Doping in Tennis Thread (No accusations without proof. Wada could test using hair) - Page 2 - MensTennisForums.com

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View Poll Results: Does Tennis need more/stricter testing?

yes 282 83.93%
no 54 16.07%
Voters: 336. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 09-12-2010, 12:07 AM   #16
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Default Re: A short history of drugs in tennis

Short when compared to James Joyce's Ulysses, yes.
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Armstrong says in-competition testing will never catch anyone, only out-of-competition testing and the blood passport can.

Tennis has no blood passport system, and does basically no out of competition testing.

The methods and drugs used by Armstrong in 1999 would work in tennis right now, with zero chance of being caught (not slightly surprising to anyone familiar with the topic, btw).
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Old 09-12-2010, 01:34 AM   #17
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Default Re: A short history of drugs in tennis

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Originally Posted by philosophicalarf View Post
1) Lots of money in tennis.

2) Basically no out-of-competition testing. It's near impossible to miss 3 tests in 18 months when there are only about 70ish total tests for top100 male singles players performed in a year, ie an average of 1.33 a week. Many of these are actually done at tournament sites also, so are totally superfluous as nobody would be using catchable substances at those times.

3) On top of that, what little OOC testing is performed is badly flawed - no EPO tests, and urine only, not blood or hair.

4) No test for HGH is performed in or out of competition.

5) EPO only tested for at 3 events a year.

6) The ATP has covered up things even when players are caught, as with Agassi and the dozens of "supplements" players.



It's thus inevitable lots of top players are juicing ..... and looking at the physiques of some, it's very obvious they are (especially the women, many of whom put East German swimming teams to shame).
I suspect EPO is more prevalent than anabolic agents in the men's game given that extra strength is of relatively little benefit in such a technical sport compared to endurance (although there is obviously crossover between stength and endurance).

There are very few male players that arouse my suspicion on the grounds of physique.
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Old 09-12-2010, 02:28 AM   #18
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Default Re: A short history of drugs in tennis

No mention of Mats Wilander testing positive for cocaine at the 95 french open?
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Old 09-12-2010, 04:49 AM   #19
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Default Re: A short history of drugs in tennis

Quote:
Originally Posted by Henry Chinaski View Post
I suspect EPO is more prevalent than anabolic agents in the men's game given that extra strength is of relatively little benefit in such a technical sport compared to endurance (although there is obviously crossover between stength and endurance).

There are very few male players that arouse my suspicion on the grounds of physique.
I can't think of a single one myself.....nor can I think of any reason why any of the male players would want to be (a lot) more muscular.

But I suspect many are using whatever it is athletes use these days to aid in endurance, stamina, and recovery.

Finally, why the hell would the ATP want to catch any of these guys? What incentive do they have? Why would they want the sport to be scandalized? All they want is the appearance (to the casual fan) that the sport is clean. When most fans think of steroids, they only think of "huge guys" so the average fan would not even really consider that drugs are widespread in tennis......well, except for Nadal of course, because he is "so huge"
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Old 09-12-2010, 02:08 PM   #20
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Default Re: A short history of drugs in tennis

Quote:
Originally Posted by Henry Chinaski View Post
I suspect EPO is more prevalent than anabolic agents in the men's game given that extra strength is of relatively little benefit in such a technical sport compared to endurance (although there is obviously crossover between stength and endurance).
Some theories have it steroids would only be used in off season training, along with HGH and so on to allow them to train harder and longer than otherwise. Dunno how credible that is.

Quote:
There are very few male players that arouse my suspicion on the grounds of physique.
Yes, I'd probably agree - there are maybe 2 or 3 for me, but they all have other suspicious factors (rapid change in physique, associations with coaches who have "form"). On the women's side the strength boost is probably more useful, and the effects of drugs more pronounced. There are many there who just look completely unnatural - like some low weight class of bodybuilding.


Of course, if more advanced drugs are ahead of testing, players could be juiced in major tournaments quite happily. Look at the Balco brigade, Marion Jones never tested positive for example. I hope that isn't the case because it would be transforming the sport into a freak show, and the lack of players caught suggests to me this probably isn't happening - the experience of sprinting and cycling seems to suggest these things go in step leaps, where testing and doping are alternately ahead of one other. Possibly this is what happened with the nandrolene bunch 8/9 years ago, but that's quite a gap in time.

Last edited by philosophicalarf : 09-12-2010 at 02:35 PM.
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Old 09-24-2010, 02:16 AM   #21
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Default Re: A short history of drugs in tennis

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Originally Posted by Mjau! View Post
This is worrying.
I asked you a question. Maybe you can also use Google to check on what being pretty backwards mean?
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Old 09-24-2010, 08:16 AM   #22
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Default Re: A short history of drugs in tennis

Quote:
Originally Posted by aloniv View Post
No mention of Mats Wilander testing positive for cocaine at the 95 french open?
Was about to ask ... i remember he and Karel Novacek (former top10 player) were involved in drug scandal
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Old 09-24-2010, 09:51 AM   #23
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Default Re: A short history of drugs in tennis

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us open - looks like another djoker-rafa final, tennis will win regardless of the outcome.
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Old 09-24-2010, 10:23 AM   #24
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Default Re: A short history of drugs in tennis

Not sure why this would surprise anyone. All sports have steroid problems, especially an international sport like tennis where players from less "honorable" countries think nothing of sharing the juice to their countrymen.

Sports like baseball, cycling, running have had steroid controversies affect the very top players, surely tennis is no different and the ATP won't investigate. Players getting stronger in all sports at around the same time is no coincidence, and it's even more obvious in tennis where finesse and technical skill have been replaced by pure power and athleticism, which has now conquered all 4 slams.
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Old 09-24-2010, 02:29 PM   #25
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Default Re: A short history of drugs in tennis

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Originally Posted by gulzhan View Post
I asked you a question. Maybe you can also use Google to check on what being pretty backwards mean?
Oh, she knows it. She actually comes from an undeveloped country, belive me.
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Edberg must be spinning in his grave!
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As usual Mjau! is right on the money. Her analysis is flawless. It is unfortunate not everyone is as brilliant as her.
Butthurtism in Tennis Thread (demonstration inside).
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Old 10-15-2010, 11:13 PM   #26
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Default Re: A short history of drugs in tennis

I have compiled (read: stolen a compilation) of quotes from players and officials on the subject of doping.

John McEnroe in 1992:

Quote:
“You can tell when someone has been on steroids,” he said… “A guy bulks up, has a new body and never gets tired.”
He said athletes on steroids heal more quickly after an injury, recover faster after grueling matches and work much harder during training.

“You see these guys or girls who come onto the tour talking about their new training programs and their diets where they eat this or that new thing…but they’ll never tell you about the drugs they took."
http://news.google.com/newspapers?ni...pg=5751,254816

Mahesh Bhupati:

Quote:
“The tennis players themselves have brought it (anti-doping rules) upon themselves. A lot of players have been cheating. The players have to cooperate to weed out instances of cheating from sports,”
http://www.indianexpress.com/news/pl...ays-bh/423468/

Andrew Ilie:

Quote:
"The problem is so bad that you might as well just let them use it and when players see people dying on court and exploding, then it's going to change their minds.

The sport has become so competitive and powerful it is just a matter of fitness and who will outlast who out there.

People are just happy to sacrifice their health for three years of fame."
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/tenn...03/2661895.stm

Quote:
"The chief executive of the Australian Sports Drug Agency, John Mendoza, said tennis was approaching a similar crisis that swimming faced at the farcical 1994 Rome world championships and that cycling encountered before the Tour de France drug busts in 1997.

"Players can use short-acting steroids in combination with human growth hormone which will produce muscle mass and enormous power, and while they can stop just before a competition and test clean, they still get the performance benefit of the drugs," Mendoza said.
http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2002/...185087993.html

Quote:
"Only someone in denial would think women's tennis is clean," Mendoza said.

"The physiques are bizarre, like the Chinese swimmers were. What we saw in swimming with the Chinese is akin to what we're seeing in tennis. You do not become like that by working out in the gym."

Mendoza did not accuse any specific players but said tennis – both men's and women's – faced a potential drug problem as significant as cycling before the sport began a systematic testing regime to clean up the doping culture after 1997.

"What happened with both of those sports (swimming and cycling) was that they refused to implement an effective out-of-competition testing program," he said.

"FINA was forced to move and has got on top of the problem while cycling is getting there but still needs to improve."

Cycling's premier road event, the Tour de France, was rocked by one of the biggest doping scandals ever in 1998 with the entire Festina team thrown off the Tour, some of its riders banned and its director and a medical team member copping suspended jail sentences.

Italy's best three riders, Marco Pantani, Stefano Garzelli and Gilberto Simoni, have since been banned from cycling in subsequent doping scandals.

There have been 10 Chinese swimmers, including Yuan Yuan who was caught before the 1998 World Championships in Perth and banned for four years for trafficking human growth hormone, and one Chinese swim coach banned for doping offences since 1993.

International Tennis Federation (ITF) executive director Debbie Jevans said 700 tennis players were tested last year, with top male players tested on average seven times.

ITF spends $1 million on drug tests each year with 8000 tests carried out for just seven positives over the past seven years when anti-doping screens were first introduced to the sport, Jevans said.

The ITF also announced at Wimbledon they were likely to introduce blood screening for the endurance-boosting drug EPO before the Australian Open in January.

But last year only 50 of the 700 tests were out-of-competition screens, and none of those 50 were on female tennis players.

Mendoza said the large numbers of tests did not prove doping was not rife.

Tests would not stop doping if the screens were done during competition or by giving the athlete plenty of warning.

"Tennis is being dominated by a group of women who are not what they appear to be. They are not real," he said.

"The signs of substance abuse among leading players are self evident. The dynamics of the game have changed. Tennis officials are refusing to accept they have a problem."
http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?t=31374 (the original Daily Telegraph link doesn't work)

Quote:
Mendoza was widely condemned by tennis authorities for daring to speak out about his concerns. He warned in 2002 that tennis officials were living in a "fool's paradise" if they did not recognise a major problem in their sport. "Tennis is heavily under the influence of doping and they are in denial if they don't accept that," he said. In response, International Tennis Federation executive director Debbie Jevans accused Mendoza of making "broad-brush statements without any evidence".
Mendoza was not at all surprised yesterday to hear of Agassi's admission. "I didn't say it (in 2002) just because I felt like a bit of notoriety. I said it because there was so much evidence from within the sport that things were right off the rails. "I had been hearing from 1997 that they (ITF and ATP) were burying results, and the WTA wasn't testing at all." He said there was rampant speculation at the time that Agassi was using drugs."Agassi was viewed by his peers as a user,"
http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au...010361,00.html

Nicolas Escudé:

Quote:
"To say that tennis today is clean you have to be living in a dream world.

When you're playing on clay and after 50 shots the guy on the other side of the net is fresh and waiting for you to serve, while you're in agony, it's mind-blowing."

Escude slammed Miles for his passive attitude towards doping, and branded measures taken against those caught as ridiculous.

"What I don't understand is that, if a company's accounts show bad results, the boss is always the first one to get fired," he said.

"So when I hear today that Mark Miles is untouchable, I begin to wonder."

And he claimed that the top tennis players were keeping a lid on the problem because the ATP has dossiers on them.

"The problem is that the ATP is lead by Americans, while 85 percent of players are Europeans and the money comes from Europe," he said.

"It's a mafia that's in place. If these dossiers were exposed, tennis would be in a bad state for six months. But out of the bad would come some good."
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/tennis/2027664.stm

Nathalie Tauziat:

Quote:
"I won't name individuals," she said, "but it's clear that doping exists in tennis and needs to be stopped. I have no hard evidence, but all I will say is that you don't have to have a degree in medicine to see that some of the players have transformed themselves almost overnight. It's time people stopped taking us for a bunch of fools. I don't care how much training or gym work you do, there is no way anyone can suddenly become stronger and faster in the space of a couple of months. How is it that some girls disappear for a few weeks, and then return looking totally different?"

"We also need more blood- testing if we are to get to the bottom of this growing problem. I'm particularly concerned for the younger players. They're often the victims of unscrupulous people, who try to sell products which allow them to recuperate more quickly. It must stop."
http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/t...ts-675364.html

Jim Courier:

Quote:
"EPO is the problem," Jim Courier told Newsweek in 1999, referring to erythropoietin, a blood-boosting drug that became ubiquitous in cycling in the 1990s. "I have pretty strong suspicions that guys are using it on the tour. I see guys who are out there week in and week out without taking rests. EPO can help you when it's the fifth set and you've been playing for four-and-a-half hours."
http://www.newsweek.com/1999/02/14/t...l-scandal.html

Operacion Puerto

When the major doping scandal Operacion Puerto broke there were a lot of rumours of the involvement of tennis players...

Background:

Quote:
"The Operación Puerto doping case (Operation Mountain Pass)[1] is a Spanish doping case against doctor Eufemiano Fuentes and a number of accomplices, started in May 2006. He is accused of administering prohibited doping products to 200 professional athletes, to enhance their performance."

"Spanish police raided residences. In one, belonging to Fuentes, they found a thousand doses of anabolic steroids, 100 packets of blood products, and machines to manipulate and transfuse them."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operaci...to_doping_case

...this was also claimed by the doping doctor Fuentes himself, as well as others close to the investigation.

Quote:
¿Sus clientes o pacientes sólo son ciclistas o también ha tratado a deportistas de otras especialidades?
Fuentes: He tratado deportistas de muchas especialidades: ciclistas, tenistas, atletas, futbolistas.... Veinticinco años de profesión dan cabida para mucho.

¿En qué porcentaje ha tratado a ciclistas respecto a otros deportistas?
Fuentes: Es difícil saberlo... Pero pongamos que ha habido un 30 por ciento de ciclistas, un 20 de tenistas, otro 20 de futbolistas y el 30 por ciento restante pertenecían a deportes varios.

Are your clients or patients only cyclists or have you also treated athletes from other sports?
Fuentes: "I've treated athletes from many sports: cyclists, tennis players, athletes (track & field), footballers .... Twenty-five years of work make room for a lot."

What percentage of those treated were cyclists and other athletes respectively?
Fuentes: "It's hard to say ... But let's say there has been 30 percent cyclists, 20 percent tennis players, another 20 percent football players and 30 percent belonged to other sports."
http://www.lasprovincias.es/alicante...L-DEP-232.html

Quote:
"Me indigna la filtración selectiva."

"I am outraged by the selective filtration."

"Sólo han salido nombres de ciclistas... como ayuda a la recuperación, a futbolistas, tenistas o atletas".

Only names of cyclists were leaked, but he also treated footballers, tennis players and (track & field) athletes.
http://www.elpais.com/articulo/depor...23/Tes?print=1

Quote:
Im WDR spricht Pat McQuaid, Präsident des Rad-Weltverbandes UCI, davon, dass er im Jahr 2006 in Anwesenheit von Ermittlungsbehörden und des spanischen Sportministers die Auskunft erhielt, dass auch andere Sportarten betroffen wären: Schwimmen, Rudern, Tennis und Fußball.

Pat McQuaid, president of the UCI Road World Federation, told WDR that he received in 2006, in the presence of investigative authorities and the Spanish sports minister (note: Jaime Lissavetzky, who publically claimed that only cyclist were involved.), information that other sports would be affected: swimming, rowing, tennis and football.
http://www.wienerzeitung.at/default....ort&cob=519213

Fuentes has most likely been up to no good since the 80's, or at least the 90's.

Quote:
"The wife of the doctor at the center of Spain's biggest doping investigation says Spanish sports would be ruined if she revealed what she knows about drug use among athletes.

"I know what happened at Barcelona '92 and I'm a Pandora's Box that, if opened one day, could bring down sport,"
http://sports.espn.go.com/oly/news/story?id=3712847

Quote:
"The first case of performance enhancement to which Fuentes has been linked was a family affair. It happened in the mid-1980s, and the athlete in question was Cristina Pérez, Fuentes's wife.

A few years later, Fuentes, after developing contacts to the cycling scene, became team physician for various profession teams, ultimately even becoming their training and competition strategist. The physician never seemed to be bothered by persistent rumors of his involvement in doping activities. "I was always under suspicion," he says, "but nothing ever happened."

The more successful his riders became, the safer and more confident Fuentes felt. Before a difficult individual time trial in the 1991 Tour of Spain, or Vuelta, the doctor was sitting on a plane bound for the Spanish Mediterranean island of Mallorca. Fuentes told journalists also traveling on the flight that the cooler on the seat next to him contained "the key to victory in the Vuelta." His comments proved to be true, when a pro on the team sponsored by Fuentes's employer at the time, Once, won not only the difficult time trial but also the overall tour.

A paradise for performance enhancement

Besides, until now there has been very little public pressure in Spain to prosecute those involved in performance enhancement. Even El País, an investigative newspaper that now leads the pack in reporting on "Operation Mountain Pass," was long averse to even addressing the topic.

This atmosphere allowed Spain to develop into a paradise for athletes interested in performance enhancement. The first reports about compliant doctors and well-equipped laboratories began making the rounds in the track and field world in the late 1990s. The suspicion that a network had developed in this environment was confirmed last year when the police staged a spectacular coup against the drug cartel. In a series of raids on the Spanish mainland, as well as on the Canary and Balearic Islands, police secured 10 tons of illegal doping products."
http://www.spiegel.de/international/...5939-2,00.html

Note that the article below, an interview with Dr Eufemiano Fuentes, is from 1985.

"Los atletas españoles reciben ayuda médica para mejorar sus resultados" (Spanish athletes receive medical help to improve performance):
http://www.elpais.com/articulo/depor...pepidep_11/Tes

The handling of the affair has been criticised by WADA among others. Sadly, it appears as though a proper investigation will never take place.

Quote:
"Wahrscheinlich könnte man schon ermitteln, welche Sportler bei Fuentes gedopt haben. Aber da dies für das Strafrecht nicht relevant ist, wurden diese Ermittlungen nicht durchgeführt. Und deshalb werden mit großer Wahrscheinlichkeit in dem Verfahren gegen Fuentes auch keine neuen Sportlernamen oder Sportarten auftauche", erklärte der für den Fall Fuentes zuständige Madrider Oberstaatsanwalt Eduardo Esteban"

- One could probably find out which athletes were doped by Fuentes but this is not relevant for the law.

"Wenn das Urteil endgültig ist, nach einer möglichen Berufung, dann ist es wahrscheinlich, dass am Ende die Blutbeutel und Beweise zerstört werden", sagte der zuständige Revisionsrichter am Oberlandesgericht Madrid, Arturo Beltran,"

- The evidence is likely to be destroyed.
http://www.focus.de/sport/mehrsport/...id_555979.html

Drug testing in tennis

Tennis players have only been required to report their whereabouts in season since 2009. Before that it was limited to the off-season (i.e december).

2009 testing statistics

In-Competition
Urine: 1749
Blood: 157 - Only done at slams (one at each for top players).
EPO: 21 - 4 at Roland Garros, 15 at Wimbledon (green clay? ), 2 at the US Open.

Out-of-Competition
Urine: 154 - At least 61 of these so called "out"-of-competition tests were actually carried out at tournaments. An additional 49 missions resulted in "no sample being collected". No player was tested more than twice (and even that is a rarity).
Blood: 0
EPO: 0

As you can see, there are very few blood and EPO tests, no blood or EPO tests done OOC and very few OOC tests altogether.

I will leave it to Victor Conte of BALCO fame to explain why this is a big problem.

Quote:
It is important to understand that it is not really necessary for athletes to have access to designer anabolic steroids such as THG. They can simply use fast acting testosterone (oral as well as creams and gels) and still easily avoid the testers. For example, oral testosterone will clear the system in less than a week and testosterone creams and gels will clear even faster.

Many drug tested athletes use what I call the “duck and dodge” technique. Several journalists in the UK have recently referred to it as the “duck and dive” technique. This is basically how it works.

First, the athlete repeatedly calls their own cell phone until the message capacity is full. This way the athlete can claim to the testers that they didn’t get a message when they finally decide to make themselves available. Secondly, they provide incorrect information on their whereabouts form. They say they are going to one place and then go to another. Thereafter, they start using testosterone, growth hormone and other drugs for a short cycle of two to three weeks.

After the athlete discontinues using the drugs for a few days and they know that they will test clean, they become available and resume training at their regular facility.

Most athletes are tested approximately two times each year on a random out-of -competition basis. If a tester shows up and the athlete is not where they are supposed to be, then the athlete will receive a “missed test.” This is the equivalent to receiving “strike one” when up to bat in a baseball game. The current anti-doping rules allow an athlete to have two missed tests in any given eighteen month period without a penalty or consequence. So, the disadvantage for an athlete having a missed test is that they have one strike against them. The advantage of that missed test is that the athlete has now received the benefit of a cycle of steroids. Long story short, an athlete can continue to duck and dive until they have two missed tests, which basically means that they can continue to use drugs until that time.
Quote:
EPO becomes undetectable about seventy-two hours after subcutaneous injection (stomach) and only twenty-four hours after intraveneous injection.
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/spo...cle3941984.ece

Quote:
"What people fail to understand is that by increasing production of red blood cells you are transporting more oxygen to the muscles and you are also removing carbon dioxide, ammonia and lactic acid, all the byproducts of exercise. EPO is a recovery drug. It's a training drug."
http://www.cbc.ca/news/story/2009/05...wada-fifa.html

Quote:
What people don't understand, and we'll talk specifically about anabolic steroids, now, is that you perform far better when you're a couple of weeks off of steroids than you do when you're on steroids. The reason is that steroids work through a process called 'Cell-voluminaztion.' So it makes you pumped, and you give yourself more nutrients and fluids inside of the cells. And it helps you to grow and it helps you to become stronger, but it also makes you tight. You lack in flexibility and speed. If you taper off of steroids for two weeks, you can regain a normal water balance and you are faster and more powerful than ever.
http://redirectingat.com/?id=92X5883...589%26page%3D2

The ITF refuses (refused?) to test for banned erythropoietic-stimulating agent, CERA.

Quote:
LA CERA NON RECHERCHEE A ROLAND GARROS
Cyclismag.com - 25 mai 2009
La CERA, EPO troisième génération, ne sera pas recherchée pendant Roland Garros. Selon la fédération internationale
de tennis (ITF), elle n'est pas utilisée dans ce sport. L'Agence française de lutte contre le dopage (AFLD) souhaitait
pourtant la rechercher durant la quinzaine parisienne. Pierre Bordry, président de l'AFLD, n'a pas souhaité commenté
cette décision. "La collaboration avec l'ITF est très claire et donne satisfaction" a-t-il tout de même déclaré.

CERA, the third-generation EPO, won't be searched for at Roland-Garros. According to the International Tennis Federation (ITF), it is not in use in this sport. The French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) wanted to test for it during the two weeks in Paris. Pierre Bordry, the president of the AFLD, did not want to comment this decision. He said however that "The collaboration with the ITF is very clear and satisfies us".
http://services.poissonbouge.net/cli...da1b22be1e.pdf

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Old 10-15-2010, 11:28 PM   #27
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Default Re: A short history of drugs in tennis

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Originally Posted by philosophicalarf View Post
1) Lots of money in tennis.

2) Basically no out-of-competition testing. It's near impossible to miss 3 tests in 18 months when there are only about 70ish total tests for top100 male singles players performed in a year, ie an average of 1.33 a week. Many of these are actually done at tournament sites also, so are totally superfluous as nobody would be using catchable substances at those times.

3) On top of that, what little OOC testing is performed is badly flawed - no EPO tests, and urine only, not blood or hair.

4) No test for HGH is performed in or out of competition.

5) EPO only tested for at 3 events a year.

6) The ATP has covered up things even when players are caught, as with Agassi and the dozens of "supplements" players.



It's thus inevitable lots of top players are juicing ..... and looking at the physiques of some, it's very obvious they are (especially the women, many of whom put East German swimming teams to shame).
Something has to explain the physique of Serena Williams.
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Old 10-16-2010, 12:21 AM   #28
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Default Re: A short history of drugs in tennis

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Something has to explain the physique of Serena Williams.
What is the question? She has her mother's genes and doesn't do a lot of cardio.
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Old 10-16-2010, 12:29 AM   #29
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Default Re: A short history of drugs in tennis

Testing a joke? You're out of your mind. Imagine having to explain every day of your life where you are or intend to be so you could be tested (even in your vacations). It's CRAZY. These guys are human, some tend to forget.

Another interesting article on the subject I posted in the non-tennis section:

Murray's drug fear a sign of the times
Richard Evans



Updated Oct 14, 2010 11:32 AM ET

“I’d rather be feeling sick for a few more days than risk failing a drugs test.”

In one quick quote in Shanghai, Andy Murray lifted the lid a little, first of all on the seemingly inexplicable losses he has suffered recently at the U.S. Open and Beijing and, secondly, on the prevailing attitude in the ATP locker room towards drugs.

Quite clearly that attitude is laced with fear. Last year, the International Tennis Federation, which runs the tennis drugs program in conjunction with the ATP, conducted 2,126 tests on men and women players at a cost of $1.5 million. To take one case, Roger Federer was tested 17 times, one of them out of competition.

Murray, who slumped to defeat in lethargic fashion to Stan Wawrinka at the U.S. Open and hardly put up a fight against Ivan Ljubicic while losing in straight sets in Beijing, admitted that he had been feeling unwell for some weeks.

“I had a really bad throat and a sore head and had no energy,” he said after beating the Chinese wild card, Bai Yan, 6-2, 6-2 in his first match at the ATP Masters Series tournament in Shanghai. “But I feel much better now.”

Murray, a canny Scot, obviously has no intention of taking the slightest risk as he attempts to get his year back on track and qualify for the ATP World Finals in London next month. And, as incidents in the past have shown, there is a risk, especially in seeking medicines in places like China where Murray has been for more than two weeks.

The ATP gives the players a card listing all the banned substances — which can include regular cold remedies — and, according to an ATP spokesman, most players give it to their own doctor at home so that they can check back with the physician while on the road.

“None of our physios give out medicine of any kind,” said the spokesman, Nicola Arzani. “Only the tournament doctor can do that and, of course, he knows exactly what is permissible.”

But, as Bill Norris, the much respected physio who worked on the ATP tour for forty years, points out, there is a still a grey line.

“A drug that is OK in one country may have been made with a different base in China or elsewhere,” Norris told me. “So Murray was right to be prudent.”

The tough but accepted rule is that a player is solely responsible for what gets into his or her body, even if he has been given a drug by a medical practitioner.

“We had several cases of drug abuse amongst South American players and it was clear, in some cases, that their doctors did not know what they were doing,” says Norris.

Even allowing for the fact that some of those players who ended up being banned — like Mariano Puerto and Guillermo Canas — may or may not have been quite so naïve, there is no question that the severe suspensions handed down struck fear into the players.

I remember Alberto Mancini, who was Argentina's Davis Cup captain at the time, complaining that he could not get one of his injured players to take as much as an aspirin. “He is scared to death of getting tested positive now,” said Mancini.

While respecting the need to have strict rules, there are those who feel WADA's unbending regulations go too far. Having players refuse necessary treatment because they are afraid of career-threatening consequences cannot be right.

Nor it is reasonable to demand that players give the authorities one hour of each day of their lives during which they can be tested — in or out of competition. Tennis players are constantly travelling and have no clue where they will be on a given day. Yes, Murray or Federer knew well in advance that they would be in Shanghai this week. But for how long? If one of them lost early, they would have been gone by Tuesday or Wednesday. If they make the final, they will be there on Sunday.

The chances of contracting some serious disease amongst a bunch of athletes who fly long distances on a constant basis and live cheek-by-jowl in crowded locker rooms is considerable. Federer caught a relatively light dose of mononucleosis two years ago and recovered. Sadly, the fine Croatian player, Mario Ancic does not seem to have been so lucky. His mono has returned three times and it may have finished his career. Andy Roddick has suffered from a debilitating virus this year and now Murray has had his form affected, too.

These players must get help when they need it. The fear factor is a good deterrent up to a point but the authorities need to balance their zealous search for the cheats with an understanding of what it’s like to live on the road, with different doctors and pharmacists to deal with every week. It takes more than an apple a day to keep these guys healthy.
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Old 10-16-2010, 12:51 AM   #30
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Default Re: A short history of drugs in tennis

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Originally Posted by Nole fan View Post
Testing a joke? You're out of your mind. Imagine having to explain every day of your life where you are or intend to be so you could be tested (even in your vacations).

As above: this is easy to beat, just give false whereabouts when you're doping. The number of out of competition tests is so miniscule it's impossible to get sanctioned.
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