Saturday, January 11, 2014

Stuart Miller: “You are always exposed to criticism..."

Christopher Clarey at the New York Times has a piece on anti-doping in tennis, featuring comments from ITF anti-doping manager Stuart Miller.

A couple of quotes from Miller:
"You are always exposed to criticism from several directions. We can’t behave solely based on that criticism, because you’d effectively end up being paralyzed. You have got to do what you think is the right thing, and you treat everybody the same..."

"The fact that two fairly high-ranked players in 2013 were sanctioned, to me, should be at least some indication that there is no discrimination whether you are ranked No. 1 or No. 1,000 in the program..."

"It’s not just about testing numbers. It’s about testing the right people at the right time, and there’s more of an emphasis on intelligent testing than there is just on testing numbers." 

My one comment on Miller's statements is that, in order to end potential doubts about "discrimination," the ITF would need to publish all anti-doping decisions regardless of the verdict. It's unfortunate that they refuse to do so.

117 comments:

  1. I am a little curious about the "right people at the right time." Previously, Miller has maintained that no one in tennis is using PEDs. So, who exactly would the "right people" be? In addition, Miller has always maintained that normal in-competition testing is sufficient to know that "tennis is clean." So, what exactly is the "right time?"

    The simple fact is that you can not state there are the "right people" without saying, "Yes, based on facts other than positive drug tests, it is reasonable to suspect certain players of doping." Why else would you target test them? What is "intelligent testing?" Isn't this "speculating" about who may or may not be doping and targeting the suspects for testing? Isn't this essentially saying that people targeted for testing are suspected of doping?

    There cannot also be a "right time" for testing until you admit that "Yes, time your use of drugs can essentially eliminate the possibility of getting caught by normal testing routines."

    Finally, if it really is "not just about testing numbers" but really about the "right people at the right time," then why is there so much in-competition testing? Will he finally admit that loser-targeted testing is worthless because it tests the "wrong people" at the "wrong time?"

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  2. oh my. Look how Sammy has blossomed...

    https://twitter.com/SmashTash/status/422356682325250048/photo/1/large

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    1. How is not testing a multiple grand slam champion OOC for a whole year "intelligent"?

      It's only smart if you have reason to fear the repercussions of a positive result.

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  3. I don't think the two sanctions last year do anything to quell the request for better proof of adequate testing (if adequate testing actually exists). One of those was for refusal to submit a sample, and the other was for a relatively mundane substance. If they pop anybody for EPO, hGH, testosterone, etc., then I think he could legitimately make statements about the effectiveness of the testing regime. To date, there is no substantial proof that the testing currently going on is sufficiently distributed. Evidence of one guy using glucose doesn't do it for me. Sorry, Stuart.

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    1. For me, the big issue with 2013 is the number of holes in the actual testing program. We know from Troicki that you can simply call up Stuart Miller and be allowed to skip a test. We also know from Llagostera Vives that you can delay a test and go back to your hotel room for long periods of time if you agree to play in a pro-am.

      So, even if they were providing numbers of "adequate" testing, I would still be dubious because it seems like top athletes only give samples when they want to. Seems like the Serena panic room incident is just standard practice for the ITF.

      I imagine that the 2013 statistics will show an increase in testing, but what will not be disclosed is how many of the samples were for the worthless Athlete Biological Passport program which guarantees that no top athlete will ever be banned no matter how much dope they push through their system.

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  4. Someone is playing a lot better, and more stronger considering back surgery Just saying.

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  5. According to AS and La Gazzetta dello Sport, Fernando Verdasco - during Christmas time - went to Dr Cotillo for a plasma-rich treatment with Growing Factor.
    Just like his buddy Rafa Nadal.
    The Italian Daily, Giro d'Italia organizer too, probably want to remember the different rules between cycling and tennis (and football, rugby, etc.).
    By the way, after PRP, with Biological Passport, they couldn't play tournaments...

    Death to Robotennis...

    Peace!
    Simone Basso

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    1. I'd really like to read those articles! :(

      By the way, have you seen Ferrer's performance in AO? He changed coach recently and its effect are showing... In his stamina.

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  6. Ferrer is playing the best tennis of his life in extreme 40+ degree heat every day at nearly 34 years. He is as old as Federer who has been his superior (by a loong way) his entire career - until now. If the two were to meet in the qtrs, Ferrer would run him into the ground and beat him easily in 4. Something is seriously wrong with this Ferrer picture...

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    1. It is his years of chain smoking that account for his stamina. What other explanation is there?

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    2. Maybe he just has good (Del) morals.

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    3. And strong arms.. Earned him the nickname "Armstrong"

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    4. I forgot Ferrer was a smoker. Because we all know that smoking leads to improved fitness, health and stamina. Right?

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  7. With the easy bottom half draw, Ferrer will stroll into the semis yet again at a GS. Where fortunately he will be slaughtered by another player playing invincibly. Unforunately, this player is another juiced up wonder, Djokovic.

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  8. and Djokovic is the only one who can take out Nadal. So it's probably a good thing. The lesser of two evils maybe?

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  9. It's sad when we are at the stage where we are looking for who we would least rather not win a Slam.

    Would love to see another Wimbledon '13 where half the top players lose early, but just a quick glance at the scorelines so far would indicate there is no chance of that happening. Either Nadal or Djokovic will win which for some reason is preferable to Ferrer for me, it would be a tragedy if that mediocre journeyman ever won a slam, and the other two already have a bunch each so adding one more won't make a difference. Apparently Nadal wants another AO to make it at least 2 championships per slam but if Djokovic wins he'll make history so we're screwed either way.

    Ahh the (lack of) choices. I'm rooting for a Tsonga Wawrinka final!!

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  10. We really need to make a profile for Nadal on this blog. With all his knee injuries, he kee[s decimating top 10 players. He has now beaten Djokovic in their last 3 GS matches and their last 4 of 5 masters matches. Is Nadal in a weak era? Or rather does he want to make us believe he is in a weak era, winning all these grand slams and having a dope infested 2013 year despite being 7 months out of the game with a "knee" injury. Either he was cleaning up his blood to take in the new and latest more effective PEDs or he was finetuning his game, especially his backhand for Djokovic

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    2. Regarding the Nadal profile, it should contain every injury he has ever had since his win at 2005 French open and linked to the timeline of his GS or masters victories. There is no way you can be out so long or have that many "career threatening" injuries and still dominate top professional players without some hidden story behind it. In which other sport have we heard that happening? And it seems Murray is taking a similar path.

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    3. There is an article already called "The Curious Case of Rafael Nadal" http://tennishasasteroidproblem.blogspot.co.uk/2011/02/curious-case-of-rafael-nadal.html

      Sadly, I don't think either THASP or Sen will be updating it. You should read it if you haven't already. It sheds spotlight on a lot of inconsistencies regarding Nadal.

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    4. Indeed I have read it. It does seem like THASP and/or Sen have been threatened by people in high places to stop "slandering" the Nadal brand...because I have not seen any excerpts of Nadal of recent from either blogger that would explain some of these "curious" happenings

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    5. Bolu Akeju, your freshman's enthusiasm is touching, just as your conspiracy theory about THASP and/or Sen giving in to threats by people in high places is pathetic.
      So, my suggestion is: why not use the former and write an update to The Curious Case of Rafael Nadal, send it to THASP/Sen, and see if they, provided your text is decent enough, prove the latter by refusing to add it to the existing text? Attaboy!

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    6. don't be silly now...it was a mere suggestion as I follow a similar blog that addresses doping in tennis i.e. ruansfedererblog.com. He had complained of getting threats, and the head of the ITF trying to find out his identity among other things, what's wrong in me asking if that was the case here?

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    7. Bolu Akeju, talking about being silly: there's no need to emphasise your own gullibility, really. Cheers.

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  11. I stumbled across a good intelligent article on doping in football. Some of the quotes and stories are so similar to the head-in-the-sand stuff of tennis, so even if not a soccer fan it's a good read
    http://www.4dfoot.com/2013/02/09/doping-in-football-fifty-years-of-evidence/

    This one might have been posted here 6 months ago but this blog gets a mention. Gotta love Stuart Miller!
    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1714323-why-tennis-shouldnt-wait-for-an-incident-to-address-peds

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    1. Thanks for that! The article on tennis is very good.

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  12. Serena is OUT of the Australian Open! What happened? Ran out of "juice," not on the "juice", or got caught on the "juice"? Curios point brought up by one of the journalists, Serena was reportedly "in bad mood 2 days ago. Not exactly sure why but was clearly troubled."
    One can hope it was early testing, but nah, from what we have seen, this is an impossibility.

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    1. Ok ok, I got a little ahead there. "Serena suffered 'blocked' back injury in practice prior 2 match v Hantuchova. Almost pulled out. Movement was restricted then & today"

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    2. What is a "blocked" back injury? Anything like a blocked foot bone injury?

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    3. I mean, god, who knows. Let's just say back injury, I didn't pay attention to her press conference. If she wasn't fine enough to play, she shouldn't have.

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    4. Look having been subjected to the Williams sister act for over a decade and a half, I know they never take losing well.

      If they lose, it's always because they had an "injury" and never because their opponent played well. God forbid they ever given the slightest ounce of credit to anyone but each other.

      And Williams lost because she's 32 and even the most potent cocktail of steroids her millions can buy can't make her win every grand slam tournament. That's all there is to it. At some age she'll never win another grand slam again. Let's hope that time is now.

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    5. As soon as Serena lost, her coach "leaked" to ESPN that she was suffering a "back injury" and it had been hampering her all tournament (despite the fact that she was absolutely crushing everyone until the 4th round) and that she almost pulled out against Hantuchova.

      Serena's team couldn't even give Ana a minute to celebrate her victory before letting everyone know that Serena was "injured" - funny how whenever Serena loses, her or someone from her team conveniently tells the press that she is/was "injured."

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    6. The best part was when they asked Ana if she noticed anything different or off with Serena and she said no.

      Even during the telecast they immediately said something like, "she must be injured." This was in like the first set.

      That stare! Does not do her any favors. So glad she is out.

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    7. Well, the stats do not show any indication of an "injury." At least in terms of her serve speeds. Her max against Dolnc was 188kph and average 164. Against Ivanovic, it was max 194kph and average 171.

      Compare David Ferrer's last match: Max 189kph and average 171. So basically, Serena serves as fast as a man the same height as her -- and this is when she is "injured."

      Anyway, whatever she has, I am sure that some hGH will help patch her back up. Now the only problem is how to control the violent hormone cycles all this doping has caused. I would not want to be Mouratouglou right now -- especially if he was the one that actually caused the back injury. (You know how freaky those married french men can be.)

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    8. @MTracy... Yes. Her average and peak first and second serve speeds were almost identical in all her 4 matches.

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  13. I certainly know who I'll be supporting for this Australian Open. For a skinny girl like Ivanovic to take out two women with arms three times the size of her is a phenomenal achievement and is good for the game. Now who's next to bite the dust.

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    1. Unfortunately next up for Ana is Genie Bouchard whom I quite like. She seems sweet. So the two sweet girls get to battle it out. Too bad one wasn't playing Moanarenka and the other Shriekapova.

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    2. I posted that comment before Genie won but I like her too and I think she probably will beat Ivanovic, maybe not as convincingly as she did at Wimbledon.
      Cibulkova, who had destroyed everyone in her path so far, will take care of the shreaking, time-wasting, brainless ball basher Sugarpova; and then there is Sloane Stephens, who has a score to settle against Azarenka (remember her MTO last year? Djokovic and Nadal would have been proud of that).

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    3. Speaking of Sloane, anyone see those guns on her? She's starting to look like her hero Serena.

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  14. Ivanovic looked awful against Bouchard at Wimbledon. I like both players and hope it's a closer match.

    Barring some (more) major upsets I see an Azarenka-Li rematch of last year's final happening.

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  15. Yannick Noah and Fabrice Santoro are competing in the legends doubles at the Australian Open, I wonder if Nadal, Ferrer or any of the other Spaniards will ask them for autographs.

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  16. Was a fan of Gisela Dulko when she was playing. As most know, she and Flavia Pannetta won the AO Women's Doubles in 2011. Seeing as how Flavia is quite deep (for her in singles at the moment) went looking at Pannetta's Wiki page here -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flavia_Pennetta -- and found this entry:

    August 27, 2012 Flavia Pennetta underwent surgical cleaning of the right wrist, performed by the doctor who has treated Rafael Nadal.

    Go figure....

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    1. Nadal and Pennetta are friendly with one another since she used to date Nadal's mentor/friend Carlos Moya. No doubt he recommended that doctor to her.

      She also got to the U.S. Open semifinals last year - her first Slam semi ever at the age of 31 - and she's in the quarters in Australia. She's another 30+ who is having skyrocketing singles success all of a sudden late in her career.

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    2. Let's not let our imagination run away with us, shall we? You see, I, for one, know a couple of people who know a couple of convicted law-offenders, and yet it has never crossed my mind to spread a gossip about the 'significance' of the fact. But then again, I may just be lucky to have never been bitten by the paranoia-infested bug - who knows.

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  17. ANOTHER SPANISH doping doctor ?

    http://www.laroma24.it/archivio/72884/ombre-di-doping-sul-preparatore-della-juventus-lo-spagnolo-julio-tous-fajardo.html

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  18. Yes on the women's side we have a quarterfinal between 2 women who turn 32 next month. Li Na has also had surprising late career success and is just 1 day younger than her opponent Pannetta.

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  19. Ok Stuart. Now that one of Nadal's "doctors" (Julio tou Fajardo) has been exposed as a doping doctor, will you "intelligent test" him ?

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    1. The story is from October (?) 2012. Maybe they did, hence Nadal's disappearance. That could be another explanation.

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    2. When I googled Julio tous Fajardo in Google, one of the links was to this site - apparently it had been posted by someone back when it happened and a lot of us missed it the first time around.

      Fat chance Nadal has any additional testing done. If he ever gets caught he'll either have a very convenient TUE or it will get covered up. He's too valuable to the game for him to ever get caught. Or he'll just take another 6-7 months off claiming knee injury.

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    3. Wada's Requirements for selection of Athletes for Testing
      http://www.wada-ama.org/en/World-Anti-Doping-Program/Sports-and-Anti-Doping-Organizations/International-Standards/Testing/

      a) Abnormal biological parameters (blood parameters, steroid profiles, etc);
      b) Injury;
      c) Withdrawal or absence from expected Competition;
      d) Going into or coming out of retirement;
      e) Behaviour indicating doping;
      f) Sudden major improvements in performance;
      g) Repeated failure to provide Whereabouts Filings;
      h) Whereabouts Filings that may indicate a potential increase in the risk of doping, including moving to a remote location;
      i) Athlete sport performance history;
      j) Athlete age, e.g. approaching retirement, move from junior to senior level;
      k) Athlete test history;
      l) Athlete reinstatement after a period of Ineligibility;
      m) Financial incentives for improved performance, such as prize money or sponsorship opportunities;
      n) Athlete association with a third party such as coach or doctor with a history of involvement in doping; and <--
      o) Reliable information from a third party.

      --

      Atleast it's another letter to tick off regarding Nadal.

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  20. Djoko out! Brilliant, perhaps an all swiss final?

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    1. More likely the player with the bad knees adds to his ill-gotten gains.

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    2. Unless Dimitrov or Federer/Murray play the match of their lives against Nadal, Nadal is reaching the final with ease (despite the fact that he and his team are claiming he has stomach issues, has a sliced hand, yada, yada,yada).

      Federer is playing well but he's had real problems with Murray lately and he utterly craps his pants whenever he sees Nadal across the net from him.

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    3. What's with all the tape on Nadal's hands? They put a new child-proof cap on the EPO that is giving him problems?

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    4. lol

      He's giving fools like Fowler and Gilbert and etc. the go ahead sign: "should I struggle or, heaven forbid, not win, blame it on the injured hands".

      As we all know by now, the Humble Bull is, after all, undefeated when 100% healthy.

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    5. As we all know by now, the Humble Bull is, after all, undefeated when 100% healthy.

      Like Serena.

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    6. Pretty much.

      Right now, there is a dramatic puff piece on ESPN about Rafa's difficult times during his absence and his comeback "maybe better than before" shortly thereafter. Oh yes, and his great heart.

      I'm about to f'n throw up.

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    7. "Federer is playing well but he's had real problems with Murray lately and he utterly craps his pants whenever he sees Nadal across the net from him."

      I wish I could put you in a gas chamber.

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    9. Wow, Herr Hitler is cranky it seems.

      Take your meds.

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  21. Nadal winning this Australian Open title will mean that since his return from severe career threatening injuries for which he had to take a 6 month break, he will have won 12 titles (including three slams, five masters, and 5 hard court titles) in the space of one year on supposedly ailing knees.

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  22. On a slightly related matter: did you all enjoy these great single handed backhands? Federer, Dimitrov and most of Wawrinka? I loved it and apparently a number of commentators did as well. I guess Dimitrov is the last young male player with a single handed backhand. Oh, the humanity.

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  23. Nadal set the bar so high that others are crashing and burning trying to jump as high. Djoko's 2011 is a mere memory now. After the 2012 AO loss, Nadal has re-established his dominance and will win 6-7 more slams before his career is done.

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    1. I know they are different sports, but how would you compare Nadal's dominance to that of Lance Armstrong?

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    2. Attributable to the same cause. Fooling the same number of fans. Just as unreal.

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    3. Armstrong didn't dominate the sport. He dominated the Tour of France. Philippe Gilbert dominated cycling much more in 2011 and that was equally as suspicious.

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  24. Great to see Stan win but must admit a little disappointed. Now the Humble Bull will walk into another title, making it at least 2 of each Slam. A bit like the FO last year, the semi final will be the real final. I think Berdych (if he makes it) will give him a better run than Ferrer did at last year's FO, but with Murray not back at his best and Federer being too old to really trouble Nadal, Nadal will fin the final no matter who he plays.

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  25. Also well done to Berdych for knocking our Ferrer, who seemed to have something that appeared like Roid Rage during the match, shoving a linesman and getting angry.

    And is Djoko not on the Juice as much as before? During Jan 11 to Jan 12 he was unstoppable, these days he is in perennial danger of losing to Wawrinka, and finally did. Stan's good, but he's not *that* good, is he?

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  26. That was a wonderful performance by Radwanska against Azarenka. I could watch her play Tennis for hours.

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    1. That was sublime, beautiful tennis I witnessed Radwanska playing. I was so happy she won.

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  27. Does anybody believe in match fixing? I'm not talking about challengers, I'm talking about top 10 kinda stuff. For men and women.

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    1. Here's a story about Tipsarevic: http://www.sportismadeforbetting.com/2010/10/tennis-gets-crooked-again.html

      Dolgopolov was mentioned in this article: http://shanktennis.com/2012/10/14/david-savic-banned-for-life-questions-answered-questions-unanswered/
      Unfortunately, that site is blocked at the moment.

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  28. Looking at the match between dimitrov and nadal, it is clearly dimitrov who is the more talented shotmaker. tennis never used to be the "bigger, stronger, faster" type of sport in the old days. nowadays, shotmaking has taken a back seat to "bigger, stronger, and faster".

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    1. But the Bulgarian is a mental weakling. Look at the sitter forehands he missed on set points in the 3rd set tie-break - firstly on his own set point (aargh!) and then on Nadal's set-point. The match was his for the taking at that point. But he blew it. As he does.

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    2. he's mentally stronger compared to few months back. clearly he's improving mentally and physically. give him few months more.

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    3. Playing a cyborg will do that to a man.

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    4. True. But if it had been the Nadal of the second half of 2009 (remember that chronic loser?) Dimitrov would have won 6-4.6-4,6-4. Amazing - platelet rich plasma doesn't just cure every kind of knee problem, it makes you a 5x better player than you were before.

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    5. I thought Grigor played the best I've seen him in the first set and much of the second. I gave up after that. But his fitness is what's lacking. He has the weapons to take Nadal out but that guy is a monster. No way can Grigor stay with him in best of 5. Yet.

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  30. The latest Nadal "injury" really fits, not just this match but Nadal as a tennisplayer. To me he just feels like the blister on the hand of tennis.

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    1. Brilliant! And sad at the same time...

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    2. Yep. Funny how he always has these built-in excuses (and he and Uncle Toni make sure the media knows ahead of time) all prepared in case he loses. Knees, upset stomach, now blisters. If Federer wins tomorrow don't expect any credit from Nadal fans who will blame his "injuries" for his loss.

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  31. No doubt, Nadal is already preparing his new injury for the next 'juicing' period off. His staff must have signed a make-up artist from movie industry to draw that blod-like tomato spot in his hand.
    Come on guys... I think what happened yesterday is a proof of the fact that Nadal faces being hurt better than others, probably much better.

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    1. Sure, because a blister and a career-threatening knee injury are exactly the same... (Where's the rolls-eyes icon when you need it?)
      Are you really making a comparison here? Because that doesn't make any sense, except maybe in the head of a gullible Nadal fan...

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  32. Well now,

    Biological passport to be fully effective by September: ITF

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/sns-rt-us-tennis-open-doping-20140121,0,3378039.story

    MELBOURNE (Reuters) - The athlete biological passport will be fully effective at the elite level in tennis by September, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) said on Wednesday.

    The passport, which uses blood tests to detect the likelihood of doping rather than testing for specific substances, came into operation in the final quarter of 2013 and covers around 50 of the world's top players. (>>50? Umm is that including men and women?)

    If a player's blood profile deviates beyond accepted parameters, set by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), they could be banned, even if they have not failed a drugs test. The passport is at its most effective once a player has given between three and five blood tests. (>>3 – 5? Do they even test this much?)

    "While it's (already) in full operation, its effectiveness is still increasing by virtue of the number of samples that have been collected for every player in the (testing) pool," Dr Stuart Miller, head of the ITF's anti-doping program, told a group of reporters in Melbourne.

    "It's based on multiple samples collected over time, which is why that effectiveness needs time to kick in."

    The ITF has been criticized in the past for carrying out a relatively low percentage of blood tests, which are considered the most effective way of catching drugs cheats. Blood tests constituted only nine percent of overall drugs tests in 2012, while only 15 percent of all tests, urine and blood, were conducted out-of-competition. But the ITF expects the official figures for 2013, due to be released within the next month, to show a significant increase in both the number of blood tests and percentage out of competition testing. (>>Hopefully they accidently release the testing data for each player)

    The anti-doping program is jointly funded by the ITF, the four grand slam events, the ATP and WTA Tours.

    In 2012, the funding totaled $2 million, including the $400,000 that the ITF pays to administer it. Miller said the partners had agreed to increase their funding of the program in 2014 and, though he would not be drawn on the total figure, ITF president Francesco Ricci Bitti said each would contribute equally.

    "All four bodies in tennis are committed to anti-doping in tennis," Ricci Bitti said. "They believe it is one of the pillars to protect the game. All four bodies contribute the same way."

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    1. I'm waiting to see how this plays out. IIRC Dick Pound (or someone with similar credentials), didn't give a ringing endorsement to the bio-passport. That said, I'm always in favour of anything that makes life more difficult for cheats.

      Key nuggets here are budget increases and (apparent) increase in OOC/blood testing numbers. Steps in the right direction, even if they turn out to be too little too late.

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  33. Guys. let it be a fair play! I am truly amazed that Roger's fantastic form during this year's AO has not been discussed here yet. I admit that Federer has always been the least suspicius guy on tour through the years. I am not defending anyone, nor accusing. Just wondering if there are any Fed fans on here, with big enough balls, to discuss their idol's transformation, compared to Fed's performance in 2013. I have full understanding regarding this issue - even if juiced, Fed maybe has the moral right to do it, considering what happened in the past and his age........ Even so, the question is open - is Federer on the juice? What do you think? :)

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    2. He looks like the same old Fed to me, mental hiccups and all. He serves about the same speed too. The shanks are mostly gone, but the bigger racquet head is probably the answer. He seems to be a bit more confident though (but doubt still persists somehow - see his endearing post match interview with Courier regarding his numerous BP misses, very self-deprecating).

      Nice baiting try btw.

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    3. To be fair, Federer has mentioned repeatedly that he is now feeling physically fit, and his injuries have been gone for the last 4 or 5 months. I'm tending to believe him because there were matches last year where it was fairly obvious his movements were hampered and instances where he served very poorly which was presumably due to back issues. This year (and even going as far back as the indoor season last year) he does seem to be moving better. So to me, there’s nothing that seems out of ordinary, he’s still playing fairly short points and trying to dictate the majority of rallies, I don’t even think he’s played to many long rallies (though I think there was a 27-shot one today).

      His average his service holds this tournament so far have been 2 minutes, and also not to mention that he has changed to a new stick which seems to be helping him of his serves. Murray even mentioned in his post match conference that he was playing pretty quickly, my guess is that it’s an effort to keep points and subsequently matches as short as possible, which is what Federer has always done. So yes, nothing unnatural for me regarding Federer’s performance just seems like a player who is finally finding his form after setbacks. Remember first injury he sustained was in Indian Wells 2013. Now if he started serving bombs suddenly, and grinding down every point, then well…

      “I have full understanding regarding this issue - even if juiced, Fed maybe has the moral right to do it”

      >> Disagree, I don’t think anyone has a "moral right" to use PEDs unless there are GENUINE circumstances (TUEs and things like that)

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    4. Of course Federer is doping and is suspect (mono, anyone?), but unfortunately, whilst this site has some good info, it is a Federer fanboy site where they indict everyone but him. His mate Wawrinka has become very suspect over the last year, including going 5 hrs with Eggovic, but not once has he been mentioned on here. Wonder why?

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    5. I think we should play a drinking game every time the phrase "get fit," "getting fit," is uttered. "So and so is losing, they need to get fit." "Use to lose matches, now is fitter and winning" "Worked during the offseason (2 weeks?) getting fit." I had a small smirk when Fed said he worked on getting fit.

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    6. 'New racket' is even more laughable than the 'gluten free' claim. By the way "getting fitter" is just code word for doping, ie Henin "working on her fitness", Serena "fitter than ever" etc.

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    7. To be fair in Murray he beat a player who is not yet fully match fit so nothing out of the ordinary in the performance. Also, the fact that Murray's return to tour has been spotty as he tries to find his grove after a minor op casts yet more dim light on Nadal's miracle come back last year.

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    8. How exactly does having mono make Federer suspect? Have you been reading Cruz’s article and his “attempt” at linking mono and EPO? I wouldn’t. I also don’t remember Federer taking time for mono like Soderling who seemed to contact it out of the blue.

      Yes getting "fit" can definitely a code, much like wanting to get “bigger, stronger and faster”. But in the case of Federer I meant physically fit in the sense that he had back issues and now his back is better; he’s fitter or healthier in that sense.

      But with the lax testing procedures in Tennis, anyone can be doping. I don't know for certain if Federer is or isn't, all I'm saying is his recent performance don't seem suspect to me.

      Finally this place is not a Federer fan-site, go back and skim through the archives of this blog, there have been posts that some may view as implicating Federer. It just seems that you're upset because your favorite player has been the focus in this post and for good reason.

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    9. Being a Nadal fan is always the excuse, even though I'm a Murray fan. I've been reading this site for a while and whenever someone dares mention Federer, it's quickly swotted away. The idea that all the top 4 are doping and Federer isn't is laughable. By the way, yes I think Nadal is doping, the same with Murray, Serena and also Federer. Why is he exempt just because he's the writer's favourite player? Why isn't Wawrinka a suspect also?

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    10. Btw, when this site started, the 'evidence' was just pictures of players hitting a backhand at full force, which showed they were juicing. There was a picture of Federer showing how skinny he was and therefore proof he wasn't doping, even though Contador, Armstrong, Landis etc were skinny. I will say it is now a great site with some great finds and discussion. I hope we one day see a big name player publically banned (and not for a small amount of weed or whatever), but for PEDs.

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    11. Whilst posters here will have their favorites, neither Federer nor any other player is seen as the favorite of the writer. He has been very careful not to play favorites and has been very objective in his content.

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    12. Sorry there fan of Murray. And yes, I too hope that soon any big named players using PEDs will be exposed.

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    13. Boreman is that you? It's been a while. Did you finally get a day pass?

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    14. UntitledK9 is right on the money. I seriously hope Federer is one of the few that isn't doping but as stated previously, testing in tennis is lax. No one should be immune from speculation.

      One of the reason why Federer isn't suspected as much as the others is because he has always firmly stated there should be more testing, that samples should be frozen and retested at later dates when there is more sophisticated technology, and Federer has criticized those quite caught doping unlike Nadal who thinks everyone who tests positive is innocent.

      Federer publicly states that he gets tested rarely and he thinks it's a joke. He's really sticking his neck out there if he's calling for more testing and publicly telling anyone who will listen that he doesn't think he's being tested enough.

      I too hope that a big name will finally get caught/exposed as a drug cheat. If it's Nadal, great. If it's Djokovic, great. If it's Serena, great. If it's Stosur, great. If it's Ferrer, great. If it's Azarenka, great. If it happens by chance that Federer is doping and gets caught, great.

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    15. Federer commenting yesterday after his win over Murray.

      "What I used to do so well, the transition game from defense to offense, I definitely sensed that today, I am back physically. I'm explosive out there. I can get to balls. I'm not afraid to go for balls.

      "Last year at times [I] couldn't do it, but [what's] important is that I can do it now."

      Is that recovery from back injury - or, at 32, something more?

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    16. It’s very commendable for Federer to be talking about not being tested enough and storing samples for future analysis. However, that’s all talk. Very good PR to be at the forefront of stringent anti-doping measures. His stance, to my knowledge, has come rather recently. So at this point, he can say all he wants about testing, with no consequences. By this I mean, he has all ready won a bulk, if not all the majors he will accumulate. So there will be no backlash and his majors will not be able to be proven to have been won “dirty.” From here on then, Federer could play clean as his career seems to winding down (by his standards). Where as Murray, Djokovic, and Nadal still have some years left in the tank. It hurts them (and by extension the tour) more than it does Federer. Every player is selfish looking after their own interests, as is the tour.

      If any player is really interested in showing the public they are clean, can they not hire an independent organization to drug test them? Nope, no player is interested in that because they know something we don’t: how pervasive PED’s really are.

      Fed made 40 million dollars in endorsements last year alone, according to Forbes. Put 1% of that money into proving the world you are clean. Yep, worthless. It’s like Warren Buffet being all for taxing the very rich. At this point he has already made a ton of money to be more than comfortable financially (accumulated actual wealth). Heavily taxing him and other billionaires is worthless, it hurts the little guys more.

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    17. It's not that I am not all for stringent testing, its great. It won't eradicate all doping but at least it will serve as a good deterrent and hopefully curb down doping. Clean players should be rewarded.

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    18. It's easy to say "I want more testing", when you know even if you test positive, you will never be publically banned. Nadal and Murray have been calling for more testing too, doesn't mean they want it. Agassi's whole meth admission was imo, a lie. I think he was popped for steroids instead and of course, it was covered up. Federer's sponsors would never let him be outted. We saw Nike cover up Armstrong's positive tests, why wouldn't they do the same for Federer? In fact, all Nike players are suspicious to me, especially as they are most of the top names - Serena, Nadal, Sharapova, Azarenka, Errani, Li. Federer is just a PR machine anyway.

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    19. Just because I think Murray is doping doesn't mean I'm not his fan. I've supported him since he won the US Open juniors, as I'm British, I've always supported the home guys. However, I've been critical of him for having 'intensive fitness sessions' in Miami, home of Biogenesis, not to mention working with Gil Reyes, hiring Ivan Lendl (suspect doper to me) and 'working on his fitness' to improve his game, it's all obvious to me. He was whining about doping tests until recently, now he wants more.

      It's obvious to me what I'm watching isn't real anymore. I miss S&V on the men's, I miss the creativity and court craft on the women's. They've both taken a backseat to ballbashing slugfests from behind the baseline and more and more 'longest ever' records are being broken. The fact that someone like Wawrinka can go from no-hoper journeyman, to one of the best in the world and slam contender in just 18 months, with a new "improved fitness", speaks volumes.

      You're never going to eradicate doping while the ITF are in charge. They, their sponsors and the media simply don't want the truth to come out. Unless we have an independent drug testing body or a whistleblower it won't happen. However whenever any players dare mention doping, ie Yannick Noah, Christophe Rochus, Fabrice Santoro, Nathalie Tauziat, James Blake, Gianluigi Quinzi etc, they are ridiculed as being bitter and jealous.

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    20. There is a still a big difference between Federer saying he wants more testing (several times) and wants samples freezed for future use, compared to Nadal and Djokovic sticking up for dopers and pretending that they are innocent and part of a conspiracy (how convenient, in case they ever get caught).

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    21. Federer has been speaking out against doping in tennis way back since 2003-2004 before he started dominating the sport. Could he be deflecting/using it as PR - sure he could. But publicly revealing that you don't think you're being tested enough and going around telling other players that you're not being tested is a pretty big risk to take if you are indeed doping. If you believe Robin Haase, he claims Federer told him in 2012 that for the first few months of the year he hadn't had any drug tests, yet the lower-ranked players had already been tested multiple times.

      I've said this before and I'll say it again. Drug testing in tennis sucks. I suspect everyone on some level because the testing is so haphazard. However, there are some that I suspect less than others and Federer is one of them. Who knows, he could be pulling a con job and fooling us all, but to publicly call out your own sport on its (lack of) doping controls/policies and openly admit you aren't being tested is pretty bold and sets himself up for major embarrassment if he is ever caught.

      @NeutralMilkHotel: I agree with you that those who speak out are ridiculed or silenced. It is very frustrating that there can't be an open dialogue about this topic except on sites like this. Go on any other tennis forum and you get shut down pretty quick whenever this is brought up. Then you have the tennis media who, with a few exceptions, defended Cilic and Troicki. I also agree there needs to be an independent body doing the drug testing and that the ITF needs to step aside.

      @Mystery: Exactly. Federer, and to a lesser extent Murray and Tsonga, are at least calling out the drug cheats while Nadal and Djokovic hide their heads in the sand and act as though tennis is 100% clean.

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    22. As much as I am a Federer fan, I think he is just as suspect as everyone else. What saddens me this year is that even though Djokovic was beaten (although he might just increase the juice for the French), it is very possible that Wawrinka was on the juice - he is simply defending better and staying in the rallies way better than last year, and if you want to go further, look to 2011 when he played Federer in the QF. Stan always had the game, but it is his physicality that has improved.

      Federer is obviously a lot less suspicious than the rest but I don't think he can be treated as above suspicion. There is a lot of defending in his game that makes me go, "Wow!", and this is in stark contrast to the likes of Sampras or Edberg, who in their last years were woeful compared to their previous standards of play.

      I guess I have to accept that we will never know. And if anyone wins this tournament, I hope it is Stan or Federer, just because Nadal is the most obviously juiced player in the history of the game, and quite possibly started the trend of uber-doping because it was impossible for guys like Djokovic to beat him without doping themselves.

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  36. Andy Murray, after yesterday's loss.

    "I don't know how many players have come back from surgery and won the first Grand Slam back in their second tournament," he said. "[It's] very unlikely to happen."

    I guess he hasn't been following Nadal's meteoric return to grand slam glory last year after a 7 month injury break. (How long was Andy off? 3 months?)

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