Monday, December 2, 2013

Year In Review: Loose Ends

There was a great deal of attention paid to doping in the sport this year by both players and the media, but the real story of 2013 was loose ends from the past that cast a shadow over the sport...

The first loose end emerged in February with an article by Jacquelin Magnay of the Telegraph titled "International Tennis Federation to increase testing on players linked to Dr Luis García del Moral." Magnay wrote that "anti-doping bodies remain concerned that some players may be continuing to work with Del Moral despite the warning and have therefore increased the level of testing undergone by those under suspicion." The ITF claimed to have investigated the TenisVal-Del Moral connection in 2012, but no details about that investigation have been disclosed, beyond the fact the ITF interviewed some players. It remains to be seen if the ITF stepped up testing on former clients of Dr. Del Moral.

The second loose end dominating 2013 was Wayne Odesnik. In June, Nick Harris at Sporting Intelligence published transcripts that revealed Odesnik provided the ITF with information related to both matching fixing and doping. However, to date, no anti-doping violation has been linked to information provided by Odesnik. Additionally, Odesnik was tied to the Biogenesis/doping clinic scandal that enveloped Major League Baseball. The ITF claimed they were investigating the Biogenesis situation, but, similar to the case of Del Moral, neither details nor anti-doping violations have emerged.

Also, Alex Duff of Bloomberg reported that a "former Spanish [Tennis] federation president, said in an interview in Madrid last week that “many times” tennis authorities have kept cases secret." Unfortunately, these allegations do not appear to have been investigated any further.

One loose end that 2013 resolved was provisional suspensions. The Marin Cilic decision revealed publicly for the very first time that a player could fabricate an excuse to withdraw from a tournament when they were in fact serving a provisional suspension due to an alleged anti-doping violation. Many in the tennis media seemed surprised that this could occur, which served to highlight the widespread lack of understanding about anti-doping rules.

One good news story of 2013 was the increased interest in anti-doping issues by the tennis media, especially those in the United Kingdom. Simon Cambers has continued to impress with his interviews (like this one with Don Catlin). Nick Harris's Odesnik piece was also strong and represented a rare piece of investigative journalism in tennis.


For 2014, the ITF's test distribution plan, transparency and, more importantly, the quality and rigor of their approach to investigating potential anti-doping rule violations must continue to be questioned and probed. One area of particular interest is the storing and retesting of samples. For example, it is unknown whether the ITF has retested any stored samples of former clients of Dr. Del Moral (or whether the ITF even possesses stored samples to retest). The details on how the ITF intends to analyze biological passport data is also unknown.

Thanks for your continued support,

SnR

71 comments:

  1. Thanks, SNR, for your continued work on this site.

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    1. hey nice post mehn. I love your style of blogging here. The way you writes reminds me of an equally interesting post that I read some time ago on Daniel Uyi's blog titled The 2 Forms Of Personal Development And How They Can Help You Grow .
      keep up the good work.

      Regards

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    2. yes thanks very much

      but what's point?

      PRP aka blood doping is legal on ATP (seems not at WTA)

      02 EGG is legal on ATP

      not opening door & calling police on "test officials" is ok with WTA

      all commentators EURO & US on TV are "amazed" ,"impressed" & "astonished" by athletic abilities of today's players but even a hint of something illegal is not mentioned !

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  2. Murray is very sensible, logical, sincere and articulate on the topic. Watch this video interview from the BBC:

    http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/tennis/24875821

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    1. Looks like Murray is tired of drinking the gluten-free kool-aid. We need more athletes and reporters to "just say no" to Stuart Miller's gluten-free kool-aid.

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  3. Moving forward, it's good that tennis is testing more, but the cheats are often better than the testing.

    To beat them, IMO, we need to target the suppliers (and the criminal activities around doping), the importers from unregulated markets (via customs, as they do in Australia), increase the time that samples are retained as a deterrent, and make it clear that team members knowingly supporting doping athletes will also be sanctioned (not rewarded, contractually, if their charge is banned).

    This is a big ask, I know, but it's where the big pay-off will come, IMO. Public awareness is growing, and the tide of public opinion might incentivize the right people to ramp up the struggle against this blight on sport.

    SnR, THASP, thanks for keeping the pressure on........

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  4. Good post Sen, many loose ends this year. "Stuart Miller launch a proper investigation where there is media scrutiny of the outcome and/or process?" "HAHA, nice one."

    The Murray video was good, too. It wouldn't work for me but found it easily on you tube. We had all read the quotes resulting from this interview, but there was more punch, more of a patronising feel (re Cilic and Troicki) than came across in mere print. Good to see too, we need more interviews like this and less like Dopervic's.

    Unrelated, does anyone else remember a guy from tennis past called Robin Soderling? His situation seems shadier by the month/year given all the recent silent ban facts we now know (and always did). I know mono can last ages, but if he does not have chronic fatigue syndrome (related to it), which we have not heard anything about, he must be ready to return by now?

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    1. Robin is really stepping it up. He's now into "developing" high quality "technical tennis gear" ..... aka tennis balls.

      http://www.rs-tennis.com/

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  5. If it was a silent ban, no reason it needs to be this long (seeing as how they set their own rules). Or he wasn't dumb enough to use a false story ala Troicki and Cilic. It is possible and I think he does have something that is affecting his return to tennis. Is it Mono? That remains to be seen. Several athletes have claimed to have mono and I would not be surprised if there is a lot of sex going on in the ATP/WTP tours, hence the contaminations.

    One would think Fed would have his pick of women ;) (He did claim to have had mono right?)

    In any case, very fishy case, like Mardy Fish (no pun intended). Soderling has pretty much dropped out of the ATP rankings and if it indeed was a silent ban, I would think he would try to expose that and use it as leverage. "Either let me play or I talk"

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    1. The "let me play or I talk" threat does not work because (1) it is more than just the ITF involved with "promoting the sport" and (2) the only thing people would hear when he talked was that he tested positive.

      So, let's say he does come out and say "I tested positive for XXX, but the ITF gave me a silent ban and said just don't play for a couple years and we keep quiet." Sure, a couple people here at THASP would say "See, we told you." But most people would say, "Ok, you tested positive and were banned, and now you are unhappy because you didn't publicize it yourself sooner?" I mean really, it takes two parties to keep the secret. So coming out 2 years later and saying "The ITF is corrupt because they kept a secret" is stupid because you are just as corrupt for keeping the same secret.

      In addition, there are many individuals and entities involved in promoting the sport. Let's say Soderling wants to pursue a career in broadcasting -- not possible if he "talks." Let's say he wants to be a coach -- what player would hire an admitted doper? Let's say he wants to start an academy -- what parent would enroll their child with an admitted doper?

      Seriously, look at all the "whistleblowers" in sports -- people like Landis, Hamilton, etc. Who has ever come out ahead in that game?

      Obviously though your point that a "silent ban" would likely never last this long also explains why there would be be no need to threaten talking to the media. Something is going on, but a "silent ban" just doesn't make sense at this point in time.

      Ok, so if Soderling wants to go work at McDonald's the rest of his life, I guess this strategy might work, but for anything else he would just be shooting himself in the foot to make a statement that no one really cares about.

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    2. Yeah he would be shooting himself in the foot no doubt about it, but if his reported career earnings (10 million) are to believed true, assuming he saved a quarter of that, he could live on a $100,000 budget for the next 25 years. He even mentioned he "doesn't need to rush into playing since he pretty much does not need to work for the rest of his life." It will be 2 years since he has played this coming January, we shall see soon if anything comes about his mononucleosis saga.

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  6. I don't know if it's of any relevance but any of you has any info about Djokovic's testing in a davis cup match in belgrade? I've read in commments that the testing procedure lasted nearly five hours. Some people suspect it was because the "I know more than you think" comment that Dojokovic said in Troicki's doping case.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/tennis/10453488/Novak-Djokovics-comments-in-wake-of-Viktor-Troicki-ban-prove-that-the-tennis-family-is-too-dysfunctional.html
    http://www.asapsports.com/show_interview.php?id=94368

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  7. http://sport.blic.rs/Tenis/243302/Evo-kako-su-se-doping-kontrolori-svetili-Novaku-zbog-komentara-o-kazni-Troickom

    Raise your voice against the modus operandi of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), and you will get a "special treatment". This is what happened to Novak Djokovic shortly after he commented on one-year suspension of Viktor Troicki. In the middle of Davis Cup finals, he got a retaliation from WADA supervisors, in the form of four and a half hours of "detention for athletes".

    At first, John Fahey, WADA president, rebuked Djokovic saying that he "does not know what this agency is doing." Then WADA switched from words to deeds in order to educate him, in Belgrade, during the Davis Cup finals.

    Djokovic was called for a doping control during the doubles match. Naturally, he responded, but neither he nor Serbian team could guess what is going to happen.

    WADA controllers detained Novak for 4.5 hours in "detention room for athletes". He has to spend such a long time in a specially selected Belgrade Arena locker room, with the explanation that his „urine sample is not of sufficient quality“ (for the analysis).

    During the four and a half hours, Djokovic was not allowed to leave the room, and he was asked to eat repeatedly in order to make his urine sample "good enough for analysis". Luckily, his fourth urine sample was finally "good" (thick and yellow).

    Professor dr Zdeslav Milinkovic, doctor in the Davis Cup team of Serbia, explained for the Sport Journal the newest regulations from WADA:

    "The inconvenience that happened to Novak on Saturday is the result of stricter requirements for urine sample, which has to adhere to new requirements for specific weight and color". In his opinion, this is wrong attitude by the agency, because when an athlete like Djokovic follows a balanced diet and rehydratation regime, his urine will not be turbid and dark yellow as expected by WADA, but clear and without high concentration of metabolic waste products that cause dark yellowish color.

    He was with Djokovic the whole time in the "detention room".

    "Novak was called after the training, and he had to provide 4 urine samples and eat repeatedly in order to make his urine in accordance with prescribed criteria. He was not allowed to leave the room and be with his team mates during an important match in a team competition, such as Davis Cup".

    "With all due respect to WADA, I think that separating the most important team member from the rest of his team during the critical match, reflects absence of any feelings for the sport, and represents intimidation of athletes", concluded Prof dr Milinkovic for the "Sport Journal".

    What do you think? An intimidation act to control whatever Djokovic has to say about doping?

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    1. Well, WADA does not conduct any test, so it is not clear how WADA would detain or intimidate Djokovic. WADA does not have any new regulations regarding urine samples and the next set of new regulations do not go into effect until 2015, so it is not clear what this is referring to. Tests are conducted by the ITF through a third party commercial service and lab.

      There has long been a policy that athletes provide a urine sample of "specific gravity." You can read the WADA guidelines here: http://www.wada-ama.org/Documents/Resources/Guidelines/WADA_Urine_Sample_Collection_Guidelines_V5.0_EN.pdf (Note that the regulations are dated February 2010, so I guess three years old is "new.")

      In any case, this technique of providing invalid samples is a long used method by dopers. Essentially, as long as you continue to drink large quantities of water, a sufficient sample will not be provided. A lot of stimulants have short detection periods, so if you do get selected, you can delay the test for several hours by drinking a lot of water and thus not providing a sufficient sample -- essentially, your urine is just water at that point, so any drug test will not show anything as being out of range. Then, when you finally do provide a sample, it will just barely meet the minimum requirements and any trace of the stimulant will likely not exceed the threshold.

      In any case, the rules are clear that once selected, the athlete must be supervised until he provides a suitable sample. However, there is nothing that requires that he be isolated in a room. A chaperone could have accompanied him to the court to watch the match, but apparently decided not to do this for whatever reason. Given that he was providing numerous samples, it would not make sense to be walking back and forth from the match repeatedly. Given that he was eating and that this had to be monitored as well, it made sense to keep him in a room.

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    2. Sounds like Djokovic kept watering down his urine, either by drinking massive amounts of water or adding water to his sample. In either case, it would be to hide doping. The idea that his urine was not concentrated enough because of a special diet is bogus. We are talking about FOUR urine samples in the space of several hours. If he was truly drinking enough water to cause that, he would be water intoxicated and could not even play a match. He's a doper. Maybe they went after him as a retaliation as you say, but that does not change the fact that he was probably trying to hide doping by watering down his urine.

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    3. That is a funny fable by Tennis has a Steroid problem. But the Players do not know the timing of these tests beforehand and once informed, they are confined to the testing room. How would Djokovic or anyone be able to add water to his sample or drink massive quantity of water during the test, when the Testers are right there in the room with him and are even required to watch the sample collection these days? The comments on this site are good for a laugh.

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    4. The "fable" was not from this site. It is "Professor dr Zdeslav Milinkovic" who states that his urine was not concentrated enough due to a "balanced diet and rehyrdration regime," and that Djokovic had to provide 4 sample in 4 and a half hours and "Djokovic was not allowed to leave the room, and he was asked to eat repeatedly in order to make his urine sample "good enough for analysis" "(are you suggesting they didn't let him drink anything with all this food?) If he was overhydrated due to his "rehydration regime" only at the beginning of the 4.5 hours, he would have peed it out within the first hour. The amount of water he would have to drink to cause 4.5 hours of underconcentrated urine with 4 urine samples would be enough to cause hyponatremia. Symptoms of this include: " nausea and vomiting, headache, confusion, lethargy, fatigue, loss of appetite, restlessness and irritability, muscle weakness, spasms, or cramps and seizures." What a coincidence that they target Djokovic and he just happens to have watered down urine. WADA must have known that his special diet and rehydration routine would cause difficulties for testing. Bad luck for him... Or he is a doper and was playing a game with drug testers and is now using the persecutory excuse, a la Armstrong.

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    5. Okay I will bite, just this one time. The ‘fable’ told by the Serbian doctor, to paraphrase, was that there was nothing wrong with the quality of samples, this was meant as harassment, including being made to eat things that Djokovic normally doesn't even eat.
      The ‘fable’ told here was that Djokovic somehow added water to his sample or drank massive quantity of water for this test, while he was confined to the room, and all that in presence of the Testers.
      Anyone who knows about tennis, knows about Djokovic’s gluten-free diet, for several years now, WADA or Testers found out about that just now? Djokovic has said nothing at all, so how is he 'now he using 'persecutory excuse' ... Or he is not a doper and drug testers were playing a game with him ... the fables can work either way.

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    7. rcusDecember 6, 2013 at 11:49 AM

      The WADA code is clear. Athletes are not confined to a room. They can go to press conferences, medal ceremonies and if they cannot produce a urine sample they can shower, get a message etc. They just have to be accompanied by a chaperone from the time that are told that a test is necessary till they produce a satisfactory sample.

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    8. Deuce, Obviously, you are a fan of Djokovic and, like the Armstrong defenders that used to drop by here, you are unlikely to stop believing. The "Doctor" says quite clearly that the urine specific gravity was too low and the color was too light (consistent with watered down urine). The reason these rules about urine specific gravity are made are exactly to prevent watering down urine (specific gravity has to do with how many other substances are in the urine), either by adding water to the sample or drinking massive quantities of water. A gluten-free diet, whatever else you want to believe about it, does not lower urine specific gravity or change the color of urine. Thus you are left with his regimen of "rehydration" causing the low specific gravity. Rehydration is just drinking large quantities of water. There would be no reason to do this and it would likely be detrimental for the reason I have already stated. Ask yourself this: Why is he suddenly unable to produce a urine with enough specific gravity, even after 4 and a half hours and 4 urine samples? He has been tested many times and his urine hasn't created this problem before. The reason is simple. He had a test he wasn't ready for and had to wash something out of his system. Perhaps they did indeed target him for his comments, I can't say, but you can't have it both ways. Either the specific gravity was too low due to "rehydration" or the testers were just making it up. If they were just making it up, why does the doctor claim that it was low due to his diet and rehydration? Face it, Djokovic got caught with his pants down (no pun intended) and had to wash something out of his system.

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    9. "The WADA code is clear. Athletes are not confined to a room. They can go to press conferences, medal ceremonies and if they cannot produce a urine sample they can shower, get a message etc. "

      No, the DCO has discretion to deny all of these requests and confine the athlete to a room:

      6.1.11 The DOC may at their discretion consider any reasonable third party requirement or any request by the Athlete for permission ... to leave the Doping Control Station temporarily after arrival. Such permission shall only be granted if the Athlete can be continuously chaperoned .... and it relates to the following activitins: [Victory ceremony, press conf, additional competition, "warm down," medical treatment,] (Getting a massage is not listed, and I doubt it would be considered a "warm down" which involves physical activity similar to a "warm up." Obviously, if you are buddies with Stuart Miller, then you can do whatever you want, so I am just talking about an actual WADA compliant testing system).

      In any case, all of these are optional. 6.3.6 clearly states that "The Athlete may request to leave the Doping Control Station for a time" but that the requests can be denied and MUST be denied if a chaperone is not available. See "If a Chaperone is not available, the DCO shall ask the Athlete to remain in the Doping Control Station."

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    10. In terms of duece's comments, just use common sense. Urine has to come from somewhere. Djokovic just played, so he would have been sweating -- this leads to a higher specific gravity, not a lower one. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urine_Specific_Gravity ). So, now he takes a pee and basically pure water comes out. Where did this water come from? Obviously, he had to drink it. Now, 4 hours and 4 pees later, he is still pissing pure water. Where does this water come from?

      Now, just ask yourself, "If I were doping and got selected for a urine test, what would I do?" Yes, you could just piss in the cup and wait for your ban to come down (or ask Stuart Miller to bury it). Alternately, what you could do is drink large amounts of water so that the initial sample is invalid. Then take some "food" that is really a fast metabolizing vitamin that will artificially up your spefic gravity in a couple of hours. You then continue to drink large amounts of water and wait for the vitamin to be metabolized so that it pushed your specific gravity over the limit -- however, it will be the only thing in your pee, so you are "clean" of the other drugs. And what else would these scheme require you to do? Oh, yeah, pee frequently so that the metabolites of your doping substance are purged from your system along with the massive water that you are drinking.

      Alternately, you can believe that the Area 51 WADA inspectors got together with the Illuminati and decided that Djokovic needed 4 1/2 hours of "detention" to "teach him a lesson."

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    11. In any case, you can google, "How to beat a urine test" and quickly find the above method. The top hit takes you to http://www.wikihow.com/Pass-a-Urine-Drug-Test which says, drink lots of water and take B-2 or B-12 to increase specific gravity -- there you go, the gluten free way to beat a drug test. (Note,B-2 and B-12 do not contain gluten).

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    12. Tennis.. I have watched tennis for too long to be a blind fan of any current player.
      The Serbian Doctor could be just repeating what he was told, why would he be allowed to see the samples or the tests? The point is once the test started Djokovic had to follow instructions of Testers. It would be impossible for him to either add water to his sample or drink massive amounts of water, when the Testers are with him all the time. One can’t have it both ways, if Djokovic was trying to dilute his urine during the test as you claim, then the Testers would have to be complicit in that, and the Serbian doctor speaking about it so angrily would make no sense. If it took four and half hours for a satisfactory sample and if there is possibility of someone getting back at Djokovic, then the conclusion is more likely that there was nothing wrong with the samples, not with all of them.

      As for the gluten-free diet, as far as I know, one of the main reasons people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance are recommended this diet, is because gluten is considered to be one of the irritants that can cause inflammation of the gut and bloating. To say that diet would have no impact on the urine quality is simply not accurate.

      Funniest thing I find is comparing of Djokovic to Armstrong. Armstrong in his peak days had tremendous clout in his sport. How much clout does Djokovic has, even when number one, with ATP, Key Sponsors, Fans, Media... Overall, not even as much as Federer, Nadal or even Murray, let alone Armstrong. I don’t know if Djokovic has doped or not, what I believe is that probability for him is less compared to these other top players. The truth will come out, as it almost always does. But the reasoning used to make these claims here is often funny. So you are right, I will not be convinced that Djokovic is a doper, not based on this incident.

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    13. If you actually believe that Djokovic is less likely to dope than Federer or Murray, you are mentally ill. Lol.

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    14. Deuce,
      Most such things are excreted from the body by shitting them out, not peeing them out. Gluten or gluten free is not going to raise or lower urine specific gravity. Your kidneys control you urine specific gravity. If you have too much water in your system, the kidneys will force out more water, which lowers your specific gravity. If you are dehydrated, say after a match, your kidneys will put out less water and your urine will be more concentrated (curiously the opposite of what happened in this case). The only real exception to that would be if someone takes anti-hypertensive medications like lasix, which force out large quantities of water (Which is why these substances are banned and players who are found to have them in their system are likely cheating to rid their bodies of other PED's). If the "doctor" is saying that a gluten free diet will appreciably alter the amount of water that is being excreted by the kidneys, then he is either incompetent or should warn the world of the danger of a gluten-free diet in promoting dehydration by causing the kidneys to excrete excessive amounts of water. Certainly, if true, no one should play tennis while maintaining a gluten--free diet!

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    15. "The point is once the test started Djokovic had to follow instructions of Testers. It would be impossible for him to either add water to his sample or drink massive amounts of water, when the Testers are with him all the time."

      No, athletes are allowed to drink water during the waiting period -- otherwise they would never pee and would eventually die. In addition, the DCO is REQUIRED to procide "sealed, non-alcoholic drinks for Athletes." The rules also say "The DCO/Cahperone cannot prevent the Athlete from eating or drinking products of their choice, but should recommend that the Athlete chooses from a selection of individually sealed, non-alcoholic beverages in order to hydrate."

      Thus, the DCO's must provide the Athlete with beverages and he can drink as much as he wants.

      THASP's statements regarding adding water to the urine relate to the fact that 4 failed samples in 4 hours is just unbelievable. For an athlete after a tennis match to do this is truely unusual. THASP theorized that in order to drink the massive amount of water required to do this it would lead to water toxicity. (Note, water toxicity is not uncommon for endurance athletes. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_intoxication). Therefore, it was reasonable to assume that this was a possibility for the water getting into the urine. We also know that tennis DCOs are very lax in enforcing doping controls, so this is certainly possible.

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  8. Interesting comment on Rafael Nadal from Tennis-X (left hand side under "who's got the funk).


    3. Rafael NADAL Year-end No. 1 for 2013 and looking fit with magic knee juice going into 2014

    http://www.tennis-x.com/

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  9. @MTracy:
    "The DOC may at their discretion consider any reasonable third party requirement or any request by the Athlete for permission ... to leave the Doping Control Station temporarily after arrival......if the Athlete can be continuously chaperoned" ..........I strongly suspect that supporting your compatriot in Davis Cup would qualify, and he would have been chaperoned.

    From WADA: Samples not meeting laboratory guidelines for analysis:
    7.5.1 If the reading is outside the required range for specific gravity the DCO shall request collection of additional Sample (s).
    7.5.3 While waiting to provide an additional Sample the Athlete shall remain under continuous observation by a DCO /Chaperone.
    No mention of physical confinement, just being "continuously observed". I suspect the rules and their enforcement are pragmatic. I've looked at a lot of info from end-user testing organizations, and again (IIRC) they refer to chaperones accompanying athletes until they can provide an appropriate sample.
    On a lighter note........Re: massage: "Obtaining necessary medical treatment" qualifies as a reason to defer a test, or leave doping station. Having watched so many matches where medical time-outs consisted of athletes simply having their legs massaged, it seems to me that massage must certainly be considered a "medical treatment" under the WADA code........lol

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    1. I think some of it is common sense on part of the DCO. Ok, you pull a guy to test. He pees. He just played a match, he is sweating, tired, dehydrated. Now, for some reason he pisses pure water. As a DCO, that should raise a red flag -- this guy's urine should be concentrated from all the sweating he just did, but it is not. (Sweating expels water, so your urine is more concentrated).

      Now, you have two choices: (1) let the guy who just pissed holy water run all over the place, get a happy ending massage, visit his friends, take showers, etc, or (2) suspect that something is up and not allow him to leave so that you can directly monitor him yourself and not rely on some chaperone under unknown conditions.

      I think in cases where the athlete says, "Yeah, I just sweated out 2 gallons of water on the court. I can't pee for a while." The DCO may say, "Sure, have the chaperone go with you while you get a massage" Because all this makes sense. However, when someone just plays a match and they pee pure H2O, then your BS meter should be going off. I would hope that DCOs would use their discretion to spot BS and ensure stricter monitoring in such cases. They apparently did exercise their discretion to refuse Dopevic's request to leave. It is also not clear that "watching a friend or teammate" meets any of the listed items, but as noted above, even if it did, then the DCO should still deny the request so that all activity could be closely monitored.

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    2. If Djokovic would have played one hour before the doubles match, you would be completely right. But... That's not the case. When I pee within an hour after a match, the gravity, as you correctly state, increases dramatically. But then, I drink a lot of water and... Well, two or three hours later, my urine's gravity decreases.
      Anyway, this is just anecdotical, because the doubles match was saturday and Djokovic played friday and sunday.

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    3. Wouldn't you all agree it was werid that Djokovic pulled out of the doubles given that this clearly diminished their chances to win? As Step said, they kept the Ferrari in the garage...

      This is what bugs me. I know you can nominate the players late - and according to my timeline, the Serbian captain had already decided to not play Dopovic on Friday, right? Still, he could pull a trick and have him play spontaneously, to surprise the Czechs.

      So did the controls start way before the doubs started and that's why he "pulled out", I wonder...?

      Thanks MTracy and Sen for the plausible explanations regarding the urine sample collection and the delay - I may add that it is known that football players (soccer players to some of you) post-match often take hours until they can give their sample. Later they frequently mention to the media that they had to drink a lot before being able to pee.

      That means Djokovic could have easily drunk loads while conveniently waiting for stuff to clear out of his system without raising the suspicion of the tester.

      So two questions: how long can you chage the line up of your players for the double? Did the testing start prior to this deadline or after, meaning maybe Dopovic was to play after all and got caught red-handed, leaving him out and in need to dillute his urine quickly...

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    4. I don't think so. Djokovic usually loses when he plays doubles in davis cup ties... Actually, almost always loses in doubles. I don't think the captain would have considered djokovic over the serbian team that did defeat the bryan brothers.

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  10. Considering that no doping scandal has ever been made public, I don't think this 'rough' behavior of the testing agents was just merely out of mere love for the sports and its clean status.

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    1. Um, have you heard of Cilic? Troicki? Llagostera? Yeah, all of those are public.

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    2. A 12 month suspension is an scandal? Yeah, right... The doping corruption comes from the very 'testing' institutions. Some small cases to prove they're 'working' is needed once in a while. Are you really attacking doping players while defending the institution that pretty much rewards this behavior? Come on!

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  11. From an interview with Alice Cornet
    http://www.lequipe.fr/Tennis/Actualites/Cornet-plus-reflechie/421698

    Q: Much has been said recently doping controls: what is your position?

    AC: "First day of internship, 6:30: control (laughs). I am greeted with a smile: they are there for tennis remains clean , even if at the moment it's a little sweat. I want to promote this clean tennis, I want to believe.

    "I do not think the players are doped, it may be naive and there are many who are not of the same opinion, but I hope the authorities do their job. For me and for everyone I know, doping is not even a question, it is normal to accept checks, not to be doped. But it would remove the doubt because some take it as excuse .'' I lost because others are doped'' We lose because the other is better.

    "Rafael Nadal, players have many doubts about him, but when you see his attitude on the field as he fights, never give up and all that he gives ... It's so ugly to say that, because we see that goes with his gut and does not need to be doped to it.
    -
    So on a scale of 1 - 10 how naive is Cornet?

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    1. 9. Not a full 10 because she considers she may be naive xD

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    2. I give it a 10 for the comment "We lose because the other is better." First, this is a meaningless statement. We define "better" to mean, able to beat you, so yeah, the person who is able to beat you is able to beat you.

      With that said, she is ignoring the question of what makes someone "better." That is, why can player X beat player Y consistently. It is beyond naive to say, "Well, Player X is 'better.'" Ok, what makes Player X better? How did the person develop those attributes?

      It also ranks up there in naivete along the same lines as the statement, "Lance doesn't take steroids because you can look at him and see he is a skinning guy not a roided out freak." She is essentially saying the same thing. Sure, Nadal is "better," probably because he can practice long hours, has "not natural" explosive strength coupled with endurance, and has an uncanny ability to recover from all types of injuries.

      We see from cycling that training long hours was the primary thing the dopers used the dope for. Sure, they would dope in the TdF, but they also look their "training drugs" all year round -- which allowed them to get in top form for the big races.

      We see from track and field that athletes frequently use drugs to enhance "explosive" strength. The idea that steroid is just for weight room junkies is naive, and this is essentially what Ms. Cornet is expressing.

      In terms of injuries, the ability to magically recover from "career ending" injuries is also highly suspect. Whether this is just the result of PRP (which is legal) or some other new medical innovation that is not WADA-approved remains to be seen.

      I also bump her up to a 10 for the "he's a fighter" comment. Name a single doper that was not? Lance Armstrong certainly had a "never give up" attitude -- at least as much as Nadal. Marrion Jones was a fighter. A-Rod is fighting like hell. Guess that means he's clean? That is beyond naive -- just plain stupid. Why doesn't she look up the side effects of many anabolic steroids and she will see that overly aggressive, "never give up" attitudes are one of them.

      While it is nice to say, "never quit," this is completely naive -- which puts her in the 10 category. Our bodies tell us to quit training because it will be harmful to us or we are exaggerating an injury. Of course, with Nadal's magic knee juice, there is no need to worry about this, but for everyone else, knowing when to quit is an essential part of sport.

      In any case, Nadal didn't quit, he took a 7-month break, then comes back and is magically "better" than everyone? So, you get to be world #1 by doing some physical therapy and hitting some balls with your uncle? That is just naive.

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    3. You're completely right. I give her a 10 too.

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    4. 10 for the fact that she acknowledges that other players have doubts about Nadal and think he's doping ("Rafael Nadal, players have many doubts about him") but her herself doesn't stop to think and question why, instead she falls back on the "he works hard, he's a fighter" card.

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    5. Clearly, my naïveté meter is stressed out... it can't handle this level of vacuity...

      Maybe it is because of people like her in tennis that nothing happens and people remain on party line?

      Could she possibly be the last player, a unicorn, so to speak, on this planet, who did not get the memo about doping and is simply clean out of utter stupidity??

      Delete
  12. A few names to add to MTracy's list of "fighters": Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Carl Lewis and lol, Ryan Braun.

    By the way, while I am sure Djokovic is a doper, I am even more sure Nadal is the kingpin of the drug addicts on the ATP tour. Dude seems like a dimwit when you read his comments (alright, language barrier can't help), but man does he and his team have ironed out quite the regimen for him to be back on top (though Djokovic will probably topple him sooner or later next year). I mean, how can a physically obvious doper like Nadal get away with it for so long with all the bald faced lying and half truths he spews year in and year out? I mean, the degenerative knee condition has all but disappeared or so it seems. I have no doubt it will be used again as an excuse in the foreseeable future, but they seem to downplay it like never before.

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    1. I don't have the problem of the language barrier, and believe me, he's just as dumb in Spanish as he is in his broken English...
      The problem I see with the Nadal situation is that most players can't speak against him because they are dopers themselves, and the (few) ones who aren't, either have no palpable proof or may be accused of being sore losers (Federer, for instance...)

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    2. You need to pay me to watch a Nadal interview tbh - he is an utter tool and empty as fuck. No charisma no intelligence. Nothing. Void for th eprojections of his PR team and ready for sponsoring mindless shit with his moronic face. Can't stand him, no?

      There was this stellar piece by Lynn Barber from The Times in 2011, if anyone remembers that...that one was finally rather frank about that dimwit Nadal...I guess she never scored another interview in tennis again.

      Samples:

      "If anyone else tells me what a lovely lad Rafael Nadal is, I shall scream. He is not a lad, he has just turned 25, which is admittedly young, but he is in his ninth year on the professional tennis circuit, has won nine Grand Slam titles and is worth at least £68m. And I didn’t find him lovely at all."

      "He just lay there glowering at me while I perched awkwardly on a nearby table until eventually his PR, Benito Perez-Barbadillo, fetched me a chair. Benito remained in the background and whenever Nadal didn’t like a question (which was pretty much every time I asked one) he asked Benito to “translate”, which meant they conferred in Spanish till the PR delivered some smooth PR-y answer. Nadal’s command of English seemed highly variable but never great. "

      "He admitted at the press conference that he had played badly, dropping a set to a completely unknown Italian, but he offered no excuses. However, other people were quick to offer them for him: it was the day of Seve Ballesteros’s funeral and Rafa adored Ballesteros."


      Here is a link to the whole thing - I apologize in advance for leading you to a Nadal site runs by crazy Nadalistas - ignore that, please, for I don't have a Times subscription. Needless to say, don't DON'T look at their crazy ass comments, it's highly recommended for your personal sanity

      The piece seriously kicks ass, therefor I like it.

      http://www.nadalnews.com/2011/06/05/anyone-for-tension/

      Delete
  13. Nadal has single-handedly (or, to be accurate, double-handedly - or, even more accurately, quadruple-handedly: the last two hands belonging to his beloved Uncle) changed the very face of tennis. There always have been dopers, no doubt, but, until Nadal's appearance, tennis was never a game of shear endurance, never a war of attrition, which it became after his big-time arrival on the scene. DJoke is a direct product of Nadal's, institutional, and, of course, his very own utter disregard of any human values, supposed to be inherent to sport. It's that simple - once one brushes the 'details' aside.

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    1. I'd say Federer's 2004-2007 domination was the catalyst for Nadal and co. to go all out. But yeah, the face of the sport has changed drastically since 2010, I'd say (the year of the infamous Nadal serve at the US Open - a question that remains relevant and unanswered to this very day: how can an otherwise weak server like Nadal start serving bombs all of a sudden at the ripe age of 24? He doesn't serve as hard as he did that year, but he never returned to the puny 118 MPH serves of pre-2010).

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    2. Are we not losing sight of the fact that Nadal's forehand is the legal equivalent of playing with one of those now banned spaghetti racquets? I'm not sure how one can attribute the extreme effect he applies to the ball as being down to doping. It's more the relentless resistance and recovery that's the problem and I'd put no end of other players into that category too.

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  14. P.S. I forgot to mention the new level of infantility regarding the 'explanations' of the two mentioned gentlemen, as to their supermen's qualities - being the ground-breaking achievement of the, also mentioned, institutions that tolerate (i.e.endorse) them.

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  15. Here is a federation that out-corrupts the ITF by far. And this is how they do it:

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

    Now can we talk about draw procedures and seeding in tennis ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Now can we talk about draw procedures and seeding in tennis ;)" No, we can't. For we all are mesmerized (as we are supposed to be) by the perfect C-/B+-cup breasts of the female who, for whatever reason, happens to be on the stage - whether it be football, tennis-ball, Armstrong's or anyone's missing balls... Be as it may, welcome to the ball, ye all! God bless us (and Merry Christmas) everyone.

      Delete
    2. Blatter has got to be one of the most corrupt people on the planet, living his life of regal splendour, dispensing largesse as he goes in corrupting his fellow cockroaches who happily oblige to keep him in power. FIFA is a perfect storm of everything that is bad and corrupt about sport today and our planet's political masters are just as bad in letting him get away with it. He is unique among cockroaches in the honour he is accorded of having a red carpet rolled out wherever he lands to scuttle about. Says everything about Switzerland too that they allow all this on their watch. No coincidence that the UCI is based there too, far away from prying eyes. FIFA makes the ITF look like the sporting equivalent of Mother Theresa.

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    3. Yeah, I noticed that as well - hard to focus and spot the rigging ;)

      No doubt, they picked her to distract the plebs/fanatics watching from noticing the obvious fraud. It so worked. You are the best example, Melch. But I can't blame you, those are surely the more impressive balls in this setting.

      That and the higher than ususal lectern behind which Valcke, the FIFA Secretary General, is conveniently hiding his hands with the ball...

      I bet the ITF is secretly admiring the FIFA for their in-your-face brazeness when it comes to fraud and corruption...they even got superioir balls to tennis...



      Delete
    4. @ Peter - I share your sentiment - to the point that it has spoiled my ability to enjoy this sport I once loved dearly. I can still play it though, and this is what I have restrained myself to do for a while.

      MaFIFA is such an obvious corrupt scam, it makes me wonder how anybody can truely put up with that shit and continue to call themselves a fan of this bogus - it needs to much blurring out and effort to ignore their bullshit - virtually making it impossible to watch without snarky comments and contempt.

      I hate them deeply, from the bottom of my heart, for having achieved this. They are the superior masters of the corrupt arts, no doubt - too bad no one can take them down - and on top ofit all, the Swiss neutrality (= greed for money) does not really help in facilitating that, on the contrary.

      Remember how Switzerland continued to do wonderful business during the IIWW with Hitler... and all the hidden stashes of illegal money of German tax cheaters stored in their safes deep down in the Alps...my country could need those taxes dearly.. anyway, I disgress.

      Delete
    5. team_kickass says: "No doubt, they picked her to distract the plebs/fanatics watching from noticing the obvious fraud. It so worked. You are the best example, Melch. But I can't blame you, those are surely the more impressive balls in this setting."
      Well, either I misunderstand this, or you misunderstood me - but this message of yours to me makes no sense at all.
      P.S. Be as it may (and for some time already), I have the feeling that you should kind of slow down, you know, kind of take a second look, a second thought, before you pick up the rage of your last comment just to enhance it in your next. This way you are undermining not only the credibility of the valuable contributions to the cause of this blog you otherwise make, but, also, to the very credibility of the blog/cause itself.
      P.P.S Your addressing me as "Melch" (as, by the way, quite a few others here do) shows enough of your impatience as to the "details", while (if there be any shortness in the concentration-span) it takes just a simple copy/paste action to get it right. Shortly, as the saying goes, the devil [originally, "God"] is in the detail. Go figure, you Raging Bull.

      Delete
  16. To all those athletes who complain about the hassle of whereabouts ...things got a whole lot easier - download the app via fucking ITunes

    >"We are very pleased that we are now in a position to offer this tool to top athletes around the world," said David Howman, Director General of the WADA. "The app is a simple, accessible way for athletes to report details of their whereabouts and to comply with relevant regulations. Moreover, they will be demonstrating their commitment to clean sport. Everyone benefits from this efficient solution."

    >The app was originally launched in 2012 by the Anti-Doping Authority of the Netherlands for its own athletes, and it represents a successful collaboration between CGI, the Anti-Doping Authority of the Netherlands, InnoSportNL and NOC*NSF.

    http://www.4-traders.com/CGI-GROUP-INC-1410156/news/CGI-Group-Inc--World-Anti-Doping-Agency-launches-whereabouts-app-for-top-athletes-17604418/

    ReplyDelete
  17. Next level of EPO in the pipeline? Synthetic EPO has been created from scratch and its potent:

    >In a tour de force of biological chemistry, scientists have pieced together an entire protein hormone from scratch, and demonstrated that it works just as well in mice as the natural version. If verified, the complete synthesis of erythropoietin, a hormone that stimulates the production of red blood cells, would mark a new stage in the production and study of biological therapeutics.
    No one is more pleased with the achievement — a decade in the making — than Samuel Danishefsky, a biological chemist at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, who led the team. “We think we’ve reached an important milestone,” he says. “I am very proud.”

    (...)

    Erythropoietin, also known as EPO, is naturally produced by the kidneys and became notorious as a performance-enhancing drug used by cyclists in the Tour de France. More conventionally, EPO is used to treat anaemia resulting from cancer, HIV/AIDS, and chronic kidney disease.
    Unlike traditional, small-molecule drugs that can be precisely engineered in chemistry labs, biological therapeutics are proteins and similar biomolecules that are produced by plant, animal or bacterial cells, resulting in heterogeneous mixtures of closely related compounds. Drugmakers typically manufacture EPO in genetically modified cultures of Chinese hamster cells. As in human cells, these EPO molecules get 'decorated' variously with sugar chains, producing a cocktail of so-called glycoforms with different three-dimensional structures.

    There are likely to be more than 50 different EPO glycoforms, and some of them seem to be more effective than others, having greater stability or a longer half-life in the blood. But they have never been fully studied, because individual glycoforms cannot be isolated in pure form. Consequently, scientists have long wanted to be able to synthesize the individual glycoforms chemically and test them.

    Chemists achieved early success by building simplified versions of EPO, which had biological activity but were not chemically the same as naturally occurring EPO. (...)
    His team's new study, published today in Science2, leaves no room for doubt, Danishefsky says. The researchers have incorporated much larger sugars, which are more representative of those that occur naturally. Indeed, the techniques that succeeded in the 2012 synthesis utterly failed with the larger sugars. “We had to start over,” he says: “Back to the drawing board, but not back to the cave.” Three mice injected with the new synthetic EPO showed bursts in the numbers of young red blood cells that rivalled levels in those injected with Procrit, a commercial EPO.>

    http://www.nature.com/news/hormone-used-for-doping-is-made-from-scratch-1.14363

    ReplyDelete
  18. But..... "Between 1 November and 10 December - ahead of the FIFA Club World Cup Morocco 2013 – 174 players from the participating teams underwent unannounced blood and urine tests"

    http://www.fifa.com/clubworldcup/news/newsid=2244117/index.html?intcmp=fifacom_hp_module_about_fifa

    ReplyDelete
  19. An athletes view of being approached about supplements and PEDs. Interesting read.

    http://lauryn-williams.com/the-good-the-bad-and-the-hgh/

    ReplyDelete
  20. BIGFOOT’ SILVA FLAGGED FOR ELEVATED TESTOSTERONE, SUSPENDED 9 MONTHS BY UFC

    http://www.sherdog.com/news/news/Bigfoot-Silva-Flagged-for-Elevated-Testosterone-Suspended-9-Months-by-UFC-60905

    Testosterone seems to be the new big thing for all the pros. It explains all these over developed jaws and chins. But it goes in a cocktail of HGH and steroids.

    ReplyDelete
  21. http://www.itftennis.com/news/163361.aspx
    So... What do you think? I thought that with Novak's statements about Troicki's case and the davis cup extremely long test, Djokovic wouldn't win this title again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They should give him the Amgen player of the year award. Thanks to Nole, EPO is expected to reach $275M a year in sales in 2015. (http://www.marketresearch.com/RNCOS-v3175/EPO-Biosimilars-Forecast-6967819/)

      He should market his own line of fake penises to use when those pesky anti-doping agents keep you in a room for 4 hours -- it would be like Serena's, only smaller

      Delete
  22. An interesting opinion about Americans turning a blind eye to their own CHEATING.

    http://sevenandseven.wordpress.com/2013/09/09/americans-and-peds/

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  23. Anti-Corruption (match fixing) ban: http://www.tennisintegrityunit.com/media/20/guillermo-olaso-anti-corruption-disciplinary-hearing/

    For "violations of the Program...during 2010." Is this related to Odesnik's "substantial assistance?" We will never know.. "Consistent with the confidentiality of the Anti-Corruption Hearing process, no details of the Hearing or Decision will be made public."

    So, giving the ITF the benefit of the doubt, it takes them 3 years to bring down a "big fish" like Guillermo Olaso. Apparently, he was playing the entire time. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guillermo_Olaso

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  24. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

    http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2013/12/31/world-no1-nadal-tries-new-knee-treatment

    ReplyDelete
  25. Here's an interesting article I've found about Nadal's "new treatment" for his knees. Interesting, if not bizarre, because he doesn't specify it, but still guarantees it will be the thing to sustain a top performance for 2014.
    Here's the link:
    http://www.couriermail.com.au/sport/tennis/rafael-nadal-forced-to-adopt-new-treatments-regimes-in-bid-to-beat-knee-issues-and-prolong-career/story-fnii0pkt-1226792272426

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  26. In a world where 62yo amateur athletes are testing positive in competition for steroids, EPO and amphetamines, only a fool would think that a cash-rich sport like tennis is clean.

    http://www.usada.org/media/sanction-leduc123013

    62yo amateurs get caught. Millionaires have access to better strategies and tend not to.

    Here's to a Happy Ban-filled cathartic New year!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Nadal has 'new treatment' for his knees:

    http://www.tennisworldusa.org/Rafael-Nadal-tries-new-treatment-for-knees-to-prolong-career-articolo15493.html

    ReplyDelete