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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 Nalby Fan 11/03/2010 at 08:32 PM

Mr. Rick,

I am stating that if the people are not being educated by the Sport about the doping policies, and WADA is not governed to educate the people either, we cannot be informed of the correct questions to ask. The best way to learn about doping right now, unfortunately, is to check out the Journos from other sports that DO ask the questions and DO investigate doping.

You can't blame the fans for being ignorant if the ITF/WADA and the Journos are not giving out any information when it is being done in other sports.

LA fans used to use the same speculative arguments you are using: blaming the fans for not being informed when the regulatory bodies and Journos weren't providing any information for their own protection. The information the fans now have in Cycling has empowered them to ask the questions rationally and be knowledgeable.

We are asking for someone to step forward and educate us on these matters in Tennis. You are using that same "Omerta" code that wills ignorance as a shielf against the ones who have a "fleeting glimpse", because they are ignorant. The system itself is responsible for that very same ignorance.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne has 2 more days in jail,Vamos Wayne! 11/03/2010 at 08:34 PM

May I say those Rec Drugs make me Sneeze if I have ever been around someone that is smoking them

Gee what a Great Druggie I would have made

I blame my allergies of course

I will just have to get my kicks out of washing my windows with Coke A Cola!

Posted by em 11/03/2010 at 08:35 PM

When you have a drug testing system that is so simple to get around, you would have to be naive to think someone wouldn't be taking advantage of that. Many people.
And when you have a system that has no transparency, you can understand why fans will wonder.
Fix both those and I will stop wondering if when I'm watching a long five setter which both players playing amazing strong tennis at the end, I'm not watching "wrestling".

Posted by JumpinJack 11/03/2010 at 08:36 PM

To people who think that no player who was caught positive would be allowed to just 'retire' for a period of time by the authorities instead of being named and shamed there is one big example from tennis - andre agassi.

Im not saying the ATP or WTA do cover up drugs tests, and demand people retire or sit out periods with 'injuries' or publicly acceptable excuse for them not being on the tour. But I would not be surprised to learn that they do so.
Imagine what a controversy any high profile testing positive would be! The press questions, the articles about doping that would appear, the added difficulties of finding sponsorship (which is already hard for some tournaments),the complications of rewriting the historical records (do we remove player a as the winner of the grand slam and give the runner-up the trophy? do we leave records the same and said player is still the winner for posterity??), the negative effect such a positive result would have on tennis' seemingly never ending attempt to get new fans.
All these factors could weigh heavily on any corporation deciding on wether to be open and therefore lose their reputation, or to be discreet and get the player of the tour but with no bad press.
Cycling has more positive tests then most other sports it would seem, yet its reputation is that of a sport mired in doping, so in effect they are punished for publising their positive tests. Would it not be tempting for any organisation to want to avoid such complications? It would not surprise me if this is so.

Posted by d 11/03/2010 at 08:38 PM


what a dreary, predictable excuse for an article. why belittle Rochus, comparing him to a terrier, ridiculing his record, and insinuating that he's so starved for attention that he just made this up? what trenchant, witty observations, as you sit back and really say, "gee, don't rock the boat, all of us in the pro tennis world have it pretty good. and I'm no hero, and don't want to be, so please just shut up."

why make this about him at all? why not instead assume that he's onto something, and that maybe the sport is not as clean as it should be? why assume that the ITF authorities are doing a good job? isn't that sort of like assuming that the bank execs were carefully regulating themselves in the early 2000's? why assume that there's a smallish, ultimately unimportant doping problem? everyone talks about the way the new technology has changed the sport, increased power, spin, etc .. wouldn't it make sense to assume that technological advances also extend to the human side as well? and that there might be more money behind doping and gaming the system than there is behind testing?

my assumptions are different than yours: that the sport is significantly dirty, that there are top ten players cheating, and that there has been a Grand Slam decided by dope in the last five years. and that furthermore, the ITF would probably sooner cover that up than expose it, since there's so much money involved. after all, look at the way they reacted when their marquee attraction Serena threatened the life of a linesperson (didn't you poo-poo that also)?

I don't know if my assumptions are right, and you don't know whether yours (doping is no big deal, and Rochus is an attention hog with nothing) are right either. the difference is that yours get you off the hook, let you sit back and write your wry little comments and make insights about forehands and footwork, instead of checking this out and finding out whether the sport we all love is actually rotten to the core.

if you had nothing better to offer than this sorry, apologist, shoot the messenger drivel, maybe you should have been the one to "shut your piehole".

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 11/03/2010 at 08:39 PM

@The Truth: I am not a Fed KAD. If you want to call me a KAD, look up Venus and Serena, 2 players who have borne the stint of allegations of doping from the first day they took up a racquet.

I want transparency in doping. I want the governing bodies to be more forthcoming in revealing their doping tests.

Last season Wickmayer and Malisse were suspended for failing to show up under the Tour's whereabouts rule. That suspension was subsequently overturned on what I view as spurious grounds. Both players are still playing and there are crickets chirping as to what will happen to those 2 cases. That is what I am talking about when I speak about transparency. Everything gets swept under the rug until memories lapse and everyone forgets.

Posted by Texastennis 11/03/2010 at 08:51 PM

JK - I wrote a post giving you +1000 but it either didn't post or was moderated for an illchosen verb (despite no baiting, no allegations against specific players etc -)

MA - JK - the tennis steroids site amidst the hysterical accusations based on appearance does have some solid info and did post the ITF report on 2009 tests - an eyeopener. Such an opener that the ITF took it down immediately.

And I agree that the players who complain about testing (Nadal, Murray, Wickmayer and others) would do better to support a better testing system - not because complaining means they're guilty but because it undermines the rhetoric of a sportwide commitment to being ped free. (Not the only thing that does that of course...)
There's no need for baseless allegations against individuals which are irresponsible and often ill informed - but there's plenty of need for clearer policy and some skeptical coverage of the policy by the media.

Pete's position is lamentable - I imagine it took JK no longer than five minutes to write her list of questions but no tennis journalist has time for that alas. Amazing.

Posted by Carrie - Thanks for the memories Elena! 11/03/2010 at 08:54 PM

The Truth- the Canas case has been discussed several times on this thread. Have your read the ITF briefing on his case. He was found to not have any intent- and in fact the documentation showed that it was a tournament doctor/pharmacist error. See Ruth's 7:21. His was aunique case and while you can feel free to do so- I do not feel that he belongs in the same category as Odesnik.

But this talk of Canas- and Coria does bring up something that I brought up in Steve's thread. I think the lack of transparency in the whole kit and kaboodle regarding testing also allows for the postive tests and results to be pulled out for players who come from certain countries or are smaller names from larger countries. During the whole Canas/Coria era there was much mud slinging about how Argies must all be dopers. Some- Puerta- sure. Others granted did have failed tests but imo had true evidence to show there was no intent. Coria has essentially been cleared in that regard- starting when he was still playing and sadly the final clearance was after he retired in terms of the court settlement. Yes- Argentina is a tennis country but its federation can be fragmented. It may be easier to pull a postive test in a non-transparant system from a player from certain countries than from others where the federations are stronger (France, Spain, US, etc.) This may be paranoid ranting- but I do think that one of the best things about tranparancey is that testing and punishments would be fairer regardless of how famous a player is or what country they happen to be from.

Posted by ladyjulia 11/03/2010 at 08:58 PM

This is an excerpt from the link that Nalby fan linked about Micheal Anderson..the scientist who developed one of the homologus doping tests. Its an interesting paragraph from someone who develops tests to catch dopers:

"Something that sits at the forefront of my mind, a discussion that I had with a group of cyclists, I'm not going to say who they were, and I said to them, "Look, guys, if you tell me what you're doing, I don't need names, so I can go away, develop that test, and come back here and remove that particular doping problem once and for all."

And their response is still a guiding light to me. They said, "If you can come back to us with a test that captures everyone so that we can all stop, you can expect us to support it. But if you come back with a test that only captures a quarter of the people, and those quarter are punished but then they're replaced by another quarter and the problem keeps going, don't expect us to support it. Because you're destroying careers and families and livelihoods, and you're not getting rid of the problem." And I've always held that as an ultimate goal.

That's why I was particularly proud of our homologous test, because there is no way you can get away with homologous doping now if you're tested. It's as simple as that. I believe that the incidence of homologous doping is virtually zero. I think the only time an athlete would get caught now is if they've made a mistake and put someone else's blood in them when they thought they were putting their own.

And that's the sort of strategy that I think if the scientific world can come to athletes and say, "Here, this is a test that will stop doping," I think the athletes will support it 100% and I'd expect them to. And until the scientists can come to the athletes with that argument, we're forever in this grey area where "We'll get some of ya, and we sort of wish you'd help us catch some of ya", and on a personal level I can see that's just doesn't comply with human nature. We're asking the athletes to do something which, I don't think if I were in their position I would do either.

Which is to say, you talk about the Simeoni's and people who speak out, overnight they virtually, well they do jeopardize their career, and perhaps they even destroy it. And what has it achieved? Some could say it has raised awareness, but has it changed anything? And that's an incredibly hard choice for us to foist upon an athlete, to say, "We want you to be brave, stand up in the media, tell us that you doped, tell us who else doped, and we'll publicize that story." Now, the athlete could do that, next day, particularly with this omerta in cycling, the guy's going to be out of a job, he's gonna be ostracized from his friends and his peers, and a week later that newspaper is fish wrappings, and nothing's changed. That's the sort of humane perspective that I always try to keep with me, and as I've said before, it doesn't show usually, because I'm being drawn into these polar arguments of yes and no, right or wrong."

Posted by Texastennis 11/03/2010 at 08:58 PM

Let me just ditto re the excellent discussion by Tignor & co on his blog linked to in the right hand column here - very substantive effort to grasp the situation honestly without irresponsible allegations against individuals. I bet it didn't take him six months of investigative journalism either:-)

Posted by TheTruth 11/03/2010 at 09:01 PM

You may not be a Fed KAD, Jamaica Karen, but a strong sympathizer, I gather.

And well said about doping issues being swept under the rug. The excuses players give when busted - from kissing coke-high party girls (Gasquet), to eating bad meat (Contador) - says they think us all to be idiots. And sure they can throw enough dust in our eyes, and muddy the testing waters bad enough to sow doubts about their guilt.

Posted by Carrie - Thanks for the memories Elena! 11/03/2010 at 09:04 PM

Am I the only one who thinks that Gasquet may have been telling the truth? lol. And that was a rec drug anyway which right or wrong I file in a different category than PEDs.

Posted by Or 11/03/2010 at 09:04 PM

Frankly, I believe there is so much stuff which are known on tour that we aren't privey to which would boggle our head.

Lets say that a couple of years ago, an Israeli journalist friend of mine blurted in a tennis chat room, while we were scoreboarding a Shahar Match at 3 AM or so, a story one of the Israeli players told him, regarding a how a fellow player which we all know (Top 20 in the past) sold and gambled on games. I won't give the name of the players, because I don't want to hurt my journalist friend, who had the confidence of the tennis player who told him.

So yeah, I believe there are things which are very well known yet rarely discusssed. If this is so for Gambling, it can be so for doping.

Posted by JumpinJack 11/03/2010 at 09:07 PM

Thanks for that quote! That is very interesting!

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 11/03/2010 at 09:08 PM

TT, I did not see your +1,000 but thanks for that and FYI it took me about 2 minutes to type my list of questions. There would have been more but I had to pause and take a call - LOL

@The Truth - sympathizer with Fed. Hmm, nope I am a big fan of the man. Love his game. Hope to see him play live someday at Wimbledon. I have my Wimbledon shirt and I intend to get it autographed. I came to the game through Venus and Serena but I do appreciate Federer and what he has brought to the game.

I also appreciate what Nadal has done to draw people to the sport as well and I am very disappointed with the level of discussion that has ensued. We should not make this doping discussion be about personalities but about where the game is going. We need to know that our governing bodies are doing their jobs.

As someone who is from Jamaica and whose athletes are constantly under the spotlight, we hope and pray every day that Usain, Veronica and all our other Olympic athletes are performing clean. I can tell you without reservation that if any of them were found to be competing dirty, the whole Jamaica, both resident and those who are in the diaspora would condemn them . They would not be able to call themselves Jamaicans again.

Think I am crazy. Lawrence Rowe was one of the greatest cricketers that West Indies cricket ever had. In the 1970 or 80s during the height of apartheid, he along with several other cricketers decided to take money and play in what was called a Rebel Tour down in South Africa. None of those players, even though they contributed to some of the greatest feats of cricketing prowess ever seen, were never able to wear the colours of West Indian cricket again. They went to their graves with that etched on their foreheads.

I can tell you that the glory brought to the Caribbean by our Jamaican athletes filled the whole Caribbean community with awe. They are not only Jamaican ambassadors they are Caricom ambassadors. If they fall, we all as a people fall.

Posted by BrooklynNY 11/03/2010 at 09:10 PM

People also said Jose Canseco was a complete moron when he originally spoke up about PED use.

Sooner than later, It seemed as though Canseco was the only credible source.

Posted by lilscot 11/03/2010 at 09:14 PM

Carrie: 8:28 p.m.

I once blacked out in a snowbank when it was about -20 and when I started waking up I thought I was home in my bed and couldn't figure out why I was so cold. Then when I finally opened my eyes my two best friends were standing over me laughing their heads off!

Now, with a few glasses of wine and my Wii tennis I'm better than Rafa! That's my kind of enhancement.

In all seriousness though, I totally agree with the idea that this issue needs to be further investigated and talked about. The only thing I wish people wouldn't do is point fingers at specific players without proof.

Other than that, it should be an on-going conversation because that's the only way to remain vigilant in trying to keep the sport as clean as possible. I doublt we'll ever be able to stay 100% ahead of the offenders because technology and science change so rapidly. Cheaters somehow always find a way to cheat.

Posted by TheTruth 11/03/2010 at 09:22 PM

Carrie - Canas' case may be an exception, but if the wrongly prescribed blood pressure medicine or whatever nutritional supplement was found to be the culprit, why wouldn't the ITF totally throw out the charge, but still insist on him serving part of his "sentence?" If I recall correctly he set out for 2years?

Doesn't add up to me.

I just saw an interesting piece by ladyjulia (above) about a so-called "homologous" test that is supposed to do a better job of catching dopers. Somebody tell that to the ITF, please.

Posted by Nalby Fan 11/03/2010 at 09:25 PM


Excellent!! There is an article on Game Theory from the LA Times that further goes into why the "Omerta" cannot be broken, as the system currently set up cannot fully do the job, and the competition is too fierce:

Nash Equilibrium, The Omerta Rule and Doping in Cycling

Also, I want to commend Steve Tignor on his excellent article today! :) This is what I want to read. We just want the truth or even a decent attempt to get the truth.

Posted by ladyjulia 11/03/2010 at 09:29 PM


The "homologous" test is for detecting blood transfusions...its quite dangerous and has severe effects. I doubt in this age of synthetic proteins and molecules, any athlete undergoes transfusions.

In cycling, someone may still risk their health...but there is no way that athlete can test negative for that.

In tennis, I don't think its relevant. Ofcourse, I don't know really. But EPO is safer and easier to use. Doubt if someone will risk their health when something easier is available. Ofcourse, cycling is more endurance sport...but EPO effects last for weeks and its not beneficial for just mountain racing.

That article also says that testers are about nine years (I don't know how they came up with that number) behind compared to what the athletes are actually using. Tennis ofcourse, must be even more since it dosen't even test for HGH yet.

If it wasn't for Australian custom officials, we probably would never believe that a tennis player would be carrying 7 or 8 vials of HGH.

Posted by Texastennis 11/03/2010 at 09:30 PM

Carrie - agree on the rec drugs not mattering re sports, and journos are all too willing to write about that which distracts attention from the real problem. And most of us seem to agree that transparency would bring many benefits.

Gasquet - I believe there was some truth to what he said. I'm willing to believe he was at a club partying and hanging out with girl(s) who were doing coke - and that he kissed one of them:-) I don't doubt though that he tested positive because he did it too, even "just a bit." Agassi was hanging out with a guy doing drugs who no doubt altered his own drinks with various substances. He tested positive because of what he did though, not from what his buddy did. Very similar lines. These guys explained in a way that does relate to what they were in fact doing with a twist that the review panel found plausible (however implausibly ...).

But as various amusing posts tonight indicate, anybody who's done a rec drug knows they don't help you be a better athlete:-) Let's move on from being shocked that athletes are real people with real problems and/or youthful indiscretions who might have experimented with rec drugs, and focus on the real problem, sports wise.

Posted by Tom in Smalltown 11/03/2010 at 09:30 PM

It seems to me that Rochus has shot his mouth off in the past. Therefore, I just shrugged off his comments.

Posted by GB 11/03/2010 at 09:32 PM


Ladyjulia's article seemed to indicate that homologous doping is pretty much obsolete now (given that there is a reliable testing method). I believe that, prior to the development of the test for plastic residue that was used in the Tour de France but is still not approved as a means of establishing guilt (as it is yet to be proven 100% effective), there was no way to test for doping with your own blood.

Posted by Nalby Fan 11/03/2010 at 09:33 PM

Here's the interesting part of the "Game Theory" article that applies to all sports. It also demonstrates how a "Landis" or "Rochus" would be the ones to break the "Omerta" (code of silence):

"It’s a good thing for Landis that the penalty for an omerta rule violation in sports is not what it is in the Mafia, or else he’d be the Luca Brasi of cycling and sleeping with the fishes. Why did Landis break the code of silence?

The answer to this question, along with the larger question of why athletes dope, comes from game theory and something called Nash equilibrium, discovered by the Nobel Prize-winning mathematician John Nash (of Beautiful Mind fame), in which two or more players in a contest reach an equilibrium where neither one has anything to gain by unilaterally changing strategies. If each player has selected a tactic such that no player can benefit by changing tactics while the other players hold to their plans, then that particular arrangement of strategy choices is said to have reached a point of equilibrium.

Here’s how it works in sports. The point of an athletic contest is to win, and players will do whatever they can to achieve victory, which is why well-defined and strictly enforced rules are the sine qua non of all sports. The rules clearly prohibit the use of PEDs, but because the drugs are extremely effective and the payoffs for success are so high, and because most of the drugs are difficult if not impossible to detect, or the tests can be beat with countermeasures, or the governing body of the sport itself doesn’t fully support a comprehensive anti-doping testing program (as in the case of Major League Baseball and the National Football League), the incentive to dope is powerful. Once a few elite athletes in a sport defect to gain an advantage over their competitors, they too must defect (even if they only think others are doping), leading to a cascade of defection down through the ranks.

If everyone is doping there is equilibrium if and only if everyone has something to lose by violating the tacit omerta agreement. Disequilibriums can arise when not everyone is doping, or when the drug testers begin to catch up with the drug takers, or when some cheaters have nothing to lose and possibly something to gain by turning state’s evidence.

Which brings us back to Floyd Landis and Lance Armstrong, who for a decade have been in a state of relative Nash equilibrium. But when Landis lost his savings, his home, his marriage, and his livelihood, he reached a state of disequilibrium, and when he was turned down from even riding in the Tour of California after, according to Armstrong, making threats to the race organizers to let him in “or else,” he apparently decided to make good on his threat.

There is nothing more important for a sporting organization to do than to enforce the rules. If you don’t, athletes will cheat. Anyone who believes otherwise does not understand sports or human nature. As Landis explained in his confessional: “I don’t feel guilty at all about having doped. I did what I did because that’s what we [cyclists] did and it was a choice I had to make after 10 years or 12 years of hard work to get there, and that was a decision I had to make to make the next step. My choices were, do it and see if I can win, or don’t do it and I tell people I just don’t want to do that, and I decided to do it.”

The only hope of salvaging professional sports is to change the game matrix. To that end I have five recommendations:

-Immunity for all athletes pre-2010. Since the entire system is corrupt and most competitors have been doping, it accomplishes nothing to strip the winner of his title after the fact when it is almost certain that the runners’ up were also doping. Immunity will enable retired athletes to work with governing bodies and anti-doping agencies for improving the anti-doping system.
-Increase the number of competitors tested, in competition, out-of-competition, and especially immediately before or after a race to prevent counter-measures from being employed. Sport sanctioning bodies should create a baseline biological profile on each athlete before the season begins to allow for proper comparison of unusual spikes in performance in competition.
-An X-Prize type reward to increase the incentive of anti-doping scientists to develop new tests for presently undetectable doping agents, in order to equalize the incentive for drug testers to that of drug takers.
-Increase substantially the penalty for getting caught. A 50-game ban on Manny Ramirez last year was a joke. No Major League player will take that seriously as a deterrent. Professional cycling has a two-year ban, which is a good start. But it’s not enough.
-A return of all salary paid and prize monies earned by the convicted athlete to the team and/or its sponsors and investors, and extensive team testing of their own athletes.

Cycling is ahead of all other sports in implementing these and other preventative measures, and still some doping goes on, so vigilance is the watchword for fairness along with freedom.

Posted by ladyjulia 11/03/2010 at 09:41 PM

Nalby fan,

I don't know where you found those interesting articles. They are great!

Regarding cycling, I will first wait and see the conclusion of the federal investigation. Then we will know the impact it has had on cycling as a sport.

Posted by ladyjulia 11/03/2010 at 09:44 PM

"An X-Prize type reward to increase the incentive of anti-doping scientists to develop new tests for presently undetectable doping agents, in order to equalize the incentive for drug testers to that of drug takers."

This I think will help a lot.

Posted by TheTruth 11/03/2010 at 09:46 PM

@ladyjulia - Thanks for the further insights on the testing methods. Seems to come back to the transparency and random testing twin solutions to this problem.

@Jamaica Karen - I was very IMPRESSED especially with Usain Bolt's accomplishments at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Totally otherworldly! Very upstanding of you to say you'd be the first to condemn him if he's tainted with PEDs.

@re: Gasquet and the kiss-coke-infection (lol). Yes, recreational drugs should not be on the same level as actual PED's. But didn't someone (Agassi?) once say that a COKE HIGH might be construed to be unfair advantage since I hear it makes people HIGH on CONFIDENCE (extra ADRENALINE, maybe?) - you know, like how a typical scrawny, unstable drunk person would dare Mike Tyson into a boxing ring with him? Laugh-worthy, I know, but just throwing it out there!

Posted by Tigress 11/03/2010 at 10:24 PM

It is so sad and unfair for Federer and other honorable honest players that some other players are very possibly taking drugs and gaining an unfair advantage, and that the ATP is doing nothing about it for purely commercial reasons.

Maybe Fed's final Grand Slam Record should be marked with a Reverse Asterisk (<*****). That he would have won more except for competitors who may well have been cheating by taking enhanced-performance drugs--and thus illegitimately took some away from him that he would have won otherwise.

Posted by tennis roids 11/03/2010 at 10:30 PM

I'll keep my response to Mr. Bodo simple. One time, a long time ago, when you weren't so ashamed (way back in 2006), you said you were going to actually ask a tough question. Let's review what you said way back when:

"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."

Now, Mr. Bodo, did you ever ask anyone the question? I doubt it, but if you had you would have discovered something I discovered a few years later. The players can skip out when the out-of-competition tester come. Half the players on the tour missed one of their two out-of-competition drug tests in 2009 (including Mr. Nadal). That is not speculation. It is a fact, proven on my website (linked here) for all to see. You can view the document in question here:
Now, how hard would it be for you to ask the ITF why half the players missed one of their out-of-competition tests and none of the players who missed a test had to get a second test that year. It seems like a perfectly fair question. I tried to ask them, but they no longer return my e-mails. Don't you find all this unusual? I certainly do. Now, that document is a fact, but here is some speculation - The players know when they are about to have a test and they disappear if they are going to test positive. That seems to be fairly obvious. There is a solution there, too, Mr. Bodo. Ask the players who missed those tests why they missed them. I'd like to know and I've tried to ask them, but they also don't return my e-mails. Until that time, it is really difficult to take your fluff pieces seriously.

Posted by Christopher 11/03/2010 at 10:35 PM

I don't know what exactly to make of Rochus's allegations. As noted, he doesn't provide proof. At the same time, this is just the kind of smoke that has so clearly been shown to come from fire in all other sports.

I do think Pete's nasty comments about Rochus's size, etc. are inexcusably petty and frankly far below what a journalist of his stature should be writing, even on a blog.

Posted by Sherlock 11/03/2010 at 10:48 PM

Tigress, if Roger has been using steroids, does Rafa get a couple reverse asterisks as well? :)

Posted by Tuulia 11/03/2010 at 10:59 PM

Someone mentioned earlier how someone who has bigger, more obvious muscles such as Monfils (sorry, Gael, nothing wrong with having a nice body... plus I find it weird that it's somehow suspicious that a top athlete HAS muscles... wouldn't it be rather suspicious if he or she didn't? lol) doesn't get accused while Rafa does, and that it has to do with ranking... well, could be that, too, but I suspect possibly a bigger reason is that Gael hasn't been beating Roger at regular basis. It's been obvious for years that some Roger fans are very bitter about their guy not winning everything under the sun, not being able to handle many important defeats to one guy, and so resorting to the only the only possible explanation they can think of... after all, it was surely impossible that anyone could constantly beat their perfect player fairly.

It's a shame since Roger seems like a decent enough guy himself, and many of his fans seem nice, too, but oh well...

Apart from baseless insinuations and accusations, there have been lot's of interesting discussion here and in the other thread. Rochus didn't really say anything of susbstance, but the issue itself needs to be addressed anyway.

Posted by Tuulia 11/03/2010 at 11:01 PM

Sherlock :)

Posted by Sherlock 11/03/2010 at 11:10 PM

"plus I find it weird that it's somehow suspicious that a top athlete HAS muscles... wouldn't it be rather suspicious if he or she didn't?"

Lol, Tuulia. Excellent point. :)

Some really great posts here today on this quite fascinating topic. TheTruth, Ladyjulia, Nalby Fan, Karen, on and on. Good stuff from, almost, everyone. :)

Btw, Hart has a great post over on Steve's thread. Interesting stuff.

Posted by tennis roids 11/03/2010 at 11:13 PM

Tuulia and Sherlock,
Re: Monfils
Have you ever been to my blog?

Posted by George 11/03/2010 at 11:15 PM

I have thought for years that Nadal is doping. If think everybody does. I was just in Italy and took a lesson with a teaching pro. I was asking him about the players he enjoyed watching. His english was not the best so when I mentioned Nadal he acted out shooting steriods. They should do more to protect the game from steriods.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 11/03/2010 at 11:16 PM

You guys think Michelangelo's "David" was juicing? 'Cus he's got more muscles than Rafa. The very idea that having a muscular build means you're doping is laughable.

NalbyFan: your 9:33 was very educational. thank you.

Now I'm going to read Steve's article.

Posted by wjr 11/03/2010 at 11:16 PM

i told you all..... nadal,s on steroids. i bet my life savings............

Posted by dr,no 11/03/2010 at 11:17 PM

i totally agree, test him in person.....

Posted by sfr 11/03/2010 at 11:18 PM

wjr, I bet my life savings that you are a Federer KAD

Posted by Nalby Fan 11/03/2010 at 11:21 PM

Tennis Roids wrote:

"The players know when they are about to have a test and they disappear if they are going to test positive. That seems to be fairly obvious. There is a solution there, too, Mr. Bodo. Ask the players who missed those tests why they missed them. I'd like to know and I've tried to ask them, but they also don't return my e-mails."

I thought this would be interesting. It's again from Cycling (Lance Armstrong employee who sued him in 2004), but describes how the employee was instructed to help Lance avoid taking a Drug Test he would've failed while pretending Lance was "home" to be safe on the whereabouts rule; but not available. It shows how Mr. Bodo was right about athletes not answering the door back in 2006. Too bad he didn't follow up on it since he was correct back then about the modus operandi:

"22. After Lance Armstrong won the Tour de France in July 2004, Anderson was involved in an incident where he concluded that Armstrong was trying to avoid taking a random drug test.

Anderson received a telephone call from Derek Russey, who was frantically trying to locate Lance Armstrong. Russey told Anderson that inspectors from WADA/USADA had come to Lance Armstrong's house in Dripping Springs to administer a random test. At the time Anderson received this telephone call from Russey, Anderson thought that Lance Armstrong was at home and was surprised to hear that he had left without telling anyone, especially Anderson.

Russey told Anderson that Lance Armstrong was required to notify the inspectors before traveling and that failure to do so would result in an automatic positive drug test.

23. On information and belief, what happened next was that efforts were made to locate Lance Armstrong's friend John Korioth with the idea of trying to fool the inspectors into believing that Lance Armstrong was actually home. John Korioth was supposed to go retrieve Lance's Suburban
from the airport and drive past the inspectors, who were then waiting at the edge of Lance Armstrong's property after being told to leave by Derek Russey. Anderson was on his way to Lance Armstrong's house in Dripping Springs when this occurred.

Anderson was asked to look out for the inspectors who were in a white SUV. Anderson passed the WADA/USADA inspectors, in a white SUV a few miles from the house. They were leaving. Anderson told Derek what he saw. Anderson never heard anything else about the incident."

Posted by Sherlock 11/03/2010 at 11:24 PM

What's so funny is that Rafa and Monfils aren't even that muscular when compared to some football players. Ever heard of Herschel Walker? Bo Jackson? Guys make Rafa look like a string bean. And they were that way quite young.

Posted by Carrie 11/03/2010 at 11:34 PM

Sherlock- very true. LeBron James as well when he was young.

When I was 16 I dated a male gymnast who was my age (oh happy times). He was clean and was quite built. So the this guy has muscles at age 17 means he must be doping theory does not fly with me. There is something called puberty that can also aid in the process.

And I again- I find it most interesting that some folks here just want this to be about accusing Nadal without actual reak evidence and don't seem to want to discuss tennis is a whole and how to make testing better. It seems to me that for some it is more about jabbing at a player rather than making sure the sport is clean and well tested.

Posted by temes 11/03/2010 at 11:36 PM

I think Venus is not happy that Richard gave all the roids to Serena.

Posted by tennis roids 11/03/2010 at 11:36 PM

Are you referring to "pre-shame" Peter Bodo, who accused Nadal as noted above? I only reprinted what he said.

Posted by Tuulia 11/03/2010 at 11:37 PM

"Ever heard of Herschel Walker? Bo Jackson?"

Eeh, no.

tennis roids: no, I was talking about places such as this site. And in any case I think both those guys have simply the kinds of bodies I'd expect top athletes to have.

Posted by Sherlock 11/03/2010 at 11:39 PM

Good call, Carrie.

Tennis roids, do you think LeBron was juicing at age 18? :)

Posted by tennis roids 11/03/2010 at 11:41 PM

Do you ever wonder why players from the 70's weren't built at all like today's players? They even used heavier racquets. Look at old pictures of Arthur Ashe, Borg, McEnroe, etc.

Posted by sfr 11/03/2010 at 11:43 PM

hummm, today Federer had done 5 unforced errors during the 60 minutes match, it seems weird:-)

Honesty, this thread and some comments are a joke
Wanted tennis experts and no more KADS!

Posted by Tuulia 11/03/2010 at 11:43 PM

Carrie - exactly, for a lot of people it's not about the sport, really, and that tends to harm these discussions

Posted by tennis roids 11/03/2010 at 11:45 PM

I think that is quite obvious, actually.

Posted by Carrie 11/03/2010 at 11:45 PM

tennis roids- I am referring to a number of posters here who are only talking about Nadal. And by the way- I also commented on the original postings that Peter did back in the day (I can't recall if my handle was CB or Carrie at the time when he was talking about Argies and Nadal.) If I did not agree with Peter at the time of his original post- why would I do an about face several years later and suddenly agree with his original post that was an accusation based on conjecture and not evidence. I had my beliefs then and now for a reason and the evidence has not changed.

I am all for making testing as strong and transparent as possible. That is a separate issue.

Posted by Tuulia 11/03/2010 at 11:46 PM

tennis roids - I don't. The game was different, too. Off to check out the other thread before bed...

Posted by Carrie 11/03/2010 at 11:51 PM

Re players in the 1970s. well Vilas if I recall had a pretty muscular body. Boris Becker when he was a teenager was quite built- 1980s I know. Also- remember too that at that time players were not in sleeveless shirts.

Posted by Sherlock 11/03/2010 at 11:53 PM

Roids, I figured you'd say that about LeBron. Wow. :)

Lol, Temes. :)

Posted by sfr 11/03/2010 at 11:53 PM

And meanwhile Nadal will continue beating Federer and been #1, some posters here will be only talking about him, lol

Posted by Carrie 11/03/2010 at 11:53 PM

And also different game, different style. There is a bigger focus on fitness in general in the game. The days of going out to party at Studio 54 during a tournament are over.

Posted by tennis roids 11/03/2010 at 11:55 PM

I would compare it to people who only want to talk about Lance Armstrong in cycling. Nadal's the number one player. A lot of people are mad that he appears to be getting away with something and have a hard time focusing on other players (at least on the male side). If you walk into a bar or restaurant with a tennis match on and say "Rafael Nadal is doping" you are going to get a reaction, just as you would if you yelled "Lance Armstrong is a doper" during the Tour. If you yell "Gael Monfils" is a doper (particularly in the U.S.), you are going to get a bunch of confused people wondering "Who is she?" People are focused on top players who appear to be doping.

Posted by tennis roids 11/03/2010 at 11:56 PM

Thanks folks,
Feel free to check out my website (linked to my name) for more info about doping and tennis.

Posted by NP 11/03/2010 at 11:59 PM

Lock, LeMoron is no Kobe. 21 pts, 6 rebounds and 8 assists in ONE half, baby. Yeah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by sfr 11/04/2010 at 12:02 AM

tennis roid, I don't remember when Federer was #1 if someone said he was doping, then from who are coming these pathetics comments?..... from the ex #1 KADS. They are hopeless

Posted by Carrie 11/04/2010 at 12:03 AM

tennis roids- you really think LeBron is a doper too? Can't anyone have muscles anymore? And it can happen at a young age. See swimmers,gymnists a number of high school football players, some male ballet dancers and dancers in other disciplines, and teens involved in manual labor.

I mean not to sound creepy but young Amish and Mennonite men tend to have very defined bodies since they do a lot of manual labor. Is Lancaster County, Pennsylvania a haven of PEDS?

Posted by Sherlock 11/04/2010 at 12:03 AM

It's 'cause Kobe is juicing!!! :)

Hey, LeBron turned me into a Kobe fan. I hope the Lakers destroy the Heat come June. :)

Posted by tennis muse 11/04/2010 at 12:05 AM

I would be delighted if someone would do the research and find other players with as much doping evidence against them as Nadal. That would make the issue more clear and less emotional. But the fact is, it is hard to find any athlete in any sport whose performance swings, style of play, and physical characteristics scream "doper" like Nadal. When I was looking up info about the performance timelime (28 titles for Nadal in March through July and only 4 in August through February) I tried to find other athletes with similar baffling cycles in performance, but at least in tennis, I don't think there are any. I'm sure there are other users in tennis, but besides Sam Stosur, I don't think any of them are anywhere near as "in-your-face" as Nadal.

Posted by NP 11/04/2010 at 12:06 AM

Lock, what makes you think the Heat will get past the Celts?

Posted by Carrie 11/04/2010 at 12:07 AM

Since basketball talk is on the board- and this kind of relates to tennis- there is a great article on Joakim Noah in this week's Sports Illustrated (the one with the Giants on the cover). It mentions Yannick a bit- and how his attitude and over for a haven win times were rough helped Joakim stick it out and work through the tough times.

Posted by Sherlock 11/04/2010 at 12:07 AM

Carrie, he he. I've never personally seen a barn raising, but this give it a whole new meaning. Some of those juiced-up Amish boys can probably lift the barn by themselves. :)

Posted by Sherlock 11/04/2010 at 12:12 AM

Tennis muse, yeah, aside from March through July comprising the entire clay and grass seasons, I can't explain it either. :)

Posted by Sherlock 11/04/2010 at 12:12 AM

NP, I hope they don't, but just in case. :)

Posted by sfr 11/04/2010 at 12:13 AM

tennis muse, don't you know what the words "trauma and paranoia" mean?

Posted by Tuulia 11/04/2010 at 12:13 AM

tennis roids - you replied to a completely different thing than what Carrie was saying, and I presume you did it on purpose... oh well. *shrug* As for "appears" and "info" I guess that's pretty subjective. :)

'night all.

Posted by Sherlock 11/04/2010 at 12:16 AM

'Night, Tuulia. :)

Posted by Tuulia 11/04/2010 at 12:16 AM

sfr , lol

Posted by NP 11/04/2010 at 12:19 AM

Lock, I'm really torn between Boston and Miami. The 1st Kobe-LeBron postseason matchup--in the finals, no less!--will be sweet, but having Kobe and Shaq go at it might be even sweeter. Anyway it's a win-win situation for Kobe.

Posted by An Old Man 11/04/2010 at 12:21 AM

The Nadal serving issue. When that increase in speed occurred I immediately thought sure: the change in grip towards the eastern with the same service action made him hit the ball flatter. Thus more speed. I always noted how extreme Nadal's service grip was and how much spin he therefore got. No need to speculate about steroids, etc. re this.

Posted by Carrie 11/04/2010 at 12:21 AM

Sherlock- yes. Isn't hard courts supposed to be Rafa's worst surface. And the other swing where he has won the most has his two best.

And what about reaching 21 straight Master's quarterfinals before this year in Shanghai. Master's across the calender year. And what about reaching the finals at tournaments through the years such as Chennai, Doha, Bercy, etc. that fall into those months that are not part of March through July? It is not like he is losing in the first round of tournaments.

Posted by Sherlock 11/04/2010 at 12:22 AM

I'd love to see Kobe light him up in the finals. But yes, the Lakers will get a beat up opponent no matter who it is.

Part of me hopes it's not the Celtics. Watching a tired Grandpa Allen clang dozens of 3's off the rim is not something I want to see again. :)

Posted by Carrie 11/04/2010 at 12:23 AM

Good night Tuuila.

Posted by Sherlock 11/04/2010 at 12:25 AM

Carrie, exactly. Well said. When Rafa's "inconsistency" is supposed to be part of one's argument, there are problems. :)

Posted by Sherlock 11/04/2010 at 12:26 AM

LeBron's "what should I do?" commercial. Ugh. Just shut up, dude.

On that note, goodnight, Carrie, NP, and other Twibers. :)

Posted by NP 11/04/2010 at 12:29 AM

Beat-up opponent? The Kobies barely eked it out last season! I think you rather underestimate Boston's chances, Lock.

In fact I'd rather have LA face Miami than Boston. The Boston D is still the best in the league, and with Shaq in the lineup LA might not have a decisive size advantage anymore.

Posted by Carrie 11/04/2010 at 12:33 AM

Goodnight Sherlock and others. This have been peaceful and moderate at work but are going to start to swing back up in intensity (ack!) starting tomorrow with some planning meetings so I best go to bed as well.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne has 2 more days in jail,Vamos Wayne! 11/04/2010 at 12:35 AM

Hmmm and Hmmmmmm

JK I agree with your thoughts.

I repeat again posters are making allegations on players Physical Apperences in relation to taking Steriods

I take offence to Rafa and I see Sam Stosur well I was waiting for the remark to come out.

If anyone really knows the true story of Sam Stosur and what she went through after contating Lyme Disease they would zip their mouths.

Sam has always been a woman with upper body muscle if they Ever took notice of her to start with the same goes with Rafa.I know some posters cannot understand this at all.

I have followed Rafa from day 1 and he has always had that type of Physicque.

Sam after recovering from Lyme Disease worked hard in the gym and to get her all round strength back.Some people Never get over Lyme Disease to start with.

Though again I welcome testing.

Quite frankly this post has turned into a fan based biased.

Apparently if you are tall and thin you are Steriod free?

Dont judge a book by its Cover springs to my mind

Posted by thaspFan 11/04/2010 at 12:36 AM

Mr. Bodo
why do you keep shouting that there are no big players doping in tennis?
there is a lot of evidence that Mr. THASP has alredy posted here lke this link-
but you still saying that tennis testing is hard but it isn't
is true you're a cheerleader
i guess you say all this because:
1 you need to say this to keep your job
2 you're stupid

Posted by someguy 11/04/2010 at 12:41 AM

Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne has 2 more days in jail,Vamos Wayne!
wrong, nadal was really skinny so i guess you're liying about following him since "day 1",r:5,s:0
nadal since "day 1"

Posted by NP 11/04/2010 at 12:42 AM

The Kobies are being too generous. There's nothing wrong with holding on to a 20-pt lead.

Posted by NP 11/04/2010 at 12:43 AM

Lamar you rock!!!!!!!

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne has 2 more days in jail,Vamos Wayne! 11/04/2010 at 12:44 AM

NP Have you a link to the game pls

I need something to change this subject and who mucked up this post?

Posted by A_gallivant 11/04/2010 at 12:45 AM

Jamaican Karen, your first post is wonderful. While I agree with Pete's sentiments about Rochus's claim, I found his dismissal of the question of doping in tennis quite disturbing. How can you call yourself a journalist and give yourself this convenient out: "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."

Really? Are those the people who typically break stories about any industry, the folks who run the joint and the folks do research? I thought it was often a curious journalist on an insatiable hunt for the truth or a whistle blower. Pete, I've always respected your posts because you have been around the game for a long time and I expect you to see aspects of it that I do not, but I found your position on this issue lazy and disheartening.

I'm not expecting an authority on the subject, no journalist is, but I should hope that if you are covering a sport and there have been casual claims and one explicit case recently, a journalist worth their weight in gold might say: to heck with all the rumors, I'm going to try to get to the bottom of this doping business. Sure you may not want to spend 6 months wasting your own time on the issue, but it sounds as if you think it would even be a waste of time for someone to even try.

By the way, why is it impossible to imagine "a kind of conspiracy of silence" amongst the players? It's clear that the administrators you speak of have told Rochus to stop his comments in the past, maybe other players feel as if their voices would be silenced as well. It's not wholly inconceivable. In many ways, I count on journalists to investigate and reveal what’s happening behind the scenes. I don’t expect an insider to risk dissension and punishment by being a lone whistle blower, I thought that was your job.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne has 2 more days in jail,Vamos Wayne! 11/04/2010 at 12:47 AM

Of course I am a liar and I need glasses and I am a cheater cause I follow Rafa

Thanks for stuffing up this post

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Flavia and Gisela YEC Doubles Champion and Winner of 7 Titles in 2010) 11/04/2010 at 12:47 AM

Hi everyone

I haven't read all the posts but the player Rochus was talking about who went to the toilet was Gasquet.

Also Odesnik won the match at RG against Canas.

I am all naming players if they are caught with any drugs in their system. But the punishment has got to fit the crime. Hingis two year ban was ridiculous.

Posted by NP 11/04/2010 at 12:48 AM

AM, the game's on ESPN right now, so you might wanna check your TV 1st.

Let me know if you don't see it.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne has 2 more days in jail,Vamos Wayne! 11/04/2010 at 12:49 AM

If you notice Rafa's upper body structure you will know what I mean

Of course he didnt have the muscle content at that age

Goodness sakes he was a mere teenager


Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne has 2 more days in jail,Vamos Wayne! 11/04/2010 at 12:49 AM

NP Thanks I will check my tv

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne has 2 more days in jail,Vamos Wayne! 11/04/2010 at 12:52 AM

NP No it isnt

Just give me updates of the score pls

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 11/04/2010 at 12:53 AM

tennismuse: actually, nothing, nothing about Nadal screams, or even whispers "doping." Not a pimple on his body. No acne at all. No excessive body hair. No aggressive behavior. You are basing your paranoid knee jerk assertions on his biceps. He gets tested all the time. And not urine tests but blood tests. Have you ever seen his training regimen? Why don't you educate yourself and look at the numerous videos. then maybe you'll STFU.

Posted by someguy 11/04/2010 at 12:54 AM

Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne has 2 more days in jail,Vamos Wayne!

but even whit a "big" structure
how can you get those muscles?
federer also has a "big" structure but he is skinny as a little kid
and no you're not a cheater because of following nadal
you're a nadaltard
tennis players are doping specially rafael nadal

Posted by NP 11/04/2010 at 12:56 AM

AM, the Kobies are leading 96-84 in the 4th Q. Kobe just got back from the bench and is on the verge of a triple-double.

Posted by NP 11/04/2010 at 12:56 AM

Oops, must have missed a rebound. Kobe's already got a triple-double, the 17th in his career.

Posted by someguy 11/04/2010 at 12:58 AM

oh and nadal doesn't get "tested all the time"
he misses out of competition tests
and do you think this workout gives those biceps, not even 1 pound of weight
aggressive behavior: VAMOS!

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