Monday, February 7, 2011

The Curious Case of Rafael Nadal

Regular followers of this blog will be familiar with much of the material in this post, which I am creating to use as a reference, documenting some the absurd drama of Rafael Nadal, as he battles dubious injuries and follows these up with amazing performances and a near Grand Slam. It is no secret that the opinion of this blog is that Nadal is benefiting from the use of performance enhancing drugs. This post will serve as a review of some the evidence, speculation and rumors over the past few years related to Nadal and doping. Please let me know of any omissions or errors. Sincerely, THASP

Many have suspected Nadal over the years for the simple reason that he came on the scene and quickly established himself as the biggest, strongest and fastest, but paradoxically, also a player with amazing stamina. His doctor describes him as "a very special athlete, with abnormal amounts of energy and explosiveness. He mixes the explosive pace of a 200-meter runner with the resistance of a marathon runner." Many find his doctor's assessment of this as natural, especially in an athlete who rarely lifts weights by his own admission, to be a little too fantastical. This includes some sportswriters, who began to take notice of Nadal’s suspiciously muscular frame and propensity to phantom injuries allowing him to miss lesser tournaments (often a sign of an athlete who is doping and cycles to prepare primarily for bigger competitions) at least as early as ’06, when Pete Bodo discussed the possibility in Jan ’06, effectively accusing him of exaggerating an injury and suggesting the possibility that he and other players might be skipping doping tests (something that was confirmed by this blog a few years later).
Later in 2006, the Spanish doping scandal known as Operacion Puerto uncovered widespread blood doping, spearheaded by a Spanish doctor, Eufemio Fuentes. Initially, this was assumed only to involve cyclists. However, a French newspaper stated that athletes in other sports were also on the list of athletes receiving Fuentes’ services, including some top Spanish soccer players and Rafael Nadal.
Nadal, of course, denied any involvement, and Spanish sports authorities denied any non-cyclists were involved (something proven to be a lie now that Operation Galgo [Greyhound] has opened up). To this day, the full list of atheletes' names connected to Operacion Puerto has been sealed by a Spanish judge, which is consistent with the Spanish attitude towards doping spanning back at least to the Barcelona Olympics in 1992 and continuing on to the present.
Rumors of Nadal using steroids heated up again with Nadal’s impressive 2008, culminating in his epic victory over Federer at Wimbledon. This victory raised at least a few eyebrows, not the least of which was ESPN sportscaster skip Bayless, who suggested that steroids might have played a role.
Nadal went on to a victory at the Olympics that year, before succumbing to Murray at the U.S. Open and his game went downhill from there, eventually ending with a “knee injury” described as “tendonitis” and withdrawing (to boos) after losing the first set to Nikolay Davydenko at the Paribas Masters, followed by a withdrawal from Davis Cup at year’s end.
In 2009, the ITF finally signed on with WADA and it was expected that players would now be subject to stricter testing, including more unannounced out-of-competition tests (by most accounts, testing had been quite lax up to that point, as this blog has documented). No one complained more loudly about this than Rafael Nadal. Nonetheless, Nadal performed well on the court and also seemed to have no particular difficulty with his knees on his way to an Australian Open victory over Federer that had many wondering again about doping, especially because the victory came on the heels of an exhausting five set, five hour semifinal match with Fernando Verdasco, that most observers felt would be too difficult to overcome so soon before the final.
His performance began to dip in the next few tournaments, with Nadal showing more of the usual sportsmanship, calling a trainer during a loss to Murray and again citing knee problems, once again without limping. This time the problem was diagnosed as a “strained ligament”. In other words, a completely separate knee problem from the “tendonitis” he cited at the end of 2008, as Nadal was quick to point out to the press. Nadal then skipped the Barclay tournament to “recover”.
In any case, whatever treatment he received was amazingly effective, as a few weeks later he was back on the court beating Janko Tipsarivic in a Davis Cup match, then winning Indian Wells. A loss in Miami to Juan Del Potro, was followed by Nadal waltzing through the clay court season leading up to the French Open by winning Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Rome, before being upset by Federer in Madrid and then being shocked by Soderling at the French Open. Shortly before the French Open, presumably while home in Mallorca on May 18th, Nadal was given an out of competition drug test according to ITF records (these records do not tell whether a player tested positive or negative). While he doesn’t refer to his own test, Nadal openly complains about drug testing in tennis while he is at the French Open ten days later (enough time for him to be made aware of the result). He boldly suggests that he might miss his next drug test and one might wonder whether something about that drug test distracted him during the French Open. As usual, though, Nadal cites knee problems (harking back to tendonitis) and thus effectively chalks up his French Open loss to bad knees, watering down any glory for Soderling. He then withdraws from the Queen’s Club event. It is also worth noting that in the same rant in which he complains about drug testing, he appears to invent an absurd defense for Richard Gasquet’s positive cocaine test, offering hypothetically that someone could get a positive test like that just from kissing a girl at a party who had used cocaine. Amazingly, Gasquet runs with it and goes on to successfully use this absurd defense to end his suspension.
Around this time, rumors were swirling that Nadal had failed a drug test and was not going to be able to participate in Wimbledon (these rumors continue to this day). During the same time period, as promised, Nadal missed his drug test scheduled for June 14th. Thus, despite all his complaining, Nadal only received one out of competition drug test in all of 2009 according to ITF statistics (It should be noted that the ITF accidentally released their drug testing document before erasing the incidents of players missing tests and this blog was able to make a copy before it was removed from their website that is available here . It should also be noted that several other players missed tests, including the Williams sisters right before their impressive performance at Wimbledon and Roger Federer). Apparently one out-of-competition drug test during an entire year, in exchange for tens of millions of dollars in prize and endorsement money was more than Nadal could endure.
Shortly after skipping the test, we were treated to the spectacle of Nadal entering an exhibition tournament (where there would be no drug testing and presumably no restrictions for a suspended player if he was indeed silently suspended). After the usual histrionic grunts and grimaces in a loss to Stanislaus Wawrinka, Nadal informed the world that his “tendonitis” would force him out of defending his Wimbledon title in 2009.
By this point, non-astute sportscasters, who had naively provided accolades throughout these so-called injuries, either holding him up for his courage in completing the match or for his graciousness in defeat after withdrawing, were now saying that Nadal’s “knee problems” were taking a toll on him and his career might be coming to a close. A month later, Nadal was “bravely” back on the court, competing reasonably well, although not spectacularly, but was thumped twice by Juan Del Potro, first at the Rogers Cup, then in the semifinals of the U.S. Open. This time, he courageously admitted that he was battling an “abdominal injury.”
He finished off the year with a drubbing in the World Tour Finals, in which he didn’t win a match, adding more naïve speculation that his career was coming to a close due to “injuries”.
It is difficult to fully evaluate Nadal’s 2009 without knowing whether the rumor of a positive drug test is true. It also is not clear whether he would have been able to receive PRP treatments with a Therapeutic Use Exemption, which might explain why he would be so clear in stating that his "injury" against Murray was a strained ligament, rather than tendonitis, which would allow a separate round of treatments. In any case, this brings us to the farcical year of 2010…

Nadal played well in the warm-ups leading up to the 2010 Australian Open, but begins to fade there. – He gets down 2 sets and is losing the third in the quarterfinals with Andy Murray, before showing more courage and sportsmanship and withdrawing from the match. The diagnosis again being knee problems, with his doctors prescribing a whopping 2 weeks rest. Nadal also adds some drama and sportsmanship in March in a loss to Andy Roddick at the Sony Ericsson in Miami, at one point slapping at his knees and reportedly saying in Spanish, "I can't! The knee... The knee!", only later to fist pump on one leg in no apparent discomfort. At some point shortly after this, Nadal begins receiving “PRP” treatments (Platelet Rich Plasma therapy) for his knee “tendonitis.” PRP treatment involves removing blood and “enriching” it so that it is in a highly-concentrated platelet form. Platelets are a part of the blood that contains numerous growth factors and are involved in healing, so the theory behind it is more rapid healing. Whether such a procedure has any real effect is the subject of much debate. More importantly, though, it is controversial for use with athletes due to the potential doping effects of the growth factors, which include IGF-1, a high potency muscle building growth factor. In 2010, PRP was allowed by declaration (no TUE was needed) for joints, so the treatments could be delivered only for joints and tendons, but not intramuscularly without a TUE. One of the leading proponents of PRP therapy, who pushed strongly for removing any ban of its use with professional athletes, was a Dr. Mikel Sanchez, who just happens to be the doctor who performed the procedure on Nadal.
Dr. Sanchez has written numerous articles, studies and case reports related to the benefits of PRP. These studies have received some criticism for the “lack of details concerning methodology, outcomes, and follow-up.”
In fact, other independent researchers find PRP little more effective than an injection of saltwater (It might also be worth noting that Dr. Sanchez has a strong financial interest in this "technology," as he admits here: "As you probable are aware, we have been working with plasma rich in growth factors (PRGF®), the pioneer in autologous technologies, for more than a decade. Our first publication dates back to 2003 and PRGF® is one of the products, if not the product, that has been characterized more extensively in the literature, both clinically and biologically." It might also be noted that Dr. Sanchez was personally involved in getting this special treatment approved for Rafael Nadal, as he discusses in the same blog posting: "PRPs cannot be used in muscle injuries, but its use in tendinopathies is allowed after completing a TUE (Therapeutic Use Exemption) document. In fact, some representatives of the spanish anti-doping agency and the spanish olympic committee visited Dr. Eduardo Anitua´s research center in Vitoria, and granted us permission to use this treatment in this particular athlete [Nada]").
Over the past year, it has come out that this procedure is often used to mask doping. For example, recent revelations from the ongoing Spanish doping investigation known as Operation Galgo (Greyhound), show that the doctors involved were instructing athletes to fake joint injuries so that steroids could be injected intra-articularly.
Hopefully, more details will come out as Operation Galgo (Greyhound) continues. In the United States, PRP and doping were also linked when a Canadian doctor, Tony Galea, who performed the procedure on Tiger Woods, Dara Torres and many unnamed NBA players, was caught smuggling growth hormone into the country, presumably to “augment” the treatment in at least some of the athletes in question. Dr. Galea is also still under investigation.
From what can be gathered in press reports, it appears Nadal received PRP treatment at least 3 times in 2010. One of the treatments was during the clay court season, right after Monte Carlo. Nadal claimed he only received a treatment at that time in his left knee, but “didn’t have time” to get one in his right knee. This, of course, is puzzling, since one might wonder why it would take longer to treat two knees at the same time and why he would simply leave one knee untreated. One possible explanation is that Nadal needed an excuse to get multiple PRP treatments, assuming the treatments were directly or indirectly providing some performance enhancement. That way, he can get double the treatments by alternating each knee (Dr. Sanchez insists that, "In our opinion a chronic tendinopathy must be treated with two or three consecutive infiltrations.")
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“I’m a little bit scared about the knee,’ Nadal said, and this time, he meant the right one.“
To hammer his point home, Nadal presented another theatrical display of good sportsmanship and drama in a match against Philipp Petzschner (no stranger to dodging drug tests himself ). Nadal won, 6-4, 4-6, 6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-3, but, much to the dismay of Petzschner (who later said that he thought Nadal looked like he could have run for 3 more sets), Nadal called for the trainer on numerous occasions and received quite a bit of illegal coaching from his coach/uncle, making sure that everyone knew that he had another knee problem.
Apparently, his fears were unfounded, as he went on to win Wimbledon, and was now fully set up to receive his next “treatment” before The U.S. Open, skipping Davis Cup to make sure that he was in “good health”.
Nadal then received another PRP treatment prior to the hard courts and went on to win the U.S. Open. Nadal’s performance was quite impressive, particularly his serve, which suddenly had gained 10 mph from what it was just weeks before. This was quite surprising to the broadcasters, who brought a sheepish Nadal on the air to explain this amazing transformation in his serve. Nadal chalked it up to a simple change in his grip. This obviously seemed dubious to John McEnroe, who later surmised that Nadal must have been secretly working on this new serve “for years” before unveiling it at the U.S. Open. One might wonder whether McEnroe considered another possible explanation in line with a similar improvement seen in the home run hitting of Barry Bonds, but, if so, he never went there.
As one might predict, his performance drifted for most of the rest of the year, treating us to a bonus “shoulder tendonitis” claim in dodging the Paris Masters in November (just before ironically winning the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship award), before another speedy healing in time for the World Tour Finals where he lost in the finals to Federer. To cap off 2010, Nadal wins the Laureus "Sportsman of the Year".

2011 is shaping up to be even more farcical for Nadal. His performance in the lead up to the Australian Open was hampered by what he described as a “flu”, although without any of the usual symptoms (cough, congestion, fever, sore throat muscle aches, etc.) other than fatigue during matches which might make one wonder whether he was actually lacking some stamina enhancing supplements.
Although he won his early matches in the Australian Open, his performance seemed a bit flat, which he attributed to the lingering “flu.” In his quarterfinal match with countryman David Ferrer, we got to see another example of his courageous, Stefan-Edberg-like sportsmanship as he struggled with an apparent hamstring injury, grimacing in pain as he extended his leg and taking trips to the locker room to wrap his left hamstring, while losing in straight sets.
Inexplicably, we are later informed that an exceptionally precise MRI performed by his personal physician indicated an adductor longus “rupture” of his right leg. This, of course, is perplexing, since it was his left hamstring that was apparently injured and this is a right groin muscle. We are also told that they expected this “rupture,” supposedly visible on an MRI, will be fully healed in an astonishing 10 days. What makes this more interesting is the fact that intramuscular injections for muscle tears have just this year no longer required a TUE. Anyone that doubted Nadal's incredible capacity for healing from injuries, take note that Nadal was cured in only 8 days from his "rupture," although it again became a hamstring injury, and he resumed training.

While some might question the diagnoses and treatments of Nadal by his personal physician, Dr. Angel Cortorro, and Dr. Sanchez, who performed the PRP, it should be noted that aiding players in doping has now been made against the law in Spain, so they would be risking a lot if they are not on the up. Whatever the truth, it seems likely that another round of PRP, this time intramuscularly, will be given to Nadal as the year unfolds, with more “injuries” between amazing performances.
To be continued…

Ah yes, let's fast forward to Wimbledon, 2011, in which Nadal feigns back to back injuries. The first fake injury occurred in his match with Gilles Muller:
After the match, he said: "I felt the leg was a little bit more tired than usual. I called the trainer for that. Today I'm still feeling it a little bit, but this is not limiting my game. I can play without problems."
He was keen to explain that, despite him touching his knee at times, the problem was a muscular one rather than related to that potentially troublesome joint.
Despite Nadal's inexplicable improvement in his serve over the past year (inexplicable by natural means, that is), he has still not learned the art of faking an injury. It is interesting that he makes sure to tell us again that this fake injury was to his muscle rather than his knee, probably because he wants to get his performance enhancing PRP intramuscularly. If there was any doubt about that, Nadal clarified it for us quickly, claiming that he was going to take some time off in his doping-friendly nation of Spain, on the doping-friendly island of Mallorca, where he planned to take a month off.
That would be enough BS for most dishonest athletes for one tournament, but Nadal decided to double-down and fake yet another injury in his next match with Juan Del Potro. In this case, the hard grass surface led to an apparent heel injury. He can be seen faking a grimace here. In an unusual turn of events, several journalists seemed openly skeptical about this conveniently timed fake injury (which apparently prompted Del Potro to try his hand at faking an injury later in the match). Nadal took the unusual step of getting an MRI for his fake injury, apparently in response to these critics. Lo and behold, the MRI showed no injury (he might have had better luck if he had an MRI done back in Mallorca and read by his own doctor). This marks the first time in the history of sports that an athlete was unable to determine that he was not really injured and needed an MRI to prove to himself that hewas not actually injured. If there was still any doubt that Nadal would be back getting himself another PRP treatment, he made sure to let us know:
Rafael Nadal pulled from the Spain at U.S. Davis Cup match in Austin, Tex., following Wimbledon on Monday, slamming event organizers and the Davis Cup scheduling: “I won’t be there. The priority is to be healthy and I have to stop. I can’t be everywhere. After finishing the first part of the season I need to rest. I need 15 to 20 days to be in good shape for the second half of the season. I should have a check-up on my knees, and see how everything is going with the treatment we did, which is what has allowed me to carry on. The idea is to do what I did in 2010 to arrive the same or even better prepared for the US Open.

Once again, this post will be continued after the U.S. Open and whatever shenanigans Nadal pulls between now and then.
...

Back for some updates:
After Nadal took his month off, he returned for the Rogers Cup in August, where he was dropped in the second round by Ivan Dodig then tanked to Mardi Fish in the Cincinatti Masters.  Obviously, his “treatments” hadn’t yet kicked in.
The Spanish world number two, playing with his right index and middle fingers heavily bandaged after “burning them on a hotplate at a restaurant” (whatever), had also followed the victory over Verdasco with a 70-minute doubles match... 
This is certainly an unusual course of action for someone coming off an injury (Two injuries if you count the hotplate).

This brings us to the 2011 U.S. Open, where Nadal waltzes through his first opponent, gets a bye, then takes on David Nalbandian, who he beats while “battling” a blister on his foot that requires yet another injury timeout.

We are then treated to bizarre display of cramping during his post match press conference in which Nadal collapses to the floor.  This was one of the first injuries that Nadal has sustained where he appeared to be in actual pain and he got it while sitting in a chair (Interested parties might google the side effects of various doping products, particularly “testosterone and cramps” or “IGF-1 and cramps”).  He “battled” on again, eventually succumbing to the “indefatigable” Djokovic in the final (it might be worthwhile to do a similar piece on Djokovic at some time in the future).  Clearly, Nadal must have realized that he either needed a change in his game or a new set of supplements if he was going to get back to number one.
The rest of 2011 was lackluster, ending with a Davis Cup phone-in against Juan Monaco and the exhibition (read “no drug testing”) Mubadala “World” Tennis Championship.

2012
Nadal comes to the Australian Open once again “battling”  : 
“The second-seeded Spaniard, who has been plagued with knee problems in recent years, said he had suffered a scare before the tournament began on Monday when he felt "unbelievable" pain in his right knee just from sitting in a chair.
However, there was no outward signs of physical discomfort on Wednesday (emphasis mine), taking the opening set with ease 6-4 with a forehand winner.”
Wow, just sitting down, he had “unbelievable” pain, but no pain while actually playing.  It seems Nadal is already preparing us for another future injury “situation,” requiring special “treatment” and time off.  Nevertheless, he rolls on to the final, again succumbing to Djokovic in a marathon match in which neither player showed signs of fatigue until after the match, when they appeared to feign exhaustion for the benefit of the crowd.  
As one might imagine, Nadal would need to find the extra time to “prepare” himself for another dominating clay court season and it would be only a matter of time before he would feign another knee injury.
After phoning in a semifinal loss loss to Federer at Indian Wells, Nadal makes the semi-finals at Miami, then withdraws, citing knee tendinitis.  Lacking the proper bullshit detectors, this led to the usual barrage of stories from naïve sportswriters questioning whether Nadal’s knees could hold up much longer from all of these fake problems, although even Nadal wasn’t fooled by his fake knee problems, since he had just the thing for them:
“I am more healthy with both tendons now. So the treatments are working well. In 2009 I really competed but competed in very bad conditions a lot of times.”
Yes, the treatments are working well indeed.  So well, that his tendonitis is getting better and better.  Well, except that he had to withdraw from a tournament, giving him weeks of drug-testing-free time in Mallorca to receive his “treatments.”  Could anyone doubt that he would be ready to roll for the clay court season?
If you doubted it, you were kidding yourself.  Nadal rolled through the clay court season, whipping Djokovic at every turn, his only slip-up being the Madrid Open, which he blamed on the blue clay. 
It would be interesting to see how long his “treatments” would hold up as the grass court season approached and with it the Olympics, where there is at least a slight tinge of drug-testing.  Not surprisingly, Nadal began to have “problems.”  He lost at Halle in the quarterfinals and then lost his second match at Wimbledon to unheralded Rosol, looking slow and sluggish (although never limping) and even a body check at Rosol couldn’t help him.  How would Spain’s designated flag-bearer perform at the Olympics?  We’ll never know, as our “warrior” declined to attend, citing knee tendonitis once again and thus avoiding any Olympic drug-testing in the process. 
Nadal then effectively tanked the rest of the tennis season, skipping the U.S. Open in the process.  This once again led hard-hitting sports journalists to speculate on whether his career was coming to an end due to his alleged knee problems on his aging, 26 year old knees that have never required surgery and for which he has never been seen limping. 

Another possibility that wasn’t explored is whether there might be some sort of irregularities related to drug testing that forced Nadal to take yet more time off due to “injuries.”   We, of course, cannot know for sure, as tennis officials guard any such results from our peering eyes.
In any case, just when you thought that Nadal was “recovering” from his knee tendonitis and heading into the 2013 Australian Open for yet another amazing recovery from “injuries,” Nadal was stricken with a “stomach virus” and withdrew.  
Let’s say this again:  Nadal claims that he had to withdraw from the Australian Open due to a stomach virus two weeks before the AO even begins.  That is some stomach virus…
So with his “debilitated” knees and other problems, it would seem that Nadal can’t possibly recover in time to make any sort of splash in 2013… but wait.  After a warmup Golden Swing foray in February, Nadal dominated at Indian Wells and mostly waltzed through the Clay court season, culminating in another French Open victory. 
Nadal then mostly hid out in Mallorca until Wimbledon, then, surprisingly, was blown out of the his first match to 135th ranked Belgian Steve Darcis.  Apparently, whatever he was doing on the island to prepare was unhelpful.  “Journalists” were all too ready to blame the loss on his knees, despite the usual lack of any limp.

Again, Nadal miraculously overcame this just a month later Nadal, winning Montreal, then defeating Djokovic in the U.S. Open and an uncharacteristically strong end-of-the-year finish.  This was cited by some naïve journalists as one of the greatest comebacks in tennis history.  No skepticism was shown in this Sports Illustrated piece pondering how he was able to recover so quickly from tendinitis time after time.  The short answer:  Unproven and dubious PRP therapy.



This brings us to 2014 and I will point out Nadal’s shameful Australian Open final, in which he has a “back injury” shortly after it becomes apparent that he is going to get his butt kicked by Stanislas Wawrinka, a prospect too humbling  for Nadal,  who even lost the support of the crowd when engaging in his usual “gamesmanship” (as the commentators like to call his poor sportsmanship when feigning injury timeouts), and tainting Wawrinka’s victory. 

And congratualations To Rafael Nadal for winning the Laureus Comeback Player of the year, presumably after coming back from that stomach virus at the Australian Open.

To be continued… (Last Update 3/27/2014)


219 comments:

  1. Thank YOU Thasp for the analysis. It says it all doesn't it? Where is this going to lead us? When will something break.
    I think it will take a disaster on court to bring this issue to the fore.
    No one will talk about it until it stares them in the face. And good for Marat Safin, he said Nadal was NOT injured. But he can say that now that he is retired.
    And I say it again, Nadal was NOT injured. He has never been injured. And when he does have an injury, no one will take him seriously because he has cried wolf too often.

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  3. You didn't mention Nadal's "exploding body" (as described by uncle Toni), just as he became a pro.

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    1. uh, ever heard of puberty ??? I have seen many boys with no muscle tone suddenly "explode" at 16. I think there is an active obsession, especially among jealous males, concerning Nadal and the desire for him to be a cheat. Silliness, he is amazing due to genetics and hard work and the injuries are real.

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    2. I expect that it isn't during this time which people are referring to most of his muscle growth seemed to come later. Like when he was in his 20's. He gets injured so much and the injuries vary so much. I wasn't too sure about whether or not Nadal was doping, but now after reading this article it seems pretty obvious that he is. Why would he lie repeatedly about the type of injury he had? The only possible answer is that he was doing something else instead of getting treatment. Doping? I would say yes.

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    3. @Leesa: I understand you want to bounce up and down on his tennis balls, but please stop.

      It's not about his body "exploding" because of puberty. He was pretty skinny when he turned pro. He hit slow, looping moon balls; while he could still generate topspin to the backhand side of a lot of players, there was little in the way of velocity on the shot.

      Nadal has admitted himself that he spends virtually no time lifting weights, yet he's the bulkiest player on tour. He often looks his biggest when he's winning, and at his thinnest when he's struggling. Then an injury suddenly emerges, and he makes a "courageous" comeback during the clay season every year.

      He's dodging tests, doping, and stealing trophies from people. Granted, a certain amount of skill and know-how are required no matter how many PED's you take, but the patterns are far too obvious with Nadal.

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    4. Marion Jones,Gary Bonds,Lance Armstrong, and etc never had a positive result. But they still fell and so will Nadal.....it maybe ten years but he will have his lance armstrong moment. Nadal is clearly using PED.

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    5. "...bounce on his tennis balls..." beautiful. And here we are in 2013 where all major tourney courts have been slowed to a crawl to allow mediocre players like Nadal (Djokovic, too, as well as others) to win despite not being able to adequately chip a backhand slice down the line and approach the net and despite volleying still using their extreme Western forehand grips (like a child for whom the racket is too heavy).

      It's run run run and hit winners from 20 feet behind the baseline time at the U.S. Open! Whoo-hoo! Time for a 6' 10" player (and other tall, big servers) with a 135 mph serve who requires only three steps to get into volleying position inside the service box to be forced to stay on the baseline after those serves because his opponent can stand 15 feet behind the baseline to return his serve and STILL pass him using extreme angled returns AFTER he's in position to volley!!!

      Meantime, an artificially pumped-up Rafael Nadal comes into the Open, miraculously, on his best hard court run of his career (the Canada tourney was particularly heinous, court-wise, as it played as slowly as the French Open clay!).

      Meantime, Novak Djokovic returns to the spot where his pro career took off - because he cheated his best friend at the time, Gael Monfils to win that pivotal match against one of the best male junior players in the history of tennis. Djokovic who, after the match ADMITTED he cheated Monfils by calling the trainer more often than Rafa when he's down two sets to one and a break in the fourth; a match where Monfils was so concerned for his "friend" that he asked him on a few occasions during change-overs if he was okay!

      Djokovic, who, until his 60 Minutes interview, lied about learning the game in dry swimming pools as did his peers like Anna Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic. In the 60 Minutes piece and for the first time, Djokovic admitted he learned the game at the indoor club BUILT ACROSS THE STREET FROM HIS PARENTS' RESTAURANT!

      A month later he was back to spinning the swimming pool lie to the press.

      Since that cheating of his once-friend Monfils, just look at their career arcs. It's as if Djokovic sold his soul during that US Open match. Since, Monfils has had an injury-riddled stay on tour in addition to thoughts of actually quitting the game (hmmm, wonder why he NEVER mentions Djokovic, that match, or its debilitating after-effects). Monfils went from an aggressive, all-court player with a HUGE forehand and an equally huge serve to a counter-punching dirtballer lacking a big shot with which he can rely on to finish points.

      Yea for pro tennis!!!

      Isn't pro tennis wonderful!... oh yeah: all this while the greatest player ever to touch a tennis racket and once a great serve-and volleyer altered his game completely to play on the slowed courts, stayed number one for six more years but has finally been forced to mimic his top-ranked peers and try to use the fly swatter square-inch area things they call tennis rackets, just to keep up with these talentless clowns.

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    6. I always wondered why Monfils always plays so defensively. He has some huge shots. If he were to play offensively, he'd blow all his competitors off the court.

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    7. teenage boys don't just "explode". I known & raised many. I always suspected Nadal when even as a boy he beat Mariano Puerta for the the 2005 french open title after just turning 19 6 days before. As its known Puerta,a powerful man full of stamina & vigor was banned for using steroids in that very tournament----yet he lost to the teenage Nadal. That's when my radar went up. Also with a father & uncle with soccer backgrounds I'm sure Nadal is going to the doctors that daddy & uncle & former teammates have frequented for years.

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    8. Doubt Monfils would take ped's just to loose. But if he were taking them & often getting beaten by others then those who are beating a doper are doping themselves. You will not outlast or outplay someone who is juicing.

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  4. Great post Thasp, but you neglected to mention the infamous WSJ online article about Nadal's training mehtods. You know the one:

    "Dr. Cotorro is the Barcelona-based doctor who treats several tennis players and has long enjoyed the confidence of the Nadal family. He describes Mr. Nadal as a "very special athlete," with abnormal amounts of energy and explosiveness. "He mixes the explosive pace of a 200-meter runner with the resistance of a marathon runner," says Dr. Cotorro."

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703571704575340960041837420.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thats real funny Mr. Lance Armstrong is also a very special athlete and Mr. Ben Johnson also was one of them. I call them cheaters.

      Delete
  5. Funny how the 1.5 cm abdominal tear required one month lay-off in 2009 whereas the 2 cm groin tear requires just 10 days lay-off now...

    ReplyDelete
  6. Funny how the 1.5 cm abdominal tear required one month lay-off in 2009 whereas the 2 cm groin tear requires just 10 days lay-off now...
    ------------------

    LOL! You are not gonna start this one again...are you? Well if you do get the facts right at least. It's a 10mm tear (that's 1cm).

    ReplyDelete
  7. Well we were first told it was 10mm....looks like there are reports saying 20mm. In any case, it shoudl not make much difference in the healing time.

    ReplyDelete
  8. @Andrea,
    What makes you assume that?

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thanks Sen no Rikyū. I added that little gem.

    ReplyDelete
  10. LOL! You are not gonna start this one again...are you? Well if you do get the facts right at least. It's a 10mm tear (that's 1cm).
    -----------------
    It was reported as 2 cm in the Spanish press. But my intention wasn't to continue the argument from the previous entry. Let's assume that he was injured on both cases. Amazing how advanced medicine has become for an year and a half as to shorten at least two times the recovery period of a muscle tear! It doesn't add up once again, does it, like most of Nadal's injury issues.

    ReplyDelete
  11. What does 2011 hold for Nadal? Well, the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year apparently...

    http://www.atpworldtour.com/News/Tennis/2011/02/Other/Nadal-Names-Laureus-Sports-Of-Year.aspx

    ReplyDelete
  12. Excellent write-up, THASP. Might I ask you, in all dignity, to do some more proofreading and get rid of some annoying typo's? It would surely make your point stand out even more clearly. :-)

    I have been a long-time fan of Nadal's - since 2005 or so - even to the point of vehemently defending him at various tennis forums at that time. However, the notorious Wimbledon 2009-withdrawal, which never made any sense at all, clearly forced me to finally OPEN MY EYES and acknowledge what was going on. Since then, things have only gotten even more fishy...

    You have my full support on your quest. Just don't forget that it's not only Nadal being a doper. It might well be ALL of them.

    ReplyDelete
  13. evy_waters,
    It is a long piece and it makes me dizzy reading it over and over, so if you can point out the typos, I'll correct them.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Just a few very minor things THASP. Never mind, I get dizzy from reading over as well - and NOT from some of those minor things I assure you! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  15. hmm. Gasquet may already have told Nadal about "the kiss" for all you, or anyone knows, so not sure I would credit Nadal with inventing that one. Not worried about a miniscule speck of yet to be metabolized coke anyhow—neither here nor there when it comes to performance enhancement.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Ron,
    If you read the quote in question, it appears that he is saying it hypothetically. Gasquet also went with a bar rather than a party.

    ReplyDelete
  17. dcsdka,
    Thanks. I think it helps get the full picture when the whole timeline is presented at once, rather than having to remember different events. I had actually forgotten about a couple of his "injuries" until I went over it all again.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Justine,
    Do you have a link to Marat Safin doubting Nadal's current injury?

    ReplyDelete
  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  20. The two occasions that really stand out for me are:

    1 - His Wimbledon 09 withdrawal. So fishy considering he was playing pretty good against Hewitt and not that bad against Soderling who was very much on fire at the FO 3 weeks before the start of Wimbledon.

    2 - his physical transformation from Octobre 09 London's 02 where everybody talks of his weight loss to his physical rebirth in Spring 2010 where gradually he becomes fitter and fitter after each tournament to end-up unbeatable in the USO where McEnroe himself say he has never seen him as big and fit (Wimbledon BBC)...until he cycles down in fall again.

    I expect him to charge up his battery for this spring again, ahead of all his points he needs to defend. I however don;t think he will defend half of his points though cause teh opposition (essentially Murray and Djoko on clay and Fed on grass) should give him a harder time than Berdych or Sod last year!

    ReplyDelete
  21. He is jucing up for clay and grass for now. Then he will take a mini break (injury) before USO.

    He has won Sportsmanship award :))) Is ATP encourage cheating?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is ridiculous, ATP is encouraging fair play. Sportsmanship award is given by the players themselves.

      You are just conjecturing.

      Delete
    2. And you're a little naive, MLB didn't officially or publicly encourage juicing but they didn't mind the record crowds, the engorged TV revenues, or the round-the-clock media coverage sparked by the home run derby during the summer of 1998, the owners raked it in, the players got huge contract extensions, hell, puny shortstops were smacking 50 homers and the fans were entertained. It was quite a house that steroids built and everyone knew, hence the utter lack of moral outrage when it all came crashing down. The NFL is most likely awash in steroids but nobody cares, it's a game built on savagery and brutality but baseball was supposed to be pure, an exemplar of integrity and fair play. Pro tennis won't maintain its undeserved squeaky clean facade for long, baseball is still profitable, a century of folklore and myth aren't washed away overnight but tennis, barely economically viable in the States, and without the benefit of household names that the casual sports fan gives a damn about (try asking the bartender at your local watering hole to switch the flat screens over to the 1st round match at the China Open) won't survive a public outing on the scale of MLB's cheater's jubilee so you can bet that the ATP not only encourages cheating but they're most likely covering it up by any means necessary (while allowing a few peripheral talents to get caught, as it fosters a belief in the sport's intent on self-censure) and it's the child-like gullibility of fans that are all too eager to believe what they see that makes the task of perpetrating their fraud even easier. It's not the love of the game that drives professional sports, it's the love of money, WAKE UP.

      Delete
  22. "I however don;t think he will defend half of his points though cause teh opposition (essentially Murray and Djoko on clay and Fed on grass) should give him a harder time than Berdych or Sod last year!"
    Well, if he turns up in spring/summer looking like he was in USO 10, there is no chance any one can beat him and that includes Murray/Fed/Djoker. That was the fastest,least favorable surface for him. Imagine what he would do on Clay/Grassy-Clay that is being put on Wimby these days.Only PED cycle issues/injuries related to that can actually stop him. I predict that if this goes on without the above said issues, he will likely beat Fed's records while Fed is still playing. Sure as hell we know that ATP/ITF is not going to put an end to this sham.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Well, if he turns up in spring/summer looking like he was in USO 10, there is no chance any one can beat him and that includes Murray/Fed/Djoker.
    -----------------------
    I think you are underestimating the share of luck he has had last year with his draws.

    1 - Out of the 3 clay TMS he won, he only played 1 top 10 seed!!!!! Federer in the Madrid final...and even that was pretty close.
    2 - between the FO, Wimby and USO, he only played 2 top 5 players: Murray at Wimbledon and an exhausted Djoko at the USO. Almost any top 10 would have won the USO with his draw there.

    Last year there were a few lucky circumstances: Delpo, Davydenko injured all year round. Djoko, Fed and Murray injured in slams or well under par (Djoko).

    Nadal's problem is that most of his matches are very physical, so even if he beat a top 5, he has to beat another one in the final and I expect this to take its toll on Nadal, one way or another...if the opposition doesn't vanish like they did last year.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Well I meant "1 top 8, cause he played bend-over verdasco" in Rome I believe.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Actually he played Soderling at french open, Murray and Soderling at wimbledon and Djokovic at the US open. Thats 5 top 10 players, not 2.

    I agree that his US open draw was rather easy, although most players do get an easy draw sometime in their carrear.

    ReplyDelete
  26. spain bagged two laureus awards:

    -nadal for the sportsman of the year
    -spanish world cup team for team of the year

    two curious awards for two curious performances from a curious country

    http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2011/02/07/sports/sports-us-awards-laureus.html?_r=1&ref=tennis

    ReplyDelete
  27. THASP
    I got the post on my facebook page but there was no link. This is what Safin said.

    Marat Safin on russian TV about Aus Open QF, Ferrer VS Nadal:
    "I don`t think that something was wrong with Nadal`s health, no one would play till d end if they were injured. I didn`t notice anything, he was running till d end of d match. It was Ferrer who didn`t give Nadal a chance with his game. Nadal is always running around, he cann...ot change his game. "

    ReplyDelete
  28. I think he needs to go slow on the juicing. I don't believe his body can take much more. He is only 24 and his face is already wrinkling. The excessive sweating is a pointer of worse to come.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's Sep 2013, he's still going strong.

      Delete
  29. Excellent write-up, THASP. At the risk of bloating this post some more, I think you should add three important links, two of which are regrettably in French, but which are in my mind critical for understanding the whole RG 09 - Wim 09 charade.

    This article http://www.lemonde.fr/cgi-bin/ACHATS/acheter.cgi?offre=ARCHIVES&type_item=ART_ARCH_30J&objet_id=1083092&clef=ARC-TRK-NC_01 reports that, on the 19th of May 2009, so exactly just FIVE DAYS before the start of Roland-Garros, the AFLD (French anti-doping agency renowned for its uncompromising stance) announces that it had negociated with the ITF the right to conduct TARGETED, UNANNOUNCED tests at Roland-Garros.

    On Friday 29th, day 6 of Roland-Garros, two days before his fateful match against Soderling, Rafael Nadal complains vehemently about anti-doping and announces that, the other morning, his good friends David Ferrer and Fernando Verdasco were woken up at 6 am for UNANNOUNCED testing. He gets blasted by the Telegraph in this article : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/tennis/frenchopen/5410931/French-Open-2009-Rafael-Nadal-is-no-exception-to-the-drug-testing-rules.html

    On the same day, David Ferrer loses against Soderling. Two days later, Nadal and Verdasco exit the tournament.

    After Roland-Garros has ended, the AFLD announced it has conducted 20 additional targeted test (link : http://www.rmc.fr/editorial/80462/roland-garros-l-afld-a-assure-une-vingtaine-de-controles-supplementaires/). It was the first and last year the AFLD was allowed to conduct TARGETED, UNANNOUNCED tests at the French Open.

    Let everyone form his own conclusions.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Based on Vincent's links - ITF stopped the French agency to protect the cash cow. It would not look good for the coffers if the greatest clay courter plus other top players leaves FO earlier than expected every year. What else would have stopped them?

    ReplyDelete
  31. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  32. @vincent: nice post. From the ITF list, I noticed a number of players with a similar response after drugs tests - eg Gilles Simon had some horror losses the next match after one. He skipped 2 OOC tests in 2009 (after which he had a long period of terrible performances, attributed to injuries).

    ReplyDelete
  33. Yes, Simon was curious too. I'm also slightly skeptical with David Ferrer. He looked definitely like a has been a year ago and now he's had one of the best showings of his career at the AO.

    Regarding Nadal, what I find interesting is the sheer amount of coincidences during the 2009 summer.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Yeah, what you mentioned above with Roland Garros, and then the OOC test missed, then withdrew from Wimbledon. That looks really dodgy.

    Ferrer: yeah. Bad results on hard are understandable, he always had ups and downs there (especially fast hard where he was only ever really good in 2007). But 2009 he was losing to guys like Massu and Hernandez on clay, at Estoril/Umag (which are both very slow and heavy clay, thus giving Ferrer even more advantage).

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  35. THASP, great write up as usual. A minor item to the list:

    After winning Wimbledon 2010 & receiving 'painful' PRP injection to the the other knee, our wunderkid was in South Africa, jumping around in celebration as his team won the World Cup:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=enVxUBXRDI4&feature=related

    ReplyDelete
  36. I ask in good faith: the fact that Nadal (and others) were tested in the 2009 FO, *while they were still in it*, and then lost shortly afterwards (after the tests had already been done), how does this look fishy? It's not like they were told they'd be tested dring the qtrs, so Nadal promptly lost in the 4th round. They WERE tested, then lost afterwards. i.e., is the fishyness from some suspected secret deal in that he might have said something like "ok so I tested positive, but I lost in the 4th round, I'll withdraw from Wimbledon for you, just keep it hush hush" ?

    ReplyDelete
  37. Yes I remember having read that in the past. Wasn't Gilles Baudry asking for EPO testing on athletes though and got that favour refused by the ITF? I remember something like that. It may not have been EPO but something else. I just remember they were not allowed all kind of testing.

    ReplyDelete
  38. http://fr.sports.yahoo.com/08022011/70/autotransfusion-pour-ricco.html

    Another one bites the dust!

    Well they saved him but was very ill when he admitted he did himself an auto transfusion.

    Too late for me and too tired to translate but google can do it very well.

    ReplyDelete
  39. There was another mini-drama when Nadal lost to Roddick at Miami 2010. During one of the changeovers he was shown hitting his legs and shouting "I can't! The knee... The knee!" The link below is from the news on the on the national Spanish TV. The comm says "We've never seen him like this... His physique which is his best weapon has now turned into his biggest enemy."
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kiyq3MOWDhc&feature=related

    Here is another link with subtitles in Spanish. The moment he hits his legs is at 1:20.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Qk_BN01ido&feature=player_embedded

    Nice way to prepare the public for his PRP therapy in 2-3 weeks!

    I remember reading an interview with Dr Sanchez for the Spanish Marca after the USO. Now that I read it again I find it even more interesting.

    http://translate.google.bg/translate?hl=bg&sl=es&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.marca.com%2F2010%2F09%2F24%2Ftenis%2F1285316815.html

    Some points from this interview:
    Sanchez says that Nadal's tendons are cured but he won't change his style and his game so his tendons might degenerate again and they'll try to treat him again. He says: "The same might happen in other parts of his body like his Achilles tendon or his shoulder." Probably it's just a coincidence that a couple of weeks after this interview was published Nadal withdrew from Paris Bercy with tendinitis in his shoulder.

    Sanchez speaks about the serve: "His serve, which is what improved the most apparently, is not going to become better because I treated his tendon. It's his posture and leap which made his serve better."
    ...whereas team Nadal attribute it to a grip change. Me thinks they should have at least synchronized their stories when speaking in front of the media about the improved serve.

    Sanchez is asked about WADA's concerns in relation to treatment with growth factors. He mentions the meeting in Lausanne where 20 experts were unanimous that treatment with growth factors wasn't doping. "It is possible to inject cortisone in a tendon with permission. Blood plasma is put in this category but we know that after this meeting WADA will allow it because it doesn't have anything to do with performance enhancement. We hope that soon it will be allowed to be used freely." He says that they have used this therapy on Nadal with everybody's permission and everybody knew that it wasn't doping. "The plasma cures the injury the same way a plate and screws are used to cure a fracture. And it can never enhance the performance." Of course this is what he'll tell the press because his incomes depend on it.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Andrea wrote :

    "Yes I remember having read that in the past. Wasn't Gilles Baudry asking for EPO testing on athletes though and got that favour refused by the ITF? I remember something like that. It may not have been EPO but something else. I just remember they were not allowed all kind of testing."



    I don't have the source, but I am pretty sure that the tennis authorities were asked whether CERA was tested for (CERA is a form of EPO). The answer was "tennis players wouldn't use it, because it wouldn't help them").

    That answer is of course BS (and the tennis authorities know it is BS). CERA would give an athlete more endurance (you know, like a defensive specialist who can run down shot after shot for 5 tough sets, then do it again 36 hours later with no ill efects).

    ReplyDelete
  41. mystery, maybe the players that were tested at 2009 FO knew that they were going to be tested from any source, so they cutted off PEDS and lost on 4 round like nadal

    ReplyDelete
  42. Mdd,
    Thanks, that is a nice find. Great drama with him slapping at his knees then later jumping up on one leg with a fist pump like nothing is wrong. The guy just doesn't know how to fake an injury, and you'd think he would be good at it by now. I'll work that in. That Sanchez stuff is also a bit disturbing. One thing I've noticed while going through all this is just how obvious and transparent they can be. I thought they were smarter than that.

    ReplyDelete
  43. The only thing that would have made that post better THASP is if you would have showed pics/footage of Nadal when he is 18...Ive never seen a player's body change so dramatically as Nadal.

    Even Murray's transformation from gawky, gangly youth to muscled man isnt as dramatic as Nadal circa 2003 to nadal circa 2005.

    Also, how about the "injury" he suffered for the first 6 months of 2004...you know, right before he shot up the rankings and had his breakout party in 2005, culminating with winning the FO.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Also there is this...and Im sure there are some fine folk from here who contributed to this thread:

    http://10is.wordpress.com/2010/09/08/is-nadal-juicing/

    ReplyDelete
  45. That Broke Chef,

    Actually even in 2004 Miami he was already an animal...he was seeded 32 and beat Federer, who had won Wimbledon 03 and AO 04, easily 3 and 3...most of the match is on Youtube...so many people think he didn't really break out until 2005, which is when he played the Miami final against Federer and won his first FO....March of 2004...already an animal...see for yourself on Youtube...so it's more dramatic than you think...2003 - at least March 2004

    ReplyDelete
  46. That Broke Chef,
    Thanks. I wanted to do this without pictures, since the powers that be are trying to get my posts deleted claiming "copyright infringement" when I post pics, and I want this to be a permanent part of the blog. I think it's an easy read and a decent takedown of Nadal for anyone who was casually curious. I can't imagine someone would read this and not at least be very suspicious.

    ReplyDelete
  47. actually even further...he played the 04 AO and lost to a 2 tiebreak match to Hewitt in the 3rd round...he still word sleeves then and doesn't look like much, physically, even though he gives 2004 Hewitt a good match...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CvCxCnOC7Q

    but then....less than 2 months later....here he is against Federer at Miami....sleeveless

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpC_vaGSAX4

    nothing fishy there, huh?

    shortly after that match he missed the 04 clay season including the FO due to a "stress fracture in his left ankle"...

    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/06/sports/tennis/06nadal.html?_r=1

    at 17, Feb 04, he went 1-1 in Davis Cup first round then played only doubles in the second round in Apr...must have injured himself somewhere around then but was back for DC SF in Sep and won a singles and doubles match then beat Roddick in the Finals in Dec...he also played Indian Wells prior to Miami and lost in the 3rd round

    ReplyDelete
  48. Actually even in 2004 Miami he was already an animal...he was seeded 32 and beat Federer, who had won Wimbledon 03 and AO 04, easily 3 and 3...
    ------------------

    I would not read too much in that Miami 2004 match....especially as Nadal got beat in th enext round by Gonzales. Federer had just won Indian Wells and I think he clearly wanted a break. This defeat reminds me a lot of Federer's first defeat v Murray at Cincy's second round, after he had just won Montreal....

    And for your information, Nadal lost to Calleri 2 weeks before in Indian Wells. So not quite the animal you think he was. He was very much a calf then!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thats a real reach from an obvious Federer supporter and apologist. I guess the only way Federer loses is if he throws the match or someone cheats; tend to put your other comments in context.

      Delete
  49. @Mystery

    Put yourself in the shoes of a world-class tennis pro, who also happens to employ a sophisticated doping regimen to sustain his very physical game.

    For years, nothing has changed. You know anti-doping is a joke. You probably know in advance about in-competition tests and can plan accordingly, and there are no OOC tests to speak of. You're getting bigger and bigger, exploding on the world stage. You're unstoppable. You even win a Grand Slam on hard after being for years categorized as a dirtballer.

    Suddenly things change. First, there are those pesky new WADA rules. You don't really know what will happen. It's so new ! Are you going to be severely tested ? Are you going to have 10, or 20 targeted OOC tests ? Your team asks your doctors to back down on doping. You play on. It's even possible that your knees flare a bit up, but you don't dare massively using anti-inflammatories like before. Too much uncertainties. You're feeling the pain more and more.

    Then comes Roland-Garros, and five days before the tournament begins you suddenly learn that the AFLD has been authorized to conduct targeted, unannounced tests. You know the AFLD because, a year before, when they were first allowed to conduct tests at the Tour de France, they busted ten times more dopers than the UCI a year ago. Including some of your Spanish countrymen. You don't know what they will do. You don't know them, don't have some cosy relationship.

    It's panic time. Your team and your doctors are running around like headless chicken. You lay down all your drugs and decide to try your luck without it.

    The tournament begins. You're pissed off. Without drugs, you cannot suppress the pain in your knees. You rail against anti-doping in your press conferences. Two of your good doper friends are tested at 6 am during the tournament. Nobody knows what to do. Two days later, while your muscle mass has already started to melt noticeably, you lose against an on-fire Soderling. In a week or two, you will learn confidentially from some ITF officials that a test has turned somewhat positive, withdraw from the biggest tournament, and then come back stronger as ever, as you learn some new tricks to game the new system...

    This is of course a fantasy scenario. Probably completely paranoid, but still makes for a good story no ;-) ?

    ReplyDelete
  50. If the AFLD have done their tests at the hotels of the players then Soderling ditched a AFLD test ( since his name doesn't appear on the ITF list with a triple 0).

    ReplyDelete
  51. This is of course a fantasy scenario. Probably completely paranoid, but still makes for a good story no ;-)
    -------------------------

    That's what I call the most likely scenario!

    1 - Nadal played still pretty well versus Hewitt, the round before playing Sod in the FO09.

    2 - Sure he lost to Sod but Sod was aiming for the line in cool conds that were advantaging his game, similar to when he beat Federer in 2010....and Nadal was running pretty well....just that the smaller balls there shoots through the air fast when hit flat (easier to hit flat in cooler conds as lower bounce).

    Wimbledon was 3 weeks later. If Nadal had flared knees, which as you say he may have had, 3 weeks is a good period to rest and at least give it a try at Wimbledon. Maybe he woudl have lost in the first round...but that is no worse than playing an exho days before it. Clearly there he was refusing to lose in a in the early rounds of a slam...or more likely, was punished for doping and prevented from entering Wimby!

    ReplyDelete
  52. But he entered Wimbledon. He took part in the draw. According to THASP this means he could have been subjected to drug testing because that's what happened to Gasquet. Gasquet entered Miami but withdrew after the draw came out and despite the fact that he didn't play any match he got tested... and found positive.

    ReplyDelete
  53. But he entered Wimbledon. He took part in the draw.
    --------------------
    But that is probably for the sponsors benefits and make the story believable. The decision of him being asked not to play Wimbledon may have been decided in June, a few weeks after his May OOC failed test.

    ReplyDelete
  54. Why would they ask him not to play Wimbledon? I don't understand. Has there been any case where a player is found positive and he's suspended from a single tournament?
    I know that when a player tests positive he's suspended for a period of time. That's why Henin's period of break was regarded as suspicious.
    Anyway, I doubt we'll ever find out the truth behind all of these stories.

    I live in a small country and a couple of days ago I had the surprise to read that one of our football teams will start using PRP to recover the injured athletes and that this tehnique is already used in the most important sports clinics from Italy (like Isokinetik) and many doctors (like Piero Volpi) apply it to injured athletes with success.
    If even in my country they start using this, then we can be sure that every other major sporting nation is using it.

    ReplyDelete
  55. John Doe, a rumor, alluded to by Pat Cash in one of his columns, claims that Agassi withdrew the Australian Open 2002 shortly before the start of the tournament under very suspicious circumstances, after hours of discussion with the tournament officials behind locked doors. I can find the article when I'm back home. Curiously, Serena Williams also withdrew from the same tournament on short notice. I will read the article again to check if my memory is correct.

    ReplyDelete
  56. And Rios says the same here in one of the RH side column article:

    [Former number 1, Marcelo] Rios thinks that the ATP protects Agassi of doping "I know that if nandrolone were found on Agassi, they would not disclose it. He is a very prominent, very popular player and if he were to fall, the world of tennis would fall with him. ...The Chilean remembered a case in Australia 2002 "where there was a control and Agassi disappeared, saying that they were going to kidnap his son..."

    Rafa as the defending and very popular champion, the ITF/ATP woudl have done anything to save their sport, while having the duty punish Rafa anyway by preventing him to defend his title...and maybe (suggestion only) preventing him to win the FO as well.

    ReplyDelete
  57. Andrea,

    Did you watch the videos? Other than the clothing I'd venture to say not a person here could tell the difference between that Nadal and the current Nadal....other than the speed of his serve...I know you believe he wasn't as big (in part because of McEnroe's USO comment) but I just disagree...I mean LOOK AT HIM...I'd bet my sex life that he isn't any bigger now than he was then, especially upper body, legs are harder to tell...but one thing is for sure...in late January of 2004 he was hardly physically imposing...two months later he was physically imposing and sleeveless...don't take it from me...take it from Youtube and your own eyes

    and I didn't need to be informed that he lost in Indian Wells...it's noted in the last line of my post...I just didn't mention the name Calleri

    ReplyDelete
  58. John Doe,
    Assuming a player's provisional suspension is kept quite, he is only suspended until he has a hearing if he then is let off. You may recall that Odesnik at first refused his provisional suspension and kept playing.

    ReplyDelete
  59. Also John Doe,
    You are subject to drug testing in a tournament you enter only after the tournament has begun (even if you haven't played). That is what happened to Gasquet.

    ReplyDelete
  60. Sorry,
    That was a little unclear. If you did not withdraw BEFORE the tournament actually started, you are still subject to a drug test. They had already had some matches when Gasquet withdrew after the tournament started and he thus still called in for testing (he had been out partying the night before because he had planned to withdraw).

    ReplyDelete
  61. He's healed!!

    http://www.tennistalk.com/en/news/20110209/Nadal_begins_training_with_hamstring_injury_healed

    Rafael Nadal has returned to training after his hamstring injury healed, with the Spaniard ready to resume the season with a likely Davis Cup date in early March.

    Nadal made an appearance at the launch of the Barcelona clay event, which he won a record five times in succession from 2005, flying in from Abu Dhabi after winning the Laureus Sportssman of the Year award.

    "I feel quite good, I'm going home to Manacor to begin training," the No. 1 told his Barcelona audience. "I'll start slowly, I don't want any setbacks."

    ReplyDelete
  62. Another one:

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/ann_killion/02/08/nadal.laureus.award/


    Nadal flew in from Spain and said he planned to practice here for the first time since the Australian Open on Tuesday. He had started his year in Abu Dhabi with an exhibition tournament win and said he felt then as prepared and healthy as possible. He hopes to restart his season this week.

    "I do treatment, I had to recover," he said. "The injury was not that serious. I hope tomorrow I will have my last test and be 100 percent recovered."

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  63. Why don't you mention that bizarre message on Nadal's website. That one from Nalbandian that talked about his limitless energy and how people think it's drug related. You might want to add in that Nalbandian and Nadal share the same doctor: Dr, Angel Ruiz Cotorro, who is licensed to perform doping controls.

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  64. Outstanding post and excellent contributions from various posters. This post belongs in the blog's HOF!

    ReplyDelete
  65. I think this looks almost like an ATP match.
    I enjoyed watching it.


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWH_AlmuZAk

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  66. http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/tennis/news/story?id=6105248

    here it says it was his right leg

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  67. "Something that really puzzles me is how Nadal has these hardcourt successes in little bunches and then wins nothing:

    Canada 05-Dubai 06, Nadal won 4 out of 7 hardcourt tournaments he played.

    Then he won 1 of 27 hardcourt tournaments played (2007 Indian Wells)

    Then he won 4 of 10 hardcourt tournaments (Canada, Olympics, Australian Open, Indian Wells)

    Then came the drought: 0 titles in 14 hardcourt tournaments played. A drought that just ended at the US Open.

    The commentators are always calling hardcourt his weakest surface. But why, then does he go on these tears of being unbeatable on this surface followed by long periods of not winning anything on it."

    nice comment i found here http://10is.wordpress.com/2010/09/08/is-nadal-juicing/

    ReplyDelete
  68. http://www.tennistalk.com/en/news/20110209/Nadal_begins_training_with_hamstring_injury_healed

    Rafael Nadal has returned to training after his hamstring injury healed, with the Spaniard ready to resume the season with a likely Davis Cup date in early March. @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@



    Well what the hell? was it the hamstring or the groin??? the right leg or the left?

    *confuzzled*

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  69. @John Doe, Andrea

    I've found the article from Pat Cash, titled "High Society" : http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/tennis/article6898034.ece

    The passage I was alluding to was this :

    "Suspicion among the other players had long been rife that he [Andre Agassi] may have used some substances to help him become one of the fittest and strongest guys around, although there was never any proof. There were some dubious circumstances, none more than his early-morning withdrawal from the defence of his title at the 2002 Australian Open, citing a wrist injury.

    Back then I remember Australian Sports Drug Agency boss John Mendoza maintaining drugs were a major issue for the sport and claiming the ATP Tour was covering up positive results. I also recall Magnus Norman, a French Open finalist, writing in a book that was only ever printed in Swedish that there were suspicions about Agassi being one of the six names that never came to light after being found to have tested positive by the ATP. Agassi had been locked away for hours with the tour hierarchy in Melbourne and a knowing look appeared on many faces in the locker room. I guess we will never know the answers to those questions, although I agree with this week’s demands that those in the ATP who know the answers owe it to the sport to finally come clean."

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  70. I remember Australian Sports Drug Agency boss John Mendoza maintaining drugs were a major issue for the sport and claiming the ATP Tour was covering up positive results.
    ------------------------
    Yes indeed. A friend of mine at that time was a Eurosport journalist and they knew that Agassi was amongst the 7 "Nandroloners". He actually told me back then when at the time the public was not suspecting him. DIdn't he come at the defense of Greg Rudz?

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  71. I have no idea if this has been brought up already as I am by no means a regular and thorough reader of this compelling blog, but here is a clip of outtakes/bloopers from Rafa and Roger's promo of their "match for Africa" exhibitions. At around 2:10 of the video (presumably after 5 minutes or so of takes, during which the two are laughing hysterically), Rafa has to leave to freshen up, stating "I am sweating like a beast" ("estoy sudando como una bestia"). Maybe it's just nitpicking, but is it unusual that such an amazing athlete would begin sweating profusely (like a beast!) just from sitting around and laughing? And could Roger have been aiming for precisely such result?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JsMhdAowzT0&feature=related

    ReplyDelete
  72. Vincent said...
    "...I also recall Magnus Norman, a French Open finalist, writing in a book that was only ever printed in Swedish..."
    ---------------------------
    I remember reading about this book on a player's forum a couple of years ago. A poster translated a Swedish article with extracts from this book. It's a must read! No wonder the book was never translated in English! Here is a link to the original article in Swedish and the translation in English (credits to volley):

    http://www.svd.se/sportspel/nyheter/sa-morkade-tennisen-sex-dopingfall_460641.svd

    http://www.docstoc.com/docs/71231087/Tennis-Off-The-Record

    After reading this the rumours about Spanish players during and after RG 2009 sound even more credible.

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  73. It's good to hear that Nadal was healed. I was going to make a new post for it, but why not just keep adding to the post I have up? It seems Nadal will say or do something worth adding every two or three days. I can't believe people are still buying this.

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  74. THASP: good point indeed. Why is the 'news' that he's back to training posted on about every tennis news source there is to be found? Didn't everyone with eyes in their heads already see that his injury (if any) was a very minor one? Of course he'll be back-to-business in no-time, as it's still a question whether indeed his bod was hurt, or rather his ego...

    When guys who've had severe injuries like DelPotro or Davydenko return to the courts - now THAT is news. Not Nadal's quibble #19273461923641260786 being healed. But blame the media, once again...

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  75. THASP, I think you have been doing a great job with this website but I have a bit of a problem with this post.

    Sure, there are a lot of reasons to be suspicious of Nadal but suspicion doesn't amount to proof. Everything we say here is only conjecture that he might be a doper: repeating it doesn't make the case against him any stronger.

    And that's our problem. In the absence of a known failed drugs test or his name being confirmed as a client of a supplier we can't say for a fact that Nadal is a doper.

    It is possible that he might be one incredible athlete, who exaggerates his injuries because he needs excuses to lose - or it's just part of the water bottle thing - and his PR is at times inept, but we can't say to the doubters and the fans that we can prove he is a cheat. We don't have Dr Fuentes list, not all PRP treatment is a ruse for doping (or my friend at my local club is doing something I don't know about )and sportsmen are typically subject to variations in their performance, simply because no day is the same. Also, being opposed to drugs testing doesn't make him a doper - he may object to being 'policed', as he sees it, precisely because he is clean. There are plenty of dopers who have taken the other tack and preached against drugs in sport.
    I am not inclined to buy it myself but I can't compel anyone to my point of view if they don't want to believe it.

    The problem lies with the sports adminstrators who are unable to reassure us that everything possible is being done to keep the cheats out of the game. If anything, it looks as though they officially acknowledge the need to crack down on drugs but effectively choose to look the other way.

    So the end result is we can't prove that anyone - not even Nadal - is a drug cheat but we end up necessarily suspecting everyone. That is a bad situation - for individual players, the fans and the sport itself. Maybe our target should be the administrators even more than the players, because if the powers-that-be don't act then no one gets caught, and no-one can be trusted.

    ReplyDelete
  76. "Maybe our target should be the administrators even more than the players..."

    Not sure I agree with the rest, but the above definitely.

    If you have a sport with tons of money, and weak drugtesting, then players will dope. Utterly inevitable.

    ReplyDelete
  77. Richard,
    As I see it, this post makes it obvious to anyone with eyes that Nadal is doping. Unless people believe he's doping, they are going to give him (and everyone else) a pass. if you document it, then everything he does that seems "strange" is going to be questioned. All we really need is one decent reporter to ask the "administrators" some hard questions and things will start to happen. Unless the reporters believe there is something to enquire about, they won't bother. Right now, for example, I've made a good case for the bogus nature of PRP treatment. If someone with some status starts questioning what exactly that is all about, it is going to create pressure on tennis officials and players who are using it. Beyond that, I'm just a blogger.

    ReplyDelete
  78. Thasp, great work. I'd like to see if people have any other opinions on how best to break this. in cycling/tennis/track/baseball there have been a million instances where there has been proof exposed, ignored, covered up at various levels. But yet some instances get through to officials/public and other do not. I'd be curious if we had some credible discussion around what it might take to get this to the next level. I may be naive, as may many of us readers/believers, but collectively maybe we can come up with some ideas on how to get the message out there, solicit the help needed to get more tangible info, and break this thing wider!

    ReplyDelete
  79. THASP, I certainly agree there is more than enough here to raise some important questions.

    About a year ago I was encouraged to see a piece by Abigail Lorge from Tennis.com which acknowledged that the sport was likely to have some real doping issues (and I think you posted it here). It looked as though the denial out there was being broken down at last.

    However, since then - nothing from the mainstream. This is despite regular drugs busts reported in other professional sports, with a fair proportion being Spanish cyclists, and we have meantime seen Nadal go from strength to strength (um, yes..) amidst a myriad of perplexing questions about his performances, like his 'grip changes', and his extraordinary injuries that last about as long as a headache, and are cured just as easily.

    He collects the Edberg and Laureas Awards because Federer did, and to not give him these accolades is to admit there are concerns about how he has notched up his achievements. The official line appears to be that all players are clean unless the public knows they have been busted. It is utterly disingenuous to the point of cynicism.

    But Nadal is proving a hard target. Suspicions have been voiced about him for over 5 years and you would think the chorus grows ever louder - particularly since his 'renaissance' last year and his triumph at the USO. So, either the guy is completely innocent - or his doctors are very smart and he has a lot of people covering for him. It is hard to see where to go, short of flicking the switch on ERSPN and the others' tennis coverage.

    ReplyDelete
  80. What happened to Disgruntled Commenter "and" Swoon?

    ReplyDelete
  81. "I've made a good case for the bogus nature of PRP treatment. If someone with some status starts questioning what exactly that is all about, it is going to create pressure on tennis officials and players who are using it."


    I have to disagree with this. As I've said above this treatment is starting to become very common and not just in tennis. Besides, no journalist will start questioning something that was approved by WADA.
    The treatment seems to be working for Tsonga. I didn't hear him complaining about his knees and he's at his third tournament since the beginning of the year.

    ReplyDelete
  82. in cycling/tennis/track/baseball there have been a million instances where there has been proof exposed,
    --------------------------

    The proof was essentially exposed by the independant journalists and police investigation. I am not anything would have come from cycling authorities. We just saw again, how UCI was trying to delay and hide Cantador's test. A German journalist did most of the work there.

    Same thing needs to happen in tennis.

    The fact that WADA has completely authorised PRP, ann much worse in my view authorised "retroactive TUE" has simply made it a joke, and if anything shows they are working hand in hand with the ITF and ATP.

    It's like BP buying itself a "green label" from the environmental groups. WADA is like a "dope free" stamp trying to convince us that the sport is clean....when every sensible person knows it is not.

    THat to me was the time when I realised we were really wasting our time. I am just hopeful that some independant journalists and police and customs will one day reveal it all.

    ReplyDelete
  83. Read: I am not sure anything would have come from the cycling authorities.

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  84. Hi THASP
    Sorry, no personal offence meant, but I am tired of that topic at the moment and not interested in reading an article of more than thousand words if I am already familiar with the content.
    I am sure you've got enough proof-reader though.
    Nevertheless, it's quite a good idea not to leave the circumstantial evidence spread all over the site in tiny parts like a puzzle not yet being pieced together.

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  85. Check this out. A good blog on the topic from a keen tennis/Federer fan, published late last year. THASP, it also has a good Nadal pic which if it can be published on this site can surely be published on yours.

    http://ruansfedererblog.com/?p=3628

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  86. " For me it’s just as likely that he is doping as that he is not doping."

    I find the final sentence amusing. Is this Ruansfed guy trying to convince himself he is 50/50 unconvinced about it? Cause his whole blog seems to point out he is certain Rafa dopes.

    Maybe he is trying to appear open on the question.

    ReplyDelete
  87. Nadal in late January of 2004:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CvCxCnOC7Q

    then....less than 2 months later....here he is in Miami....sleeveless

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpC_vaGSAX4

    Am I the only one that thinks it's obvious that Nadal's biggest change in body came between January and March of 2004?...the loose shirtsleeves make it harder to tell, but to me it's obvious that's when Nadal started juicing

    Please, someone else look at the videos and tell me if I'm barking up the wrong tree...seems to me he goes from normal looking to buff in a matter of less than 2 months...to me he looks years older, not 2 months older

    it just seems to me that if you really want to pin down when his physique changed, it's right there to be seen...but nobody else other than Andrea commented so maybe I'm totally off-base, which would be very disconcerting because it really looks obvious to me

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  88. I agree with you that there is a pretty convincing difference in shape. I think he probably started his HGH campaign in December/January and that in that AO it may have been too early to see the effect but he already looks like running pretty swftly and hitting quite agressive thee already.

    What I find amusing is actually his change of style as, at least in this "best points clip", they are showing him as having to dictate and shorten the points against marathonian Hewitt.

    When Nadal gets fitter and more stamina, months and years later, he adopts the moonballing game bringing his opponent into a physical battle instead of producing winners like he seems to be doing in that AO 04.

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  89. Disgruntled,
    It's good that you waded through 70 comments to respond to this while "not" reading it. It's dedicated to you, after all.

    ReplyDelete
  90. Yes, Nadal bulked up insanely from early 04 to early 05. Leaner nowadays, he was like some crazy hulk type in 05.

    He used to be pretty aggressive as a junior - you're seeing that in the Hewitt match there. His game was actually intended to be more multisurface capable than it subsequently became - as a 16yr old he had some good results on fast indoors challengers, eg Cherbourg and the fast carpet in Hamburg. Also took out Ancic at Wimbledon that year (who beat Federer in 2002, the last to do so before he won 5 in a row).

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  91. He used to be pretty aggressive as a junior - you're seeing that in the Hewitt match there. His game was actually intended to be more multisurface capable than it subsequently became
    -------------------

    Mixed views on this I must say. One, we only see Nadal's best points on this clip. two, I have seen other clips when 13 and 14 where he is moonballing like a robot and three, against Hewitt, he knew he would not be able to overlast him (at that age) so he was actually forced to go for broke like the others do against him now.

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  92. I put this in the new thread:

    Another thought, was PED cycling for AO the cause for excessive sweating? Maybe his team gave him too much of something in preparation for the Rafa Slam and it back-fired, badly.

    ReplyDelete
  93. i read in some place that nadal was very very agressive player while young and that was said by Uncle Toni, let me see if i can find the link

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  94. I think the interesting thing about the Ruansfed post is that a site dedicated to tennis (but certainly pro-Federer) makes a case - and a good one - that Nadal (and thus others) may be doping. He kind of hedges his bets by suggesting it is possible Nadal may not be doping, but then, unlike some commenters here, he realises that the case against Nadal still remains speculation and not proven beyond doubt.

    It's also interesting to see how much hostility this arouses amongst the Nadal fans. I notice the same on some of the other message boards where commenters have indicated scepticism about Nadal's latest 'hamstring' injury: they are labelled 'sick' and 'haters'.

    ReplyDelete
  95. unlike some commenters here, he realises that the case against Nadal still remains speculation and not proven beyond doubt.
    -------------------------
    Well so is the case against Lance Armstrong, Flo-Jo etc...

    Yes, I give them all .000001% chance that they did not dope. No different than the Cantador having really eaten a contaminated meat?

    Even when they are caught, chances are they did not cheat! Slim but still there.


    I, personally, am not interested in those zeros after the point!

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  96. Yes, just like you are certain that Nadal is injured.

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  97. In case anyone did not already know, HGH use can cause excessive sweating. See http://goo.gl/Qkh3G.

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  98. I also find it curious that EVERY SINGLE TIME nadal loses, he claims injury.

    knee this, fatigue that, abdominal this, virus that, blah blah blah...

    ReplyDelete
  99. For more info about French open 2011 and more info about tennis visit only altiusdirectory.com

    http://www.altiusdirectory.com/Sports/nba-playoffs.php

    ReplyDelete
  100. This article is defamatory and author behind the nickname should be sued, that is a fact as well as the sting of libel. On top of it the article is plenty of derogatory statements and false information. Nadal has a record of 18 M1000, those so call "small tournaments" that according to whoever wrote this are skipped by Nadal, who actually was coughing while having the flu, and went only once to the locker room for treatment during AO injury... just some examples of un-accuracy, false information and facts manipulation. Tendinitis is cronic so it might be proven... whilst this article lacks of proof and evidence and should be banned and the author convicted for defamation under criminal law as undermining the right of reputation by publishing and playing creating suspicious.

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  101. Yes, Nadal should release all his drug testing results and prove this blog wrong. He should also tell us the innocent explanation for his missed test in 2009 and further show this blog the error of its ways. He might also release any information from the Fuentes investigation. I look forward to him providing all of that information and much more.

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  102. Throughout this article there is so much conjecture, rumor, and simply unfounded accusations that the author seems to be on a vendetta to insult and attack Nadal.
    With the kinds of "facts" listed and the guessing game over what the injuries were, what the diagnoses were, and the individual variables in any injury, this is clearly nothing more than an ad hominem attack.

    Thankfully, there are no legitimate experts who would even engage in such absurd allegations.
    The real give-away on this author's credibility is his anger that Nadal is so well-liked, so respected, and so gentlemanly that he is awarded various sportsmanship awards.

    There is so much shameful bashing in this article that I am embarrassed for the participants, especially, based on their "personal" insights while "on the case" of creating a slanderous bunch of garbage.
    This is totally pathetic writing.
    The better writing would reveal the writer's mental condition that has lead him to be so obsessed with Rafael Nadal. Sounds just creepy.

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  103. spewing such slander and accusations based on sheer conjecture, rumor, and unsubstantiated allegations (expected from this vile, envy-driven writer) is beyond distasteful; it is criminal libel.

    This entire attack is slander with so many falsehoods and inaccuracies that it quickly fails the smell test.
    What a loser that he must resort to efforts to discredit others. It's called :"projection."

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  104. @ pcoffee

    Is that you Fae Coleman? LOL

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  105. I just want to thank the author of this blog THASP,for not being afraid to address a subject many people suspect but are too afraid to talk about
    I have extensive experience with steroids,having used them myself as well as other banned substances like EPO and Clenbuterol
    I have suspected that Nadal ( along with many other players) has been been doping ever since his "incredible" summer in 08.The almost overnight improvement between the second week of Roland Garros to hammering Roger in the first 2 and a half sets in Wimbledon final is way too good to be true,especially considering how flat he was for the first quarter of the season
    The roid rage look on his face during that final just said it all LOL

    We saw it again last year with the miraculous "change of grip" that "added" another 10 mph to his first serve!!
    This blog is researched very thoroughly and presented in a very professional way.Those who oppose anything written on here should address each point or question posed and give a credible alternative.If its such a load of rubbish with no basis in fact it really shouldnt and wouldnt be hard to counter anything written here
    THASP keep up the good work!

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  106. I dont care cabout tennis (and so dont really know or care about these people individually) but I am interested in doping.

    You argue, fairly convincingly, that Nadal likes to get PRP therapy and, possibly, likes to exaggerate injuries. The problem is you never really connect PRP therapy to doping. Your entire connection between PRP and doping seems to be based on two things: (1) That another spanish athlete, at the instruction of another doctor, was told to fake injuries in order to get corticosteroid injections (not related to PRP); and (2) Another doctor unconnected to Nadal or Nadal's doctor, on another continent, performed similar therapy on other athletes and was caught bringing growth hormones from Canada to the USA (that may not have been related to PRP at all). This is kind of like saying "Charles Manson liked the Beatles and he was a serial killer, and Nadal also likes the beatles so..."

    It seems that Dr. Mikel Sanchez (Nadal's doctor for PRP) has never been accused of doping in any form, and none of the spanish operations implicated him in the least from the information I could find in a quick search. The WADA apparently has looked into PRP, sepcifically Dr. Sanchez's method, and determined it not to be doping.

    So really, without a stronger link between PRP and doping the whole thesis kind of falls apart. If I had severe tendonitis, and I could get a painful yet effective temporary treatment, I would also only do it before majors, and this would easily explain why he seems to do better at majors.

    Like I said, I find all this interesting so I hope you can reply and either provide at least better circumstantial evidence connecting PRP therapy to doping or admit that, really, its a flimsy link at best (it may be, I dont know, but I think its easily the weakest part of your thesis)...

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  107. I don't know last two commenters. Missed drug tests and that sudden explosion of muscles, which he expressly denies are the result of gym work, make me very suspicious. You are right that the rest involves a fair bit of speculation and conjecture. But rather than saying the comparison is to Charles Manson's affection for the Beatles, the better analogy is Lance Armstrong's relationship to his teammates. You just can't have superhuman qualities and pretend it's the result of superior genetics. Some people do have superior genetics, but that doesn't get them the kind of advantage a doped up player enjoys.

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  108. "sudden explosion of muscles, which he expressly denies are the result of gym work, make me very suspicious"..

    Even if you take anabolic steroids, dont you still have to go to the gym (or otherwise stress the muscles) to get them to grow? The gym allows you to push more weight and faster recovery, and allows the muscles to grow faster, but you still have to put in the work. So his claim that he got his guns without going to the gym is suspect, but I dont think it indicates steroids use...

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  109. Mr. Cool
    The connection between PRP and doping was discussed. The doctors like to give HGH and IGF-1 in addition to the platelet enrichment. Many athletes who have received PRP have doping suspicions surrounding them. The connection is this: If you get an exemption for PRP, which involves IGF-1 and HGH being reinjected into the body then you might wonder whether that by itself is providing performance enhancement. Moreover, if you were to come up positve on a drug test for IGF-1 and HGH after receiving a PRP treatment and you have a therapeutic use exemption, then presumably you have a pass for that postive test. How would we know whether you received additional IGF-1 and HGH? At this point there would be no way to prove it. Thus, if a player is receiving PRP treatments for an injury, they shouldn't be allowed to play for a few months, since we have no way of determining whether the growth factors in question provide a natural or even an unnatural boost of performance enhancement.

    ReplyDelete
  110. though most may deny it...everyone knows its true!!! what upsetting is that no one is going to do any thing about...especially if it involves Nadal!! its a pity because tennis is a beautiful sport..being degraded by dopers!!

    i mean the chair umps fear to give Nadal a time warning when its there for every one to see...you think they gonna expose him for drugs!!!

    Its a disgrace!!!

    but i appreciate the author of this blog for atleast being fearless to write about it!!!

    ReplyDelete
  111. The author's love for Federer is such that his need to bring Nadal down became an obssesion. There are other conspiracy theories out there, like the moon landing hoax, and US President Obama's birth place. There are convincing arguments in those as well, specially for the weaker mind.

    Is there doping in tennis? just as likely as in any other sport. Is Nadal doping? just as likely as Federer or any other top player is.

    To believe the ATP and other related entities are behind a cover-up for Nadal but not for Federer is plain absurd. Federer is the favorite player not only to fans but also to tennis businesses and organizers, not to mention the British royalty and Dubai oil billionaries.

    Now that Novak started to beat Roger (and everyone else) left and right, I can see how soon the conspiracy theory will be shifting to a new target. i.e. Did Novak really just make a change in his diet? He's so fit now even though not long ago fitness was his weaknees, also his increased level of concentration, uhmm... he must be doping and therefore only by means of cheating he can now defeat almighty Federer.

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  112. "Federer is the favorite player not only to fans but also to tennis businesses and organizers, not to mention the British royalty and Dubai oil billionaries."

    Now why would that be? Could they too have noticed that Federer is not merely an incomparable genius of a tennis player, but also the only top player they can be sure is clean?

    If what you say about British royalty and Dubai oil billionaries (sic) is true, it seems wealth and privilege have not dulled their powers of perception in this case.

    As for the ATP, it owes Federer a massive apology for covering up for Nadal all these years, and it knows that only too well.

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  113. Dear people,

    Nadal's case certainly seems to be suspicious, however, given the current evidence, it does not add up to certainty. As far as we know, there are no positive tests and there is no case for legal incrimination. At this point, although I highly suspect Nadal (and others), I consider him innocent and he should be treated this way.

    The real questions lie somewhere else. Why does such a sport as tennis have such a rotten doping system? Within cycling the war of power is still raging, agreed, but they do in fact at lest test their athletes. How come such a wealthy and powerful sport as tennis is lacking such a system? I think the problem lays just there, power and money.

    Of course, blogs as these about individual athletes can help, but the real problem lies within the government bodies of the sport. And it will take a revolution to change that (as it did within cycling, I think tennis could use a few scandals to initiate a cleansing process).

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  114. @elanfil, don't you think it could be because Fed is clean so it's a bit easier to cover up something that doesn't need covering up? Tell me, when has Fed ever dominated with the means Nadal and even Djokovic this year? As in, ridiculous defensive capabilities, being able to generate huge amount of power from off balance, dead run, or otherwise not optimal positions and with defective technique? Not to mention inhuman speed and stamina. Seriously, watch Nadal at the 2nd week of RG 08, the speed in which he was covering the court and complete lack of fatigue was out of this world.

    Now Fed in his prime was an astonishing athlete (pretty much 2nd behind Nadal in physical aspects but best in tennistical aspects of physicue, like reactions, anticipation, balance) but he didn't dominate with these means. It was the 1-2 punch (serve-FH), taking the ball extremely early, incredible variation to be able to adjust against any kind of player and generally superior skills combined with an incredibly aggressive mindset topped with great defence (but still within the realms of what is thought possible to a human) that made him so dominant. Lets put it this way; there was so many times I couldn't believe what Fed was able to do WITH HIS RACKET WHEN he got to the ball, but never was I as astonished HOW HE GOT TO THE BALL WITH HIS LEGS like I have been with mostly Nadal and occasionally Djokovic. He never spent matches constantly defending and could play return games less than 100% bc of his serve that allowed him to not fatigue. This is the difference of Fed's 2004-2007 compared to Nadal in 2008 or 2010 and in lesser ways to Djoko in 2011 that makes Fed less likely to be accused of doping, added to the fact he has far less suspicious activity than say Nadal, like THASP has proven.

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  115. I am really impressed with this blog! I've learned a lot and a lot of my suspicions are being validated. I hope you've tried twitter ( I'm sure you have) and corresponding with Cahill and others -- things eventually came out about Bonds and the rest. I wonder a lot why Armstrong gets spoken about and then somehow the charges fade away
    Do u think that it's basically the authorities of tennis, ATP ITF etc who are in"cahoots" with WADA.? To me it would be amazing if this all was spread out wide in the media like Baseball and cycling.. I still don't get why behind the scenes Federer doesn't try to make something happen to get the word out -- complicated!
    Again I appreciate the writer and this blog for opening my eyes -- it's sad but really important -- Thanks

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  116. Service improvement not down to drugs I'm afraid.

    http://tpatennis.net/the-truth-behind-nadals-improved-serve-it-wasnt-just-a-grip-change/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That doesn't explain how it came out of nowhere, "fast learner" or not. Creating greater speed with accuracy does not occur that quickly, it is a matter of muscle memory and training, not just learning. It still doesn't add up.

      Delete
    2. Also why, after developing a wonder weapon that enables you to blast all-comers off of the court, would you choose to use this for only one tournament?

      Delete
  117. I am wondering why same Rafa is loosing 6 matches with djokovik and mostly in slam... or are you suggesting that Djoker is taking stronger stereiods than Rafa... for the matter of fact how down and out Djoker of 2010 suddenly becmes champion...
    to be frank with you, i believe all sportsman take stereiods...so when they play each other they are equal..Are amstrong, agassi all have accepted it with no action...and i just watched Rafa/federer match aust open 2012..if federer is true why keeping quiet?
    why Rafa is the one speaking for the players ( at least in press)? i am totally lost and confused...i dont want to believe you or Rafa...if you think something is phishing try use facebook and it will get publicised in a matter of time

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  118. DJoker's doping is different than Rafa's. Rafa goes for superhuman strength. Dopervic goes for superhuman speed. So far, Djoker has had the better cocktail of PEDs in my opinion.

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  119. As CTUN said, Rafa Fan. Djoker is arguably a better player than Rafa - sorry to say that - so when their doping is similar (as it appears to have been since the start of 2011), Djoker wins. He may also now have better drugs - who knows for sure? Federer keeps quiet about it all because (a) like us, he has no absolute proof and (b) he knows the media and most players and officials would turn on him the instant he hinted at anything amiss - they all have too much to lose to risk discrediting the game, which they know is riddled with doping corruption. So Fed would simply be dismissed as a bad loser (as happened when he answered questions about the injury he played through at Wimbledon 2010). Also, as President of the players' council, Federer is the main spokesman for them. Rafa spoke about wanting to shorten the season (why? to avoid playing too many matches without the full drug cocktail?) because he was asked about that in a press interview. Rafa speaks only for a minority of top players - himself, Djoker and Murray above all. Lower-ranked players (who tend to lose early) generally do not want to shorten the season because they would then have less chance to win anything. Also, some tournaments would have to be cancelled. Federer speaks on behalf of the lower-ranked players, not just the top ones - which, to be fair, cannot be said of Rafa or the Djoker.
    I hope this helps.

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  120. very interesting web of lies that the cute Nadal has been spinning - what a way to live ones life?? What doesn't quite add up is that the boy was amazing from his very first appearances, surely you are not suggesting he was doping even then? As for his body (again he was big from the start), it is no bigger than my boyfriends body. My boyfriend is a keen w/e sportsman, and goes to the gym 1 or 2 a week. That Nadal is big & big on the left arm is hardly remarkable - the chunkyness is his body type.......just as Federer & Djokovic are lean.
    Anyway, the really fascinating thing would be to hear your views on the really rather remarkable Novak Djokovic, more or less rising out of the dust like an eagle.....And how come the supposedly drugged up Nadal has no answer for this late developing Wunderkind???

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  121. Your questions have been answered many, many times in this blog, ping. Seems you have read - or understood - very little of it so far.

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  122. I am surprised that in the main blog and in subsequent comments, no one has mentioned about skills needed play good Tennis and beat top players to win big tournaments. The debate is that somehow you manage to pump drugs into a player's body, then find some tricks to hide it from the doping tests and there you go, you can win whatever, wherever and whenever you want. If speed and stamina is the only thing that is needed to win Tennis matches then there have been many players in the history with these qualities. But they could not win even a single grand slam title. Stamina can make a player fit to play five sets but what about winning two of the first four sets to take the match into 5th. Without good game, one will loose in three. With power and speed alone, one cannot take sets from his opponents (when his opponent is also fresh). Are we discussing Tennis here or a 100m sprint or weightlifting?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. AK,
      I am surprised by your comment. There is no doubt that tennis players require elite skills. However, to think that this make performance enhancing drugs any less attractive to these athletes is naive. When players get tired does not their technique suffer? Do not skills and technique such as footwork, accuracy, and timing decline as players become fatigued? This makes PEDs very appealing for tennis players, no matter the skill level.

      Delete
  123. Forgot to add another factor - the "mind". It is often said that at the highest level, half the game is played in the mind. There have been stories in sports (and elsewhere) of extraordinary achievements by humans beyond their capabilities because of that "will to win".

    Which drug provides that will to win? The errors that starts coming from Federer (remember FedError) after a while are surely not because of the effect of the drug that Nadal took sometime ago. The blog presents a too simplistic picture of the professional Tennis. It wants us to believe that Tennis is a game like some of those computer games. You calculate that your strength and stamina and speed is a bit less than opponent so you need to add some 'power', therefore dup some doses of drugs and there you are, with more power added to beat the opponent. Hell with the skills and mental toughness and the "will" to win. What you need at the end of the day is just more power and more speed.

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  124. LOL...unbelievable article. Mere conjecture/speculation. You Fed fans are pretty childish. Rafa's top spin to Fed's backhand is the reason Rafa will forever dominate the Fed express. Nobody mentioned drugs when Fed was running down every shot from huge hitters like Andy Roddick and co and making it look easy. So please chill all o'ya ok. While Fed is obviously always going to be in the conversation for GOAT, he is not a better player than Nadal (as the head to head shows), and until Nadal turns up with a positive drug test, he is clean. As for the Joker, he is simply a pleasure to watch. Let's all just enjoy some great tennis and quit being cuckoo.

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    Replies
    1. Well said! This is mostly unsubstantiated drama.

      Delete
  125. haters...you just can't admit that nadal is one of the greatest ever

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  126. djokovici played five sets semifinal against murray at AO 2012 and played a six hours final againts nadal and win. So you gona tell me that djokovici is clean and nadal is not?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No. The majority of the regular followers of this blog are of the impression that Djokovic is likely benefiting from performance enhancing drugs also.

      Regardless, this shift of focus to Djokovic in no way refutes the claims made about Nadal.

      Delete
  127. This is one article amalgamating a number of different observations on Nadal. The fact that you are ignorant of the other articles on this website, making the same observations of other players (including Djokovic)leads me to believe that you are probably Nadal "fanboys" directed here by someone as equally as ill informed about this web site and what it is trying to achieve.

    This is not an anti-Nadal website, and although the author does not hide his preference for Federer over Nadal, Federer's missed drugs tests are also highlighted on here. It's just far easier to pull together an article like this about Nadal, because there is so much more circumstantial evidence and erratic behaviour coming from the Nadal camp.

    You will see the recent focus of this website has been heavily biased towards the ITF's drug testing procedures, regardless of the individual involved. Click through some of the recommended reading and I'm sure you'll learn something.

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  128. This is a load of crap. Maybe the focus should be placed back on the type of tests they use to test players for drugs. All of these assumptions are ridiculous until proven. Maybe time should not be wasted on assuming certain players are using drugs based on certain events or actions etc. There are too many variables that influence these assumptions. I say go back to the testing. Is the drug testing up standard? Is it reliable?.............

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  129. Given the history of the sport and other sports its certan that
    doping have been a big issue. And I like many other true fans of this great game would like to thuth about dopings inpact of modern tennis (2005+).
    But I think it might be doubish to questioning wether Nadal has weak knees or not and thinking he might use it as a excuse to get steroids or other forms of doping injections.
    I think most doctors and physiotherapists would expect any athlete to get
    sore knees if they were capable of moving like Nadal(atleast in his defence). I consider myself a fighter and got decent speed and agility. And I would expect to get sore knees if I could move like Nadal.
    Infact I would expect more knee problems than Nadal, so my gues is
    that he has strong knees given that he weighs 20 pounds+ more than me, and is 3 inches higher.
    Atleast I would be certain that Djokovic, Federer, Murray, ferrer amoung other players would need doping to challenge or beat him.

    If We then asumed That Federer also use doping. Then I would consider it highly unlikely that he(Federer) could have dealt with the pressure of been such a popular athlete for so many years. Given he is having the great character he has and the ammount of focus that has been on him for the past 10 years.
    I dont think it would have been possible for other doped athletes to deal
    with the ammount of focus that Federer has been for so many dayes of the in so many years.

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    Replies
    1. They are not "friends". They are colleague & they get along well, because the entire world watching them closely. Roger is nice to everybody. It may look Roger is extra nice to Nadal, because they are the biggest rivalry. Roger knows very well as a tennis player, what takes to do what Nadal does out on the court. Roger can't show his suspicious towards Nadal for the world to see it. Also they both are sponsored by NIKE. NIKE plays big role in the "rivalry" image like they did to Pete & Agassi. It's all for the image.
      Nadal is a doper, he always has been.

      Delete
  130. Great post! There is something that bugs me. Honestly until recently I was just a minor tennis fan, so I don't know a lot about everything and I discovered this blog 2 days ago. The thing that bugs me is not importand and is quite irrelevant, but it is sometnihg I just don't get it. Good relations between Federer and Nadal. I know they had a spat, but before that they were famouse for being friends. There is a chance that Federer is doping , that he doesn't have the proof, money issue, doesn't like smearing tennis and he is nice to basically evreyone, but with Rafa he is more then just polite. All those smiles, hugs, apologizing to Federer after winning AO, taking conffeti out of Nadal hair, football small talk... Federer does give a impression that he likes Nadal more then same other players. It really looks like there is a lot of respect between them. Is this just PR or they genuine like each other. Why would Federer be more then polite to someone who probably dopes and was ranked as no.1?

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  131. Very curious as to why you are heading what appears to be no more than a witch hunt against Rafa?!?!?

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    Replies
    1. From the perspective of looking for possible PED usage, Rafa has exhibited more suspicious behaviour than pretty much any player not named Serena Williams. That is THE reason for this blog entry, and the 'witch hunt'.

      Delete
  132. thoughts on combined wimby performance + not appearing in oly? cycling down or afraid of positive test results?

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  133. Nadal's inability to maintain his top level for a long period of time is extremely suspcious of cycling on and off drugs.

    November 2005-March 2008: he won 11 total titles in 29 months and only 2 off clay.

    April 2008-May 2009: he won 13 titles in 14 months, including 6 titles of clay, 2 of which were Grand Slams.

    June 2009-March 2010: won 0 titles in 10 months.

    April 2010-October 2011: won 6 titles in 7 months, including 2 Grand Slams off clay.

    November 2011-present: has won 7 titles in 17 months, but zero off clay.

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  134. What is to be made of Nadal's extended absence now? Not long after Wimbledon some people were saying he was going to be serving a silent drugs ban (does such a thing exist?), talk was of a 6 months ban. I don't know where this came from. He was supposedly out with knee problems. As the months went on, it seemed strange to me that the knee was causing such a long break, and i came to expect a return for tomorrow's Australian Open, which happens to be 6 months after Wimbledon. His knee was supposedly improved, but 3 weeks ago he pulled out of the event with a virus and now supposedly may not be back till late February.

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  135. Just Lol!! this is BS!!! So, every other top ten player with injury is taking drugs? Still you don't get it? is the way he plays hard like no other player and that is why is prom to injuries more so than others. That whole analysis you just made, makes me admired more this guy with all this injuries and setbacks with 11GS, and 0thers atp awards, got to be #1 and on top longer than anyone else in his era!! All I can say to this writer is that he needs to be careful when writing BS like this. Rafa afer all is human and we don't know if he ever been threaten with a serious problem, for example Serena almos lost her life in the hospital with blood clots so are we to assume that she is taken drugs, faking injury? she almos took a year off!! He you did see Rafa inject, eat what ever way to introduce this drugs don't and we can assume anything about nobody!!! Vamos Rafa!!!!

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    Replies
    1. Did we have to see Lance Armstrong injecting or eating drugs to know what he and others were doing in Cycling?

      These dodgy doctors seem to have a lot of different sports people on their books.

      Ah well hopefully the truth will come out in the end..

      Delete
  136. interesting to see how Novak and Delpo comment on Nadal's incredible recovery. they're surprised, but 'maybe they shouldn't be surprised, as that's the unique Nadal'. for him everything is possible. guess, thy guys have to speak in understatements. but, they must be praying that the drugs agency clean up their act and become serious sooner rather than later. or, we'll have to wait for dozens of admissions like with Armstrong.

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  137. Sorry I wasted any time reading this drivel..reminds me of low grade rumor that Michael Jordans stint in baseball was in lieu of a suspension from the NBA..not for doping,mind you but gambling..just as ridiculous and unfounded as this nonsense.Finally,the Rafa Nadal I've been watching all these years has never had this "Incredible hulk"physique so many seem to imagine.

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    Replies
    1. Mike was suspended for gambling. You are very naive.

      Delete
  138. This article is not addressing the fact that Nadal is still amazing athlete with tremendous will power. However I personally don't doubt he has been doping, too many things talk against him...
    One day it all will be revealed (at least to some extent).

    But Nadal is not alone, Tennis has a doping problem. Wish the writer wouldn't have stopped updating cause the strange behavior sure didn't end in 2011 for Nadal. . .

    In this article you'll find the possible explanation for the strange absence Nadal had:
    http://www.tennisnow.com/News/Doping,-Tennis,-Nadal---Connection-.aspx
    And to me it also explains after all the success he had, the almost obsessive need to cite the knee problem even after victories...
    It's clear that everyone needs to know he had a serious knee problem, but now after 8 finals, and all the running, this shallow knee which was first still bothering, seems to be totally fine. All the stress it had in this short time actually healed it fully. Sure. Believe it if you want to.
    His achievement now back is still amazing, but I for one don't believe it's all 'natural' . . .

    And after Spanish court has decided to destroy the evidence, Murray comments this to be suspicious. Then Nadal speaks out, there is no better way to try to give the appearance that his name was not in there than to judge it all ( you don't see other tennis players wanting voluntarily their name so strongly attached to the case, he knows many to be thinking that Nadal is connected to it all... )
    Here you'll find article quote: http://forum.sportal.com.au/viewthread.aspx?t=91449

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  139. Please Sen, keep updating this legacy article started by THASP. Lots of shenanigans from the Nadal camp since 2011 to add, methinks.

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  140. Stranger events (and more fabrications) have happened/occurred this was last updated. I really hope you update this article.

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  141. After the French Open win yesterday, Nadal told the commentator that he 'really didn't practice much' for about 7 months.

    What is his point in saying that? Does he want everyone to believe he's just a natural out on the court? How disrespectful is that to the other players who (some) work their butts off to stay competitive at the top level?

    I've seen them all deny it...McGuire, Armstrong, Sosa, Palmeiro, Bonds, Clemens, etc. And they all had their staunch supporters, like some in this forum. I'd bet my house that Rafael Nadal is using PEDs and has been for years.

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    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. Well said. My thoughts exactly.

      Delete
  142. After the French Open win this weekend, Nadal told the commentator that he 'didn't really practice' for about 7 months.

    What is his point in saying that? Is it so important to him that the world thinks he's a 'natural' at this point? How disrespectful is it to other, clean players who train their butts off every day just to remain competitive at the top?

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  143. Its funny how you are trying to justify his quick recoveries with the use of steroids and other illegal substances when in other sports with known strict doping control it also happens. Nadal's treatment involved plasma injections in the knee joint combined with a strict rest period that lasted several months.

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  144. I do not think that the officials are so dumb to miss all that. I expect many scientists to be among them that should have raised these doubts earlier and found a way to do something about it. However, I must salute the great effort the writer exerted.

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  145. the great rafa lose in the first round of wimbledon??? hmm...he forgot to get his injections treatment...lol...the atp/wada/itf need to seriously cracked down on this sport for steroid cheaters just like the way baseball or cycling was done. this sport is forever ruin by this travesty.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. NEED A WHISTLE BLOWER.
      ATP/ITF/WADA protecting big names tennis players for competition and bring money.

      Delete
    2. @savetennis, i totally agree with you.

      Delete
  146. It will be interesting to see where Nadal goes from this Wimbledon 2013 1R defeat. We could see throughout this 1R match that he was limping and showing signs of knee pain. What amazes me is that he has never had knee pain or injury during Clay season. Except in 2009 when Soderling genuinely outclassed him there. I suspect he will play a few tournaments to show he is still participating and everything is normal. Probably he will have a decent hard court season as it does less damage to the knees. But rest assured I do think he dopes it's pretty clear, just needs to be revealed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well he's won another Masters title in Montreal.

      Delete
    2. he won cause his knee got treatments that it needed, now lets hope it will last thru the US OPEN>..He's gonna need it, cause hardcourts takes its toll on your knees more so than clay.

      Delete
  147. Looks like some tennis writers have started to directly speak out against Nadal especially since his miraculous comeback in 2013. Check this out from a guy called Michael Emmett:

    http://oncourt.ca/?p=6329
    Michael Emmett: “Is There a Connection between Rafa and Lance?”

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  148. After winning Montreal Nadal said in interview: 'After a period of time when you were not allowed to do what you really wanted to do . . . '

    'You were not allowed' ?

    Ok can be just a phrase, way to say that injury is keeping you away...
    Probably not a translation thing , cause also in spanish it's a whole different thing when you refer to injury.
    Could be Freudian slip, if he was not allowed to compete.
    And your bound also to have at least some guilt about doping ( even if you justify it on bases that many others also do the same ) , and sometimes people then go closer to truth than what they intended to make themselves feel better . . .

    But let's say his 7-month absence was about legal battle concerning positive test ( I believe this is real possibility...maybe his legal team got some shadow over the issue, or they were able to just plainly buy or get to to ATP and ITF to keep quiet... they would lose a lot if Nadal gets caught , blow would be really bad to the sport . I'm sure they could find a circumstance which would give them enough rope to keep it all 'quiet' ) .

    Well thought I share this ' not allowed ' interview moment ... from Nadal it just sounds so strange ...
    And yes I belong to those who are certain of him doping. Been lately writing some in ATP pages and Tennis.com .... it's crazy how people don't see the obvious. Some even crack down the fact that he cycles, away long times on 'injury' and always back even stronger. And their conclusion is that he is just a superman who is injured and when back , just phenomenal , when there is a lot more clearer explanation what goes on in those breaks . . .

    People just don't want to see the obvious. I guess many grave for 'heroes' so much , that they just rather be blind than actually look at it all openly . . .

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  149. Makes you wonder what that Dick head John Fahey prerogative is. So many similarities between Rafa and LA. Like he is completely blind to this performance over the past few months since a "career threatening" injury and the guy goes undefeated on the worst surface for said injury.

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  150. I'm not particularly a fan of Rafael Nadal, and I dont particularly enjoy his brand of tennis, but I have to say : this is a pretty flimsy article full of conjecture founded on next to nothing. And to add insult to injury the author has presented it as if it were compelling bordering on certainty.

    A couple of things...

    Pace of a 200m runner and endurance of a marathon runner?! Nadal looks wrecked after some long rallies, and takes a bloody eternity between points to allow himself maximum recovery time. He's a fantastic athlete, sure, but much like Djokovic and Murray, I think he's just an example of a new generation of better athletes. In fact, I'd posit that Murray is quicker and that Djokovic more durable. Also, Nadal looks very very human when he comes up against people who can deal with his topspin and impose their own styles on him. He doesnt look anywhere near as physically commanding when a Delpo or a Tsonga or someone starts leaning in, taking the ball on the rise, hitting over it and driving him back. He also falls off the ball if you can go at him with enough depth. A large amount of what makes Nadal look superhuman is his domination of Roger Federer, but that owes primarily to the fact that their games match up perfectly for him. His best shot goes into Roger's weakest, and Roger does not like the ball up high at all.

    Also, physically, Nadal isnt all that big or muscular. Yes, he kinda is by tennis standards, but he's still fairly slight at the same time. The only bulky-ish part is his biceps and they're still pretty average. I play a rake of sports, including racquet sports, and I'm far heavier built than Nadal. His physique is not one that couldnt be built without hitting the iron.

    And he beat Fed at Wimbledon because of steroids? Funny, because you coulda pumped Albert Costa or Guillermo Coria full of anabolic steroids, HGH, EPO and whatever else, and they'd still have got trounced. Nadal showed signs of improving his game on grass steadily. The ball tends to kick and slide off the grass in a way that worked for him. I dont see any mystery in it. I personally think that lots of other players simply went about playing him the wrong way on grass, and that once a template was set he's been pretty beatable.

    I think he stuck up for Gasquet because they know each other forever, played in the Juniors, etc. And while Gasquet's excuse was rubbish, I dont think the Frenchman took cocaine with a view to achieving any performance gain. Wrong type of drug, so unless he's as lousy at drug-selection as he is with shot-selection.

    Im not saying that Nadal is NOT doping, just that the case above is pretty thin and shouldnt be overstated.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gasquet's excuse was INITIALLY SUPPLIED BY NADAL! So, it was Nadal who was the progenitor of the "rubbish" excuse. Plus, your, "improved steadily on grass" statement shows you are making false statements to bolster your patently weak argument. In Nadal's only major junior tourney in 2002 was Wimbledon ---- HE WAS A SEMIFINALIST!

      Additionally, your portrayal of Wimbledon's courts are courts that haven't existed at the All-England Club since 2000 (the scene of one of the greatest tennis matches in the history of the game, a round of 16 match - Fed v. Sampras... it would serve you to watch it because it is one of the last matches where you can see tennis as it SHOULD be played on all surfaces other than clay). Just two years later myriad players were claiming that the Wimbledon courts were slower than the clay courts at Gstaad!... interestingly, the same year Nadal made his junior Wimbledon semifinal run.

      You betray your initial lie of claiming not to be, "particularly a fan of" Nadal. You doth protested too much early on to type such an impassioned defense of Nadal the remainder of your comment.

      Finally, do a little research. The doctor who Uncle Tony approached to dope Rafael was the same doctor convicted of doping various top Spanish athletes. Because he was under investigation at the time he turned down Tony's request (he knew Tony from pro soccer days), but turned Tony onto his doping protege... and said convicted doctor admitted as much to many Euro periodicals, saying he was willing to give sworn testimony to these facts (but, oddly, was never called on to do so when it came to Nadal)! And no, I'm no giving you the names. You, quite obviously, have the same access to the Internet as I do.

      Aaaaand... Nadal's continued very real injuries, especially to his joints? That's because he began doping before his body stopped growing. It's not rocket science, only rudimentary human physiology.

      Meantime, keep bouncing on those balls. I'm sure Nadal loves all the aid from his sycophant fans!

      Delete
    2. Great post Niall. Good to see some common sense being talked. Despite the hysterical reply from D-Wil, you are clearly and demonstrably right that Nadal improved on grass prior to 2008. Anyone who doubts that can't do basic arithmetic: 2006, beaten by Fed three sets to one; 2007, beaten by Fed three sets to two; 2008, beats Fed three sets to two. All you need to understand that is the ability to count to five.

      Simple facts, not opinion. Something sorely lacking on this site.

      Delete
    3. PS I'm baffled by D-Wil's reference to a round of 16 match between Fed and Sampras at Wimbledon in 2000. No such match took place. There was one a year later, could that be what he's referring to? This from a guy who seems to think he has a command of the facts, who tells others to "do a little research"? If you can't even use Google properly, it's perhaps not a great idea to be lecturing everyone else about their research skills.

      Baffled too by his implication on the one hand that Nadal's injuries are faked to avoid testing, and on the other that his injuries were caused by doping before he stopped growing. Um ... does he have injuries or doesn't he?

      And while we're on the subject of contradictions, is Nadal's success due to a conspiracy to hide his doping or to a conspiracy to change the court surfaces to suit him? Oh, right, it's both. I see. How silly of me not to have noticed before. Rafa is responsible for not just one but two conspiracies.

      The words, "what the f*ck am I doing even reading such paranoid lunacy" spring to mind. Time to get back to the real world.

      Delete
  151. Ok, so Nadal gets to US Open final. If one of his fans come around, I ask , where is the bad knee ? It's really been troubling through this comeback... Already wrote about this but there are fans on open forums writing how there is nothing special about this comeback, cause his done it so many times, always when injured, he storms back...
    Hmmm... could there be a little more logical explanation to it than him being a superman, doing something that about no-one else is capable of after injuries (well , except Armstrong ) ( I look to the skies ) .

    Many of you know about doctor Fuentes, to whom rumors claim Nadal was connected to ( both live in the islands of Spain, there is straight plain routes between Mallorca and Canaria). This connection though has never been proven. Fuentes has said : “I worked with cyclists but also footballers, boxers, tennis players and athletes,”....
    We all know the spanish court decided to destroy the evidence in this case which became known as Puerta. In my understanding there are people trying to overrule this now, but my guess is won't happen... All we can hope that the interviews within court come out, and maybe more names. Fuentes has told how many footballers were on his list, and that he has shown medical records of players for Real Betis, Sevilla, Valencia, Real Madrid and Barcelona, with detailed doping plans for an entire season... so they want to keep it hidden... football being the holy grail there ...
    The world cup they won could be history if truth gets out, keeping secrets fits them better .
    I wonder though how long this Fuentes is going to live, he has received death threads, and obviously he could give out many names... If he would write a book one day, lot of damage ... Hopefully they let him be, but if I would be him , I would definitely be watching behind by back , in case of some strange accident occurs ...

    Ok back to Nadal. I personally don't have much against him, his a nice dude in core , pushed into uncle Toni's program ( my believe anyhow).
    What irritates me is the fact that the highest authorities keep covering up for him... Before this long break took place , something more than an injury happened, positive test, maybe strange substance... then deal to keep away ? I'm quit sure there is a cover-up going on , and possibly this wasn't even the first one.
    And that really is the thing that gets to me, that because of money the authorities rather try to keep the clean image intact than let the chips fall... It's all about money. As long as those who profit from the sport are somehow connected to doping control, no stars will be stained, they can disappear for a while though ...

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  152. Serena is another good example of someone clearly doping and being guarded to some extent. Who really believes the panic room incident ? After all you've been a pro for years and you know doping testers arrive early in the morning. Instead you asking who this person outside your house is, you lock yourself to panic room and call the police. It is recorded fact that because of this she denied giving doping sample after police arrived, being in state of panic and all... those who know about out-of-competition doping , know that there are days you know you are glowing , and when you should never give an sample, avoid at all cost... Her trick worked, no sample, and strangely enough no warning, possible ban for denying to give a sample... Ok no-one knows for sure, but what took place was extremely suspicious...
    So Nadal is not alone , far from it, the way doping been controlled in tennis , it's no wonder people try this and that ....
    But why Nadal has had so much of this behavior which is suspicious ?
    Is it because he dopes harder than most ? or what is it, I've been thinking... thoughts anyone ?
    And to those Nadal fans who wonder here and don't know about doping, most of it happens when you are not competing , yes in the island of Mallorca . And even then it's not easy to catch them , cause lot of stuff shows very short time, and the doctors are all the time coming up with new methods, hopefully undetectable... if you got the money, skies the limit ... Very popular recovery method is blood transfusion, and this one you have to do between matches, it is the thing which has allowed us to witness these days some of top names, to play long back to back matches with amazing intensity. Sure it's possible to some extent with clean ways, but does someone really believe that in few years athletes just got so much better that many are exploring these almost non-human measures in recovery without a little help from their friend ...
    Reading Hamilton's Secret Race ( well I listened to it, great audiobook ) , gives you a clear understanding how easy and beneficial it is to dope, and if the controls are not that strict , you have to be almost stupid to get caught ... or you make a mistake ...
    I really recommend reading the book to all whom want to learn about this subject, even if you believe that Nadal is clean and always has been. The book is about cycling, but it's written in truly captivating way, it don't matter if you like the sport, story unfolding is gripping.
    And unlike some wrote in other forums, Nadal don't get mentioned in the book, only indications that Fuentes was dealing with athletes from various sports ...

    Ok my rant for the day is over : )
    Everyone have a good one, and enjoy the finals today & tomorrow ...
    I believe it's possible that all four have doped some, so it could be at least somewhat even playing field ...

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  153. The farce continues unchecked

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  154. The more I've watched Nadal play since Wimbledon, the more I suspect he intentionally threw that match against Darcis.

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  155. I am passionate about sport, a big fan of Federer, and really concerned about doping.
    I am convinced that a majority of athletes today or recent years/decades have doped.
    This article is interesting, but one of the thing I don't agree with is that we shouldn't mix doping with anti-fairplay. Nadal is one of the less fair-play champion of all-time, in any sport (even worst than Schumacher!). But it doesn't mean he cheats! It's not because every time he loses he pretends to be injured, and his ego is so strong that to prove he was really injured he prefers not to play for months. This is of course a theory.
    The problem in tennis, and also in soccer, is that no one is trying to do something against doping. Cyclism is now better, or cleaner, because there are so many controls throughout the year, and investigations on teams, and entourage (for instance, search of trash bins/hotel rooms, investigation on team doctors,...) and there's none in tennis/soccer. no controls, no investigation. And this is because these sports are so popular and generate so much money that they prefer to pretend it's clean. Even now we have proofs that Juventus Turin had been doping when they won the champions league 15 years ago, without mentioning huge doubts on the german team in the 1954 world cup.
    Some people argue that soccer/tennis is just about technique, and this is why cyclism is so enclined to doping compared to other sports. This is so BS. If you have same skills/techniques as your opponent, but the latter is on steroids, he will have more power and more stamina, and you'll finally lose against him. So of course there's doping in tennis, and Nadal is probably a good example, as many others. But there's no proof as today, and we'll probably never know the truth about him or others if the ITF doesn't decide to really fight doping.

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  156. And also for those who defend Nadal and other players saying that they have never been tested positive, this is exactly the problem. There should be investigations, as when someone is accused of something. If you commit a murder (I know the comparison may be a bit over the top), you don't have to get caught while doing it, but you can be proved a murderer thanks to other evidences. Why couldn't it be the same for doping? Instead of just relying on tests that are always one step behind doping methods, they should work with other evidence of doping, such as testimonies, as in any trial.
    Lance Armstrong proved that the test can be overruled quite easily, so new methods should be used.

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  158. I've always preferred to go on hearsay rather than pure fact. So I found this article to be ideal.

    The use of inverted commas instead of truth was perfection.

    The talent towards conjecture has to be admired.

    If he wins a tournament he is using PED's. If he loses, well of course he is using an injury to mask the direct need to go and have more injected into his body.

    I enjoy a conspiracy theory as much as anyone, but this is pure conjecture.

    Never read so much bullshit

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  159. There are too many flaws in this article to identify them all (life is short, after all) but the main one is this. The pattern of behaviour that the author believes he has identified is supposedly so absurd that anyone with even a passing interest - including a random internet blogger - could spot it. Ergo the doping authorities must be aware of it, and indeed the author effectively says as much. The logical conclusion is that the authorities have conspired with Nadal to hide his doping.

    So far, so good. But here's the problem. If they're conspiring with Nadal, why are they doing it in such an absurd way? Why do it so that random internet amateurs can spot it? More to the point, why decimate Rafa's career by forcing him to miss multiple slams (including the prestige of defending his first Wimbledon win)? Why not do something more subtle, and less destructive to Nadal?

    Since this article was published, the pattern of Nadal's injuries has totally changed - at least twice. First he had a long period of relative injury-freedom (in which he was regularly beaten by Djokovic - was that part of the conspiracy?), then he lost to Rosol, when he was clearly injured, then he missed SEVEN MONTHS, then he came back, then he lost to Darcis (someone who would barely win a game off him if he were fit), then he missed NO TOURNAMENTS AT ALL, then he plays every hardcourt tournament he entered and won every single match he played.

    In short, nothing about the "pattern" supposedly identified in this article makes any sense at all. In such cases, Occam's razor applies - namely, all other things being equal, the simpler explanation is most likely to be correct. And the simpler explanation in this case is as follows. Nadal has dodgy knees. Always has had. I have one myself (skiing accident) and can testify that, as an orthopaedic surgeon told me at the time, you have good days and you have bad days, and you never really know which you're going to have tomorrow.

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  160. are you serious? i watch the final and all i saw all those long rallies and your boy NADAL is not even breathing hard at all while djoker is....he practically look like he can go another 5 setter to me...this is a tragedy,the trophies are going to someone who is clearly not a even playing field while someone who is doesnt have a chance to win it...write that in the history books if tennis will want to stay clean...

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  161. back in 2003-2004 nadal who? the guy burst onto the scene after he hurt his ankle, he probably was given peds/steriods to help recover and was hook from that moment on he enter his first french open in 2005 and won it and never look back since..why settle for being the tour without winning majors but if given the right shots you will have the ability to win majors and make millions??? where's the doctors office at i be there..

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  162. Perhaps u should inform better about ALL players, u name it. PED's Paul dorochenko: Bruguera... Moya... FEDERER.

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  163. Noah, then Rochus, then Tursunov, now Koellerer.. players & ex players keep hinting about it... Is there smoke without fire?

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