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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 11/04/2010 at 02:13 PM

New, drug-free thread up.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne has 2 more days in jail,Vamos Wayne! 11/04/2010 at 02:14 PM

Well done to Miss Krumm

Ana had a great win over Pavs too.

Posted by Sherlock 11/04/2010 at 02:16 PM

Colette, pfft. It just hasn't been tested yet. All the threads are juiced. :)

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne has 2 more days in jail,Vamos Wayne! 11/04/2010 at 02:19 PM

Sherlock Have you started cleaning your windows with Coka A Cola yet?

Posted by Colette 11/04/2010 at 02:23 PM

I think we need an investigation into juiced string.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne has 2 more days in jail,Vamos Wayne! 11/04/2010 at 02:24 PM

Colette lol!

May I nominate Tennis Roids

Posted by Mark 11/04/2010 at 02:25 PM

The most obvious sign of guilt... "you dont have any proof"

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/04/2010 at 02:27 PM

Hmm just making minor adjustment to my moniker I forget the date you Amercians are a day late behind us Aussies.Which figures.

Like everyone knows about Coke A Cola.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 11/04/2010 at 02:30 PM

actually in a court of law, not having any proof usually means you're innocent. Love the lynch mob mentality of some people here.

Posted by Mr Rick 11/04/2010 at 02:32 PM

Again, I think it simply is not fair or useful for posters to come on this site and make statements like "tennis player A is obviously doping" or "there is a big problem with doping in tennis and someone needs to do something about it" WITHOUT adding at least some actual details about the problem.

In my previous neighborhood, I could say without question that there was a big problem with illegal, recreational drug use. I could then follow that statement with myriad details about the specific types of drugs that were being sold, the various ways they were being used and when, the effects of the drugs on the users, the negative side effects, the people who sold the drugs and the people who bought the drugs, if the people were local or from another town or county, the times of day and week when drug traffic in the neighborhood was the most prevalent, etc., etc., etc. I could go around the neighborhood any time of day or night and find all manner of needles, pipes, empty rock crack bags and other drug paraphernalia. I could go on for pages and pages and pages about the problem. I could find numerous other people in my neighborhood who could add even more information. Our community police officers could also give information about recent drug activity and arrests in the neighborhood, etc., etc., etc.

So when people say there is a big problem with doping in tennis or there is a big problem with a particular tennis player doping, I don't think it is too much to ask for these people to also provide similar details. If they can’t, then I have a hard time believing their assertion that there is actually a problem.

Obviously, there is quite a bit of information on the internet and in the press in general about athletes in other sports who dope and exactly how and why they do it.

Where is this same level of detail about tennis and doping? A lot of people seem to care about it. There are hundreds of thousands of tennis players and coaches and trainers who would theoretically have information about it. Sports reporters don't make much money, especially tennis reporters, and would kill for a breaking story about it.

If people in the position to know are afraid to tell what they know, this site and the internet in general are ideal places to tell because it can be done anonymously.

If doping in tennis or in a particular tennis player is a big problem, by now I would expect the internet to be FULL of descriptions of what substances tennis players these days are taking and for what purpose, what the effects are, when and how they take them, where they obtain the substances, how the substances are administered and by whom, what are the effects and side effects, which substances are better to get by drug tests, etc., etc., etc.

There would be descriptions of specific plausible scenarios where a tennis player would want to dope, with descriptions of the specific substance(s) and doping protocol that would be most advantageous to that particular player during a particular time frame, etc. Does that player need endurance? What substances and protocols are best for that? Does the player need strength? What substances are best for that? What substances are contra-indicated if a player is recovering from injury or illness?

There are many considerations for each individual tennis player and where he/she is in his/her career. Why would a top 500, a top 100, a top 10 tennis player need/want to dope? Is it a problem just in the lower ranks of players or is it also in the top ranks? A young top 500 player may want to take the risk of doping because he/she needs to develop physically and has nothing yet to lose is a test turns out positive. An older player at the end of his/her career may also have nothing much to lose and will dope. For top players like Roger, Rafa, Andy and Novak in their prime perhaps the risk becomes greater than the benefit to dope.

A reporter is not going to waste their time reporting on doping if it is primarily a problem among unknown low ranked players.

In any case, if it is a problem on any level, lots of information about the current practice of doping in tennis, both for the top players and the ones on the bottom, should be out by now. But the information seems not be there. Why?

Posted by Colette 11/04/2010 at 02:35 PM

Andy takes it 63 64.

Posted by Fern 11/04/2010 at 02:39 PM

Andy Roddick has just beaten Golubev - quite an entertaining, if rapid, match. Golubev had some sharp volleys and a nice 1hbh - wouldn't have minded if he'd won, though i'd like to see Andy get to London.

Posted by Master Ace 11/04/2010 at 02:40 PM

Other than discussing the "potential" drug issue, could we move actual tennis action and other topics to Pete's thread for today?

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/04/2010 at 02:44 PM

Good win for Andy

Heather will be pleased

Master Ace Good thinking Ahhh f/hands I see my specialty

Posted by Chris 11/04/2010 at 02:47 PM

Other thread actually has something of an interesting discussion item.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/04/2010 at 02:47 PM

Mr Rick I have read your posts and I agree with everything you wrote.

Though for me I am going to move on.

Posted by Jackie 11/04/2010 at 02:52 PM

Hmmm.

Late to the "party" but had a few thoughts...

Agreed that it's irresponsible to accuse someone of doping without having proof - and certainly a person's muscularity hardly constitutes proof.

Still, it's a little naive to think that the sole culprits are those struggling in the lower ranks, desperate to move up. We have our Wayne Odesniks, but we also have our Lance Armstrongs.

And I might be in the minority, but I tend to give quite a bit of weight to these comments from players. They're in the best position to understand what goes on on the tour, no? And if not them, then it's certainly not us. Rochus didn't go about communicating his thoughts in the most prudent/effective way, but I don't know that this means we should discount those thoughts. Same for Nestor or whoever else has spoken out about it.

Er, sorry for dredging this up again, to everyone who's moved on. :)

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/04/2010 at 02:54 PM

Miss Jackie

You like everyone else has a right to comment and share your thoughts

Posted by Jackie 11/04/2010 at 02:54 PM

AM, if only I could do it in a timely fashion. :)

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/04/2010 at 02:55 PM

Miss Jackie

Another thought do you feel these lower ranked players could being having some "sour grape feelings" just my thoughts sometimes on things.

Posted by Heather 11/04/2010 at 02:57 PM

Good win for Andy! :)

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/04/2010 at 03:01 PM

Heather I was just saying you would be happy on one of my posts just above

Posted by Arun 11/04/2010 at 03:02 PM

Jackie, Annie: So where do we stand now? Is Nestor woefully ignorant or not? :D

Posted by Jackie 11/04/2010 at 03:04 PM

AM, sure. There's really no way for us to know what's motivating these folks to speak out. I wouldn't be surprised if that were a huge part of it.

But the fact that it hasn't *just* been said one or two times, by some struggling mid-card guy (wrestling jargon always seeps in), makes it harder for me to only attribute the accusations to that.

That, and the fact that some of these accusations have been substantiated, at least in other sports ... where we see that a top, elite player/athlete is in fact guilty of it (Lance again, Marion Jones, etc.).

Posted by Jackie 11/04/2010 at 03:06 PM

Er, my last comment didn't make much sense...

Arun! I'm the sole non-Canadian fan of Nestor, so I vote NAY. ;)

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/04/2010 at 03:08 PM

Jackie Point taken.We as fans only get information well lets say "in a second had way"

We really dont know what goes on.I suppose in ways we are just speckulating.

Though I always welcome any actual proof not "heresay" of course in any matter realating to all things important in our game.

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

Arun, it depends who he's accusing. :)

The thing I don't understand about the player comments is why say as much as they do and then stop? If you want to really change things, then go the Canseco route and name names. Otherwise, what's the point?

Posted by @work 11/04/2010 at 03:11 PM

AM,
I agree with you. I just can't put not even a bit of weight on allegations made with absolutely no proof to back them up.

And that is not being defensive or ignoring the drug problem in tennis and in sports in general.

I would suggest for anyone interested to check out Steve's thread and in particular Hart's comments on the challenges of drug testing.


Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/04/2010 at 03:11 PM

Arun Stop rocking the boat ok

Hmmm also lets not discuss cricket in any way shape or form


Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/04/2010 at 03:15 PM

work Thanks.I love Harts take on things also studying to be a doctor weighs well.Hart also made great comments when Rafa had "edema" in his knees.I had the same thing in both legs and made comments though I was glad to hear Harts take on things at the time and she agreed with my thoughts.I am a specialised mid wife though I have trained on other areas.

Posted by temes 11/04/2010 at 03:17 PM

Samantha, I was joking about Justine, I guess it came off wrong, like probably most of my posts LOL.

Posted by Sherlock 11/04/2010 at 03:17 PM

Hart's comments were great. The only bad thing is after reading that, it makes you realize how far there is to go. Realistically, is it even possible to have a truly clean sport of any kind anymore? I'm beginning to think not. Might as well make them legal and let the athletes roll the dice with their bodies as they see fit.

Posted by temes 11/04/2010 at 03:24 PM

"Very good point...but couldn't this comment apply to almost all the discussions at Tennis World, if not the entire internet?"


Pierre you are right about my point. Basically I meant that this whole discussion is not pointless as there's a lot of interesting stuff just that the baseless accusations and unsubstantiated rumors are not worth discussing. Though I guess it makes for some entertainment lol.

Posted by @work 11/04/2010 at 03:24 PM

Sherlock,
That's exactly what I thought.

Here we are (or some people are anyway) speculating about players doping because they are muscular, bald, acne prone, run like rabbits, you name it, and for all we know those who may least look or act the part may be the guilty ones.

I just don't think comments like Rochus' really help or add anything new.
I think most people believe and accept that there is drug use in tennis to varying degrees but unless someone can present clear proof how can we act as judges and juries of any player based solely on unsubstantiated accusations or physical appearance?

Posted by Eugene. 11/04/2010 at 03:30 PM

"Nadal called the revised rules “intolerable harassment.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/29/sports/tennis/29nadal.html

Why would this be so intolerable ?

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/04/2010 at 03:32 PM

I can assure everyone who has seen a photo of me Yes I still have Incredible Hair I dont take any peformance drugs.I built muscle the good old fashioned way through hard work at the gym.I havent the body type that easily builds muscle and thats a point most posters miss when they look at a players physique.

If they see a player with good muscle definition they think Ahhh he takes steriods etc.Blimey they forget their bodies are the type that can build muscle easy.

I wish people would take that important fact on board before that "point the finger"

Posted by Heather 11/04/2010 at 03:32 PM

I saw that, AM! Andy definitely needs these wins to qualify for London! Hopefully, he'll end the season strong. I have the day off from work tomorrow, I'm excited to be able to see some tennis!

Posted by Arun 11/04/2010 at 03:33 PM

AM: I promise. I don't want to discuss Cricket right now.
But Australia totally needs to hire a coach who can give them a crash-course on how to break the 9th wicket partnerships. :)

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/04/2010 at 03:39 PM

Arun Thats bloody cruel and you know it ok

They havent won a game on any bloody level since July

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Look I am desperate get Mr Cellphone back

I did mention I am Desperate!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by Jackie 11/04/2010 at 03:45 PM

But see, if he'd named names, wouldn't that have been worse in some ways? Like, if I were in that position (not that I'm anything like Rochus), I wouldn't want to ruin someone's life or open myself up to getting sued or whatnot, but I might still want more attention to be given to what I deem a serious problem. How else would one do that?

Why am I defending Christophe Rochus again? ;)

And with y'all on Hart's comments. In the words of gauloises, I want to eat her brain. :)

Posted by Sherlock 11/04/2010 at 03:56 PM

Jackie, I totally get what you're saying. I've tried to put myself in his shoes and picture what action I would take. If the situation really is as he infers, I guess I would find some of my "clean" friends on the tour and see if they were interested in raising a bit of a collective stink about the issue. No naming names in that case, but definitely throw out some specific things they'd seen. If a bunch of guys do it in a coordinated effort, the media storm would be enormous. But when Christophe addresses the situation as he did, a lot of people just kind of blow it off. That's the part that baffles me, I guess. And maybe he just doesn't think or care that much about it. But if he did, I can't imagine he concluded that the best course of action to really get the ball rolling was a few comments such as those.

Posted by Jackie 11/04/2010 at 04:02 PM

Sherlock, I hear ya. It does kinda come off as just petty, fruitless whining when it's done in this manner.

It's so weird, though, because when I first read it, my immediate reaction was, "GOOD FOR HIM!" And then when I realized that most others didn't agree with the sentiment, I worried that something was wrong with me. ;)

Posted by Sherlock 11/04/2010 at 04:09 PM

No, nothing wrong with you, Jax. :)

I'm all for players having the courage to come forward, so I do see that side of the situation. And if it really is prevalent, it certainly does take courage. The pressure to stay quiet and go along must be enormous.

Basically, I'm left feeling on the issue just as I did 2 days ago. I have no bloody idea, and it totally sucks not knowing. :)

Posted by Jackie 11/04/2010 at 04:15 PM

Sherlock, no kidding.

And there's SOME stuff wrong with me, come on. I like wrestling. :)

While I'd hate to do any damage to this sport I so love, I'd actually really be interested in investigating this whole thing (assuming, y'know, I could just leave my job and go gallivanting off on this mission ;)).

Posted by Jackie 11/04/2010 at 04:21 PM

Just checked out today's podcast. Good stuff, I thought - take a listen if you haven't yet.

Posted by Sherlock 11/04/2010 at 04:23 PM

"And there's SOME stuff wrong with me, come on. I like wrestling. :)"

Well, yeah, there is that, I guess. :)

But Mr. X loves you for it, so it can't be all bad. :)

Speaking of which, where has he been?

I think Pete needs to hire you for this mission. You can put on your deerstalker hat and sniff it out like my namesake. :)

Of course, the only real answer for any of this is for the researchers on the good side to get ahead of their opponents. Which, as Hart made very clear, means MASSIVE amounts of money. I wish I had a cool billion lying around. :)

Posted by Jackie 11/04/2010 at 04:27 PM

OMG, Mr. X. Where IS he?! I miss him... :(

Stupid money. And stupid lack of integrity in sports. I love that instead of counting on people to just, y'know, NOT do it, we instead need billions of dollars to resolve this. *grumble*

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/04/2010 at 04:35 PM

Well I love the Tour De France lets face it drugs have ruined that sport

Though I watch it year after year.Though Though sad to say I now wonder who is taking drugs when the cyclists cross the final line.

Pity

Mr X who knows living in Minion Land he has probably gone walk a bout there somewhere

Easy to get lost in Minion Land I think

Just finished reading Harts comments.Phew some thinking I am now doing

Need to find some Coke A Cola no I am not cleaning windows at the moment.

Posted by Sherlock 11/04/2010 at 04:35 PM

I hear that grumble and raise you one.

At least when I was a kid, we knew that athletes were only popping amphetamines or snorting coke. Life was somehow better then. :)

Posted by Jackie 11/04/2010 at 04:42 PM

I guess it's not just sport though, right? People everywhere do things to get ahead, even if it's illegal or offensive or unhealthy. Sigh.

What bad things you would or wouldn't do ... in the next Deuce Club. ;)

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/04/2010 at 04:48 PM

I think I will go to confession if I am to go to Deuce Club Post lol!

Posted by Sherlock 11/04/2010 at 04:49 PM

Nope, it's pretty much everywhere. Money, sex, power, fame...they make us do funny things. Though for me, money, power, and fame were never that tempting. Ahem. :)

*hands AM a Coke*

Hope you've recovered from Hart's post. :)

Posted by Andrew 11/04/2010 at 04:52 PM

Not wanting to interrupt any private conversations, or what have you, but there's a half decent scrap going on in Basel between Nieminenineninen and Djokovic. 5-5 in set 2, Djokovic up a set.

Posted by Master Ace 11/04/2010 at 04:54 PM

Andrew,
Think TW has moved to the Hall of Mirrors to escape the "potential" drug issue

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/04/2010 at 04:54 PM

Sherlock Hmmmm pass me another Coke and I will see

It has certainly got me thinking deeper about things.

Andrew Thanks for the updated score.

Posted by Jackie 11/04/2010 at 04:56 PM

HAHAHA, Sherlock! Naughty. ;)

AM, I was sort of joking on the topic idea, but now I think I wanna do it!

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/04/2010 at 04:57 PM

Master Ace Some posters are still discussing the drug issue on the new post by the way

I just raised the question I thought this post was about f/hands? lol!

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/04/2010 at 04:58 PM

Miss Jackie

Please make up your mind ok

My church only holds confession on some days

Posted by Master Ace 11/04/2010 at 05:00 PM

Aussiemarg,
Saw your question on the forehand thread but what do I know. LOL

Posted by Jackie 11/04/2010 at 05:01 PM

AM, guess you'll just have to stop by and see... ;)

Posted by sisu 11/04/2010 at 05:01 PM

Andrew, agree really good second set. Now 2 all, 2nd set TB.

Posted by Sherlock 11/04/2010 at 05:03 PM

Hi, Sisu! Hope you're feeling better. :)

Sounds like a good match. Sadly, it's time to get some work done. Life is so unfair. :)

Posted by sisu 11/04/2010 at 05:06 PM

Hi Sherlock! Better day, thanks. Back to work for you! ;))

They're both fighting very hard, with Nieminen up 6/4 with 2 set points!!

Be well!

Posted by Jackie 11/04/2010 at 05:07 PM

Later, Sherlock. Always good to chat. :)

Hey sisu! Both set points squandered...

Posted by sisu 11/04/2010 at 05:08 PM

And now Nole has match point. He looks sooo good. I think he likes this court! ;))

Posted by sisu 11/04/2010 at 05:10 PM

Hi Jackie! And Nole takes it - quite beautifully too. Happy for him. He looks really happy too. Nice to see him back.

Feel badly for Nieminen.

Posted by Fern 11/04/2010 at 05:14 PM

Djoko has just beaten Niemenen, he showed real firepower off both wings and remained focused ... which he needed to do as Jarkko also played very well. Some excellent tennis, probably the most competitive of the Basle matches i've seen today.

Posted by Colette 11/04/2010 at 05:18 PM

And in the battle of acne versus the unrealistically big muscles *wink wink*, Monfils defeats Wawrinka in Valencia.

Posted by ladyjulia 11/04/2010 at 05:23 PM

"Still, it's a little naive to think that the sole culprits are those struggling in the lower ranks, desperate to move up. We have our Wayne Odesniks, but we also have our Lance Armstrongs.

And I might be in the minority, but I tend to give quite a bit of weight to these comments from players. They're in the best position to understand what goes on on the tour, no? And if not them, then it's certainly not us. Rochus didn't go about communicating his thoughts in the most prudent/effective way, but I don't know that this means we should discount those thoughts. Same for Nestor or whoever else has spoken out about it."

+1000

Posted by Jackie 11/04/2010 at 05:29 PM

Thanks, ladyjulia. Everyone likes affirmation. ;)

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Dear Wayne is Free,VamosWayne 11/04/2010 at 05:51 PM

Colette Wink,wink back

Good win for Gael and I hope he can keep this play up in the DC.Seeing Tsonga is gone for the season.Gilles and Gasquet will be competing for the 2nd singles spot.I am hoping that France can win the DC this year

Posted by carol callahan 11/04/2010 at 06:08 PM

Let's not forget Boris Becker also stated tennis has to clean up the doping that goes on, way back when!

Posted by sfr 11/04/2010 at 08:00 PM

wjr, maybe you are the one that has to be more *weak up* just in case you would get a big surprise........

Posted by The Fan Child 11/04/2010 at 11:17 PM

I wonder if Rochus would be willing to elaborate, or is he done spewing venom?

This is a little bit off the subject, but I wonder if you gave several people PED's and several people a placebo, what the findings would be?

Posted by Nice try 11/04/2010 at 11:36 PM

Jim Courier, Fabrice Santoro, Nathalie Tauziat, Nicolas Escude, Mardy Fish, Andrew Ilie, Mahesh Bhupati, John McEnroe, and Mardy Fish were not "spewing venom".

Posted by Ruby 11/05/2010 at 02:21 AM

I'm sure if Tennis Roids saw me, he'd think I was using steroids, since I'm a woman who has muscles. In fact, a great number of people could look (and do look) like Sam Stosur or Rafa Nadal through the gym and diet alone. As someone who has seen MANY people who use steroids, it cracks me up to read about Nadal's "rippling muscles." Uh, no. That's not what serious anabolic steroid use looks like. Walk into a bodybuilding gym if you want to see "huge muscles"!

If you're going to have a serious discussion about PEDs in tennis, I think you have to talk about the drugs that are most likely being used: EPO, HGH, testosterone, clenbuterol, etcetera. These aren't drugs you "see" because someone happens to have bigger biceps. They're drugs any of the players might be using for endurance and recovery, which is probably where an elite tennis player could gain that tiny edge that makes the difference. (Strength alone doesn't seem that useful -- more muscular tennis players don't appear to do better; even Rafa's results improved when he leaned out a bit more).

My other comment is that I think tennis players and tennis fans really have to think about opening this can of worms, and what the result will be if "witch hunts" are started. PEDs are in all sports, but many have learned to look the other way. Cycling was ruined not so much by the drugs themselves -- which have a long and storied history in the grand tours -- but by an inadequate testing and litigation system that destroyed the lives of some while allowing others to do the same things and be lionized. The key thing, I think, is a level playing field. Either all the players are dirty or they're all clean. Unfortunately, the second is nearly impossible to achieve because with enough money, you can always stay one step ahead of the testing. Cycling, in trying to clean up the sport, has instead left the playing field more unfair (and less interesting) than ever. I worry what would happen if tennis goes down that road.

Posted by Ach jo 11/05/2010 at 04:01 AM

And this happens again and again....my post got deleted because I criticized Bodo too much. I have to say this is pretty annoying given the fact that I never swear or say anything close to what would be considered vulgar.
Basically I said that I wonder when Bodo's going to retire for the articles he's been producing recently are just simply bad. Pure writing, pure reasoning but above all totally partiality!
I guess this post will stay here until next morning for everybody in NY is asleep now.

For all the readers: read Tignor's blog, fantastic quality.

Posted by bobby 11/05/2010 at 10:03 AM

It shows the blatant ignorance of some people to actually believe that every performance enhancing drug will lead to bigger muscle.Bigger muscles are aided by anabolic steroids which will not help in stamina or endurance.It may help in body building.For sportsmen in endurance sports,it will not be of any help using anabolic steroids.It is erythripoietin or EPO based drugs which helps in endurance based sports.A sportsman taking EPO will look slim or normal,without any big muscles.So it is foolish to claim that every person who takes drugs should have big muscles.Actual culprit may escape suspicion by a layman just because he is slim or looking weak from outside.Other than that,some people maybe genetically predisposed to have bigger musculature.Baseless accusations on every good,successful,healthy and athletic individuals to drug abuse maybe just a reflection of envy on the part of disturbed ,jealous individuals.I think that it is best to ignore rantings by such disturbed individuals.We know from history,that in middle ages these kind of people burnt so many innocent people accusing them as witches without any proof.In civilized modern world a person is innocent until proven guilty.

Posted by Underspin 11/05/2010 at 11:47 AM

Agree with writer who commented on barely any mention of Serena wiliams. If we are going to go with pure speculation on looks, I too would speculate about Serena as much as those who make such unfounded accusations agAinst Rafa. Is it because she is the only successful American woman on the planet consistently capable of bringing back a trophy we can call our own?

Posted by jay 11/05/2010 at 04:36 PM

about recreational drugs..especially meth,as a regular user i can safely say that is is the one recreational drug that can definitely be performance enhancing
i mainly use it once a few months for sex parties as it absolutely amazing for sex,but the energy levels you get,the awareness and the confidence is unbelievable.the difference between crystal and other drugs like cocaine,extacy,ketamine,ghb etc is that you can actually do things on it,i.e go to work or live your life
the reason i say this is even after a comedown,i could go to the gym (after taking xanax to sleep) and run on the treadmill for an hour,at twice the speed i usually run at,get off and do it all over again without even thinking about it
i reckon you could win a slam on it,anyone who has taken meth before will know what i mean

Posted by Lynne 11/06/2010 at 02:59 AM

(also a Nadal fan but not the same Lynne as Nadalite!)
I love your writing, Pete, and for putting this in perspective. I prefer to focus on the positive, until there is real evidence otherwise.

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