely different sports - so I am just asking - futiley, I know - for any actual information about specific doping substances, doping protocols, etc. that a PROFESSIONAL TENNIS PLAYER might be using

Posted by Carrie - Thanks for the memories Elena! 11/03/2010 at 08:05 PM

For folks who are interested in an interesting disuccsion on PEDs in tennis that is not only about Rafa and Rafa fans but rather about doping as whole in tennis- I suggest taking a look at Concrete Elbow. Steve and Kamishdan have a good column there.

Posted by antoinette 11/03/2010 at 08:06 PM

@ Mr Rick

I am not an investigative journalist or a sportswriter, just a concerned fan who wants to see a clean sport so don't jump on me with the prove it or shut up gambit.

Posted by Mr Rick 11/03/2010 at 08:07 PM

Good Night, everyone, I give up...

Posted by Karly 11/03/2010 at 08:07 PM

Mr Rick.. the same doping techiques that have gotten attention of late for cyclists could be used by Tennis players. That is the use of EPO which I believe is very hard to test for and wasn't tested for until recently (and it requires a BLOOD TEST as does HGH), or the freezing of the players own blood for later injection in order to improve stamina and oxygenation and healing...

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne has 2 more days in jail,Vamos Wayne! 11/03/2010 at 08:07 PM

Welcome GB again as I thought you have died last night

Well said Mr Rick

Regarding allegations with anyone I am not against any testing what so ever

Though it amuses me a lot of posters are going on their observations with players?

Innocent until proved Guilty is my thoughts

By the way as a Rafa fan I have heard anything and everything with him

Rafa happens to have a body that is naturally muscular in the first instance and if one observes his family his uncle Migual at noted soccer player is of the same build.Rafa uses those bands which players and other athlets use for muscular condition.

Posted by lilscot 11/03/2010 at 08:09 PM

AM: 6:28 p.m.

Lol! I just read your post. That's too funny. I never read back upthread before I left my comment. Get out of my head! My mum always said, "great minds think alike, but fools seldom differ." :)

Posted by John 11/03/2010 at 08:11 PM

Ok, that's enough. If someone doesn't like Nadal because he is a great player and he can beat anyone, anytime and on any surface, try to pick another player for that kind of pathetic accusations
Remember, all of us can pick anyone to talk crap and maybe you wouldn't like too much

Posted by lilscot 11/03/2010 at 08:15 PM

Ruth: 7:03 p.m.

Lol! Hey, don't ever withdraw motherly advice. The world would be lost without our mums. My mum is my hero. :) I'm not 100% sure either if Pete was admitting shame in simply implying drug use in past articles, or if he was speaking to something more specific.

It was just refreshing to see him admit being ashamed of some of his work. In his profession far too many journalists put pen to paper without thinking things through, or investigating fully, and end up looking like a fool. Admitting that to all their readers is commendable.

Posted by ladyjulia 11/03/2010 at 08:17 PM

Nalby fan,

Thanks for that article that interviews Micheal Ashenden...its fascinating!

Posted by Tim 11/03/2010 at 08:17 PM
Posted by Enough 11/03/2010 at 08:18 PM

Oh please don't pull out the "you just don't like Nadal" crap. Take him out of it. There are issues at stake that need to be talked about.

Posted by Pierric Bross 11/03/2010 at 08:19 PM

Roger went 2004-2007 losing no more than 10 matches a year and making all 4 grand slam finals (exluding '05); yet Rafa, who is as of yet not even close to that kind of record (despite his other numerous achievements), is considered to be cheating. Furthermore, Nadal's rise to the top has been a slow improvement over time which a lot of these ppl saying that he's doping like to ignore.

Nadal won his first grand slam in '05, it wasn't until '08 that he won 2 grand slams in the same year. Then in '10 he won 3. Compare this to Federer, who won his first Grand Slam in '03, then won 3 grand slams the very next year.

I don't know a single person who would consider Federer to be a cheater, so why are people accusing Nadal of cheating just because he has a nice body? I bet if Nadal had a lean body like Feds, yet the same results, not a single person would be saying he is a cheater. I know a guy who has a nice body, he does commercials for those super protein shakes, but guess what, he doesn't use them, doesn't take steriods, he just works out a lot. I am shocked people think to have a great body you need to be on some kind of drug. 'you can't look as good as the people in the magazines because they all take drugs or starve themselves (if ur a woman)'. I'm sorry but it's the most rediculous thing I've ever heard. You can't play as good as Federer unless you take Steriods? lol

Posted by Nam1 11/03/2010 at 08:19 PM

so "bitching about testing" is evidence of doping;

I suppose Andy Murray is also doping?

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne has 2 more days in jail,Vamos Wayne! 11/03/2010 at 08:22 PM

I thought this post would go this way

Pity cause there have been some very good comments by posters

Posted by EN 11/03/2010 at 08:23 PM

You can try and discredit Rochus all you like. But he is only the LATEST in a list of players who have spoken out on the issue.
This is not just about Rochus.

Posted by lilscot 11/03/2010 at 08:25 PM

Include me in with people who said that recreational drug use should not be an issue when if comes to doping suspensions. Being almost 50, the 70s were my most influential period, if you know what I mean. And I don't recall any of the, um, party favours, enhancing anything. A lot of giggle fests, munchies, and the odd hallucination perhaps. But enhancement? Nah. Ah, good times...

Posted by ladyjulia 11/03/2010 at 08:27 PM

Nalby fan,

I thought I was done reading that Micheal Ashenden interview...I had no idea its a complete thesis. I think its longer than a thesis.

Ofcourse with a grand jury for a federal investigation, i am not surprised that there is so much of analysis.

Posted by Carrie - Thanks for the memories Elena! 11/03/2010 at 08:28 PM

liscot- hee hee.

The only rec drugs that help me in any sort of "sports performance" are three beers for bowling and darts. Before I kinda stink- during the third beer I am in the zone, and after four I am useless again.

Posted by John 11/03/2010 at 08:29 PM

Enough, what kind of issues at stake (crap) that need to be talked about?
Read the Pierric comments

Posted by TheTruth 11/03/2010 at 08:32 PM

Sleep well, Mr Rick.

In the morning, if you want more "evidence" (besides Odesnik, Canas, and Puerta, etc.) about why anybody should be concerned with doping in Tennis, see if you can push C.Rochus for more info.

Then request interviews with other players willing to talk about the issue ANONYMOUSLY (for your research purposes) and see what you get.

Fair enough?

Cyclist Contador would not have been caught had someone not been pissed enough and decided to provide info and pursue leads.

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