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Doping in Tennis ?


ITF boss slams Federer, Murray

Prague – Francesco Ricci Bitti, president of the International Tennis Federation (ITF), has criticised Roger Federer and Andy Murray for their doubts on the organisation's anti-doping programme.

But the ITF boss also said that he is evaluating doing more tests next year, particularly out-of-competition blood tests.

“You know the players, they like to talk. A few years ago, the same players were complaining because they were being tested,” Ricci Bitti told dpa in an interview.

full article here:
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They weren't complaining about being tested, but at being woken up at 3am before a ******* match.

Wish these people would stop twisting the facts to suit their agendas.
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I posted this in another thread yesterday, but I should have put it here:

Lax drug-testing casts undue shadow over centre court

by: Neil Harman
From: The Times
January 26, 201312:00AM

CONSIDER this hypothetical sketch. After a four-hour match at the Australian Open, in the searing heat of the day, the winner returns to his hotel room and is infused with blood, boosting his red-cell count.

He then takes human growth hormone to repair micro-tears in his muscles and returns to the court 48 hours later in a fitter state than he was at the start of the previous round, runs around and wins again. What could tennis do about it? As things stand, the answer is nothing.

At present, there is no proviso for blood-testing winners and a loser's sample will not be specifically tested for blood-doping unless the authorities request it -- which they do not. They will not say how many tests they do for HGH, which may mean none. Any doper is home and dry. The problem with tennis is not whether it has a cheating culture, but that if it does, unless there is a dramatic shift in approach, we will never know about it.

The sport has moved into realms of dynamism, physicality and athleticism that could never have been imagined 10 years ago and yet the anti-doping program, the responsibility of the ITF in the manner approved by the World Anti-Doping Agency, has not kept up with the times. When world No 1 Novak Djokovic said in Melbourne that he had had one blood test in seven months and in the next breath felt the doping regime was sound, it was a shocking mixed message.

Djokovic was quite astonishing on Thursday night, defeating David Ferrer, the world No 4, 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 in the first semi-final and saying that he is playing the best tennis of his career. "Tonight I just played an incredible match. I don't expect this," he said. Only four days ago, he was taken to the brink in 5hr 2min by Stanislas Wawrinka, of Switzerland, and won 12-10 in the fifth set. In the next two matches, played in the space of 48 hours, he defeated Tomas Berdych, the world No 5, for the loss of 12 games, and the No 4, dropping five.

He is playing like a super-human and knows that people are questioning how he delivers time after time. He deserves the right for the sport to declare him -- and everyone -- unequivocally clean.

Djokovic would be right to be concerned with the laxity of the anti-doping procedures -- he should have had 10 tests in the seven months in which they stuck a needle into his arm once -- and he should also be pointing to the leaders in the sport and asking why more is not done, not simply to be satisfied that they always know where he is.

The Lance Armstrong scandal has every sport rattled and none more so than this one. The new in-word is recovery. There is almost as much discussion about what a player does when no one sees them as what they are achieving when the cameras are on them.

Today, a sense that tennis players simply do not dope pervades the sport's thinking. That is entirely wrongheaded. "The implication that greatness is compromised just because it's great is the biggest disservice you can do," said Justin Gimelstob, a player representative on the ATP board. "You could not do anything more damaging than imply that someone's hard work and talent is artificially enhanced." But only if tennis can be sure that there is no reason for anyone to imply anything will the implications cease.

It is time that Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray took a decisive lead and demanded action. They need to tell the ITF it is its duty to put in place the finest system that money can buy and do the tests that will catch offenders. The anti-doping budget last year was $US1.8 million ($1.7m) and yet there was a $US300,000 underspend. How can that happen? That would pay for 500 decent blood-doping tests and then the sport would really know where it stood.

And how about freezing the blood and urine samples taken from this moment on and keeping them for a decade? If players know that the present quality of testing will not catch them because they are using something undetectable, they would be spooked by the thought of having their samples kept and retrospectively tested at any time in 10 years.

An anti-doping expert told The Times this week: "The storing of samples and publicly pronouncing that you are storing them is one of the biggest deterrents to doping in sport. The next test could be beaten, but it would be hard to beat a decade's advances in technology. It's in a laboratory somewhere -- a ticking time bomb."

Tennis has a global prize-money fund of $US500m, its popularity more profound than it has ever been. Imagine the crushing blow to the sport's prestige should one of the best in the sport be found to have been enhancing their performance.

Any increase in funding should be seen as an insurance policy to protect that astonishing level of investment. It is not about how much is spent: the UCI, cycling's governing body, spent $US5m a year and look what it got -- the Armstrong travesty. It is about how you execute the program with the money at your disposal. And the core of anti-doping is about protecting the reputation of clean athletes as much as it is catching the cheats.
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Drug testing woefully inadequate, say leading figures
By Simon Cambers and Greg Stutchbury

MELBOURNE | Mon Jan 28, 2013 1:10am EST
(Reuters) - Novak Djokovic's cheque for winning the Australian Open on Sunday was more than the entire annual budget for anti-doping in tennis, a program many feel is woefully inadequate.
Djokovic and Andy Murray left Melbourne on Monday with a combined $3.8 million in their pockets for their efforts over the past fortnight.

The total funding for the 2013 anti-doping program stands at $2 million, paid for by the four grand slams, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and ATP and WTA Tours. The cost includes $400,000 for the administration of the program, paid for by the ITF.

Many players, including Djokovic and Murray, have called for more blood tests to ensure there is no cheating.

Of the 2,150 tests carried out by the ITF in 2011, the last set of figures available, 131 were blood tests and only 21 were out of competition.

Blood tests accounted for between three and six percent of all tests in tennis in 2011, compared to 35 percent in cycling and 17.6 percent in athletics.

"I would struggle to know if there is any other sport where their drug-testing program has gone backwards in recent years," said Darren Cahill, who coached Lleyton Hewitt and Andre Agassi to the world number one spot.

Following Lance Armstrong's confession that he took drugs in all seven of his Tour de France cycling wins, tennis has come in for greater scrutiny with regards to doping.

"You get blood tested at the slams, usually after you lose, but I've never been blood tested out of competition," said American Mike Bryan, who won a record 13th grand slam title together with twin brother Bob Bryan in the men's doubles on Saturday.

Bryan told Reuters he is probably tested around 20 times a year, but out-of-competition, through the whereabouts programme, it has only ever been urine tests.

Urine tests can detect many drugs, including EPO, one of several taken by Armstrong and other leading cyclists but only blood tests can detect HGH, human growth hormone.


John Fahey, the head of the World Anti-Doping Agency, said tennis has an "effective anti-doping programme" but that more should be done.

"If there are insufficient blood samples being taken then athletes will become aware of that and make it the drug of their choice because they know the sport does not pay attention to blood testing," Fahey told Reuters by telephone.

"I would like to see a compulsory percentage of all tests being blood to make sure that some of these areas are not slipping through the loop.

"There has been a propensity to draw back on blood testing across the board. I will be pushing to have that altered by way of mandatory blood testing provisions in the amended code that will be signed off in November this year at our world conference.

"Another worry is that sometimes when they take a urine sample they do not tell the laboratory to analyse it for everything.

"EPO, which was the drug of choice, was not being tested for to keep the costs down. I believe that we need to change that."

Bryan said if players have any evidence their rivals are cheating, they have an obligation to tell the authorities.

"You'd rat them out," he told Reuters. "It's like the honour code; you have to. You just don't want to get caught up in a whole scandal like that. You want to do the right thing, even if it's your friend. If it was my brother, I'd probably rat my brother out."


Between the grand slams, the ATP Tour, WTA Tour and ITF circuits, tennis pays out at least $300 million in prize money, while installing and running the Hawk-Eye challenge system costs tournaments between $50,000 and $60,000 per court.

Cahill said the increasing revenue created by the sport globally means that more should be invested in the programme.

"Maybe with all the money the players are pulling out of the slams at the moment, it might even be a pro-active thing for the players to invest a little bit back into the programme," he told Reuters.

"That would send a strong message to the community that not only do we believe in our sport but that we're also making sure we're taking measures to make sure our sport is clean."

Fahey said the responsibility for funding was with the authorities, not the players.

"It's up to the administrators to make abundantly clear that funds will be allocated," he said. "If that means cutting back on a small percentage of the prize money allocated at any tournament then so be it.

The ITF said last week that it is considering introducing the biological passport, which detects changes in biological markers in the blood, rather than looking for specific drugs.

Some players have said that the relatively low number of positive tests - there have been 63 "incidences of doping" since 1995 - shows that the sport is clean.

But Cahill disagreed: "I think the lessons of the last few months are that we can never be too careful with that."
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The final has made me suspicious of Djokovic once again. Murray has a tough 4 hour match against Federer, and the effects of that are obvious in the final. Djokovic has a 5+ hour match against Warinka, then wipes out Berdych and Ferrer without any ill effects at all. I can't believe Djokovic is do much fitter than Murray. I don't think it's me just trying to make excuses for Murray. There just seems to be something odd in Djokovic's "magical" powers of recovery. I have said before I can't stand Federer, who has beaten Murray in more GS finals, but I am not suspicious of him. I remain very suspicious of Djokovic, Nadal and Ferrer (similar age to Federer but not seemingly giving any signs of it).

Cue more rants from other folk. I repeat this is just my opinion. Others have and are entitled to differing opinions.
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I don't know, nor want to believe any current player dopes.
I'm just posting the articles for folks to read and comment as they please.
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Am I right that the ITT uses loser targeted testing, so that Warwrinka, Berdych, Ferrer, Federer, and Murray will all have been tested but not Djokovic? If its true it seems an idiotic way of trying to ensure any sport not just tennis is clean.

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I think it's a hot button issue right now due to the cycling scandals.

But people are forgetting that players have played long matches like that FOR A LONG TIME and they have recovered just fine.

Look at Edberg's path to the US Open title in 1992: that's three 5 setters in a row and a 4 set final versus Sampras. And don't forget - the semis and final are BACK-TO-BACK with no day off.

R128   Luiz Mattar (BRA)    74   W 6-4, 7-5, 6-2   
R64   Jakob Hlasek (SUI)    28   W 7-5, 6-2, 6-1   
R32   Jonas Svensson (SWE)    71   W 6-4, 6-2, 6-2   
R16   Richard Krajicek (NED)    15   W 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-3, 3-6, 6-4   
Q   Ivan Lendl (USA)    7   W 6-3, 6-3, 3-6, 5-7, 7-6(3)   
S   Michael Chang (USA)    4   W 6-7(3), 7-5, 7-6(3), 5-7, 6-4   
W   Pete Sampras (USA)    3   W 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(5), 6-2   

This is merely one example of many!

PLUS I find it weird how people can suspect Nole but not the others. Fed had mono in 2008 (all year according to many of his fans) yet he beat Tipsy in a five-setter at the AO and went all the way to the semis. And at the USO he beat Andreev in a long 5 setter, recovered, beat Nole in the semis and then Andy in the finals. But he's innocent and Nole or Rafa aren't?

Nole has won 5-setters back-to-back as far back as 2007 - look at his runs at Wimbledon or the USO that year. So he was doping since then? Seems far-fetched?

I don't think Andy's *fitness* was at issue in the final; he didn't look tired at all - the problem was the blisters! Nole retired at Wimbledon in 2007 for infected blisters.  Rafa retired or lost at Rome in 2008 also due to blisters. It's tough to play with those. But Andy would've been fine to go 5 sets. He just couldn't run as well as he might or push off to serve.

So Nole played a 5 setter vs Stan and then beat Berd? Big deal. Nole owns Berd. He doesn't have to run a lot versus him. And then Ferrer played pretty poorly versus Nole. And then Nole had TWO days before the final to recover versus Andy's one.

This is the reverse of the USO where Nole had some back-to-back matches due to rain, and he had one less day of recovery time than Andy. And what happened in that match? He lost. You could tell he was out of gas somewhat in the 5th set, not that Andy didn't fully deserve the win. He handled the conditions better, and he served tremendously well in that final set, taking command early.

ANYhow, I say innocent until proven guilty. And I don't suspect these guys. I just think they are fit young men at the peak of their abilities. But the onus is on the governing bodies to implement different, more, or better testing - if they are concerned. Nole himself said they can test him "10, 20, 30 times"; he doesn't care.
[ Last edit by janetx January 28, 2013, 04:26 PM ] IP Logged

Janet, the reason why people get all suspicious about Nole is because he wasn't the fittest player around till 2010 - quite the opposite in fact. However there was a significant amount of physical turnaround since 2011. This raised a lot of questions.  

When there were rumours around Lance Armstrong back in 2005 and some even went to sue him, he sued them back saying that they had absolutely no base for their suspicion. You can see at what point he went just to prove himself right even when he was dead wrong. So I don't care what players are saying these days. It may turn out they were the ones all along after all.

And Andy was both mentally and physically spent after the 2nd set in the final. No one will be able to convince me otherwise. I know the difference between when Andy is tired and when he’s not.

Anyway, I am not saying Nole is on to something but it won’t surprise me a bit. While they are all very competitive be it Federer or Nadal or Nole or Andy, some won’t mind taking things to another level.

Re: the Edberg stat - it should be noted that back on those days, these courts would play very fast so it's not a very fair comparison. It’s not exactly apples to apples but more like apples to oranges. Today’s rallies are longer than ever. Edberg used to keep points as short as possible. You are basically comparing S&V players on fast surface vs Baseliners vs medium slow surface. Big difference there.

Even if you play on a medium slow surface, this S&V style is the least taxing style out there in tennis. Both Nadal and Nole (and Ferrer) are pure baseliners whose styles are incredibly taxing on the body. This begs the question.
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What I am picking up is that more and more questions are being asked in the mainstream press and other places about doping in tennis. ND's recovery after that Wawrinka match is making people I.e. Harman in the Times start to ask serious questions.
 Interestingly enough I have just been on another website, (not the Tennishasasteriodproblem one, which I think goes way over the top with their attitude of anybody who wins must automatically be doping), suggesting that the next EPO outing is going to come from tennis. Given it's a wide ranging discussion site, that is generally sensible, and doesn't seem to have any axes to grind, it could be that many people's suspicions maybe confirmed one way or another soon.

For anyone interested the site is piston  - sports - the tennis thread
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The reason why I find it a bit suspicious is that Nole's struggle against Wawrinka came early in the 4th round. He still had 3 more matches to play and that’s a lot. And his opponents weren't any laughing matter. He had to play 4 sets match vs Bercdy; another 3 sets vs Ferrer; and then finally, another 4 sets vs Andy. These are all top ten players but still Nole didn’t look anything being close to tired. Andy only had to play one 5 setter and he looked completely knackered in the 3rd set. Though I maintain that it was mostly mental due to his win over Federer and perhaps the blister played a major role as well, but this is nothing new. Andy’s match vs Isner in 2011 USO took a lot out of him and he couldn’t survive Nadal there even when Andy was the better player on hard. Sampras has been telling him to cut points short so that he could sustain for longer; as in play much more aggressively to save energy. The point being, we (as well as Sampras) have seen Andy getting all tired after a couple of somewhat long matches and it’s been a big concern among many of us.  And so many players were affected too. Simon, Chardy and a few others. It’s just amazing how only a handful players are totally above that and nothing seems to affect them.
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Well anyway, I don't know about Nadal but Nole might just be that healthy these days. And motivated.
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Emma Jean - my thoughts exactly. I am convinced that there is "something fishy in the state of Serbia". I am not convinced that ND's dominance in tennis is being achieved without additional assistance. It was predicted accurately that Simon had no chance against Murray after the Monfiles match ( their head to head being irrelevant), Federer would struggle more than usual after the Tsonga match etc, etc. what makes Djokovic so different?
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Its funny how little things sometimes  raise suspicion more than more obviously strange things. I remember watching the interview with ND just after he beat Andy in the five hour, five set semi in the AO last year. He didn't seem at all fazed at the thought of playing Nadal so soon and joked that he was going home to do some push-ups!  Probably just happy after such a close match, but it almost seemed like in his own mind he was thinking 'yeh, I've got that covered!!' 
But I think his six hour win two days later must have raised the most questions in people's minds. 
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Emma Jean - my thoughts exactly. I am convinced that there is "something fishy in the state of Serbia". I am not convinced that ND's dominance in tennis is being achieved without additional assistance. It was predicted accurately that Simon had no chance against Murray after the Monfiles match ( their head to head being irrelevant), Federer would struggle more than usual after the Tsonga match etc, etc. what makes Djokovic so different?
What are your thoughts on Murray's fitness?

Why, in the 5th set in New York, was Djokovic the one tiring when it was Murray who had spend 3 hours extra on court throughout the tournament?
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