Golovin, Hantuchova, Kirilenko Heat-Up SI Swimsuit Issue
by Sean Randall | February 12th, 2009, 10:29 am
  • 180 Comments

Is there an American magazine we tennis fans slag on more than Sports Illustrated? Probably not. From their virtual disregard of tennis except post-Slams to their annual snub of our top players for their year-end awards, tennis clearly rides in the back seat. And it’s not the back seat of a car, it’s a bus! And that’s too bad because when they do cover the sport they often get it right. And with the arrival this week of their much ballyhooed swimsuit issue I think SI got it right with tennis again by showing off tennis beauties Maria Kirilenko, Daniela Hantuchova and Tatiana Golovin in the issue.

If you live in the U.S. you’ve no doubt seen and heard about SI’s swimsuit issue. Cover girl Bar Rafaeli (is that really her name?) was all over the media outlets Tuesday giving the issue a real strong promotional push, and it needs one because a magazine with girls in swimsuits is pretty much a yawner when compared to what’s available on the market and online these days.

So to maintain some form of relevance and perhaps journalistic credibility SI has been branching out in recent years by having actual athletes get down to their goodies and pose in the magazine. I think Maria Sharapova was featured a few years ago, maybe Serena too, but this year the magazine gives tennis it’s very own section in which to flaunt the bold, beautiful and the sexy, and Maria, Daniela and Tatiana don’t disappoint. Frankly, Golovin looks the best of the trio, and overall the photos were tastefully done. I know some critics will take a shot at the girls for posing, but if they can get the work and get paid for it, why not.

As Andy Roddick’s fiancée, Brooklyn Decker is part of the tennis family – or will be soon. Brooklyn’s had a little more experience than the tennis gals in getting the camera to light up and it shows. That is, she shows everything. In one spread, a naked Decker is covered only by paint. Sherwin-Williams? Glidden? I don’t know. But how Andy finds the time to actually practice is a mystery.

Speaking of Roddick, the gunslinger will be in a great battle tonight in San Jose against Ernests Gulbis. If it’s anything like their US Open meeting…Juan Martin Del Potro and James Blake are also playing this week in the popular No-Cal tour stop. I believe Fox TV will have the broadcast this weekend.

In Europe, just a week or so removed from his thrilling Australian Open triumph over Roger Federer, “Bar” Rafael Nadal is back on the hard courts of tennis. Credit to Nadal for upholding his commitment to the Rotterdam tournament, but I have to wonder again given the nature of his body why take the unnecessary grind? And to think he still has Dubai, Davis Cup, Indian Well and Miami all to play before the clay season, I fear Rafa may again be break down come year-end if not sooner. But if you’re a Rafa fan you just have to trust Uncle Toni. So far the guy’s been serving nothing but aces.

In a few short hours, Nadal will play Bulgarian phenom Grigor Dimitrov. If you haven’t heard of Grigor, his coach, Peter Lundgren, just announced that his pupil is a better than Federer was at age 17. If Peter was trying to add pressure on the kid I’d say he succeeded.


Also Check Out:
Roddick’s Wife Brooklyn Decker Graces Cover of SI Swimsuit Issue
Let’s Get Hot! Rafael Nadal Meet SI Swimsuit Model Bar Refaeli [Video]
While Husband Sleeps, Brooklyn Decker Says 2013 Might Be Andy Roddick’s Last Year On Tennis Tour
Venus Williams, Davenport on Collision Course at WTA Memphis
Maria Kirilenko And Alex Ovechkin Are Engaged!

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180 Comments for Golovin, Hantuchova, Kirilenko Heat-Up SI Swimsuit Issue

Mary Says:

Somewhere in Florida, Asley Harkleroad rages at her naked boobs and lady bits.

“In one spread, a naked Decker is covered only by paint. Sherwin-Williams? Glidden? I don’t know. But how Andy finds the time to actually practice is a mystery.”
If you are married or in a significant relationship with a woman and she reads that, I hope you have the money for a really expensive Valentine’s Day present.


Mina Says:

Agree about the comment re: Rafa’s jam-packed scheduling. I think he’s really going to have to start being choosier about what tournaments he plays. We know that he’s one of the fittest players ever and he’s in his peak years right now so can recover more quickly, but it’s still going to take a toll on his body with so many tournaments in his schedule and the fact that he’ll go deep into every one of them.

His schedule would be tough for any player who ends up playing as many matches as him, but given his history of knee issues already, his demanding style of play (lots of running, retrieving, hard and aggressive shot making), the fact that he carries more muscle mass (and therefore, more weight) than most guys… it all adds up eventually.


Twocents Says:

Fun piece, Sean. Thanks.

I’m not a Rafa fan. But sure I trust Uncle Toni. Nadal got couple of on court coaching warnings this past AO, after 4 stellar years on pro tour. That tells how much he trust his great uncle :-)).

I credited you before for your suggestion of Fed/Roddick swap Mirka/Decker. (Nothing against Mirka ,for the record.) Decker should be one hell of reason for Roddick to fight hard for everything.

No offense to anyone.


Von Says:

Two Cents:

“Nadal got couple of on court coaching warnings this past AO, after 4 stellar years on pro tour. That tells how much he trust his great uncle.”

Didn’t you hear Nadal say it wasn’t his camp that was doing the coaching, it was Verdasco’s camp. I warned you about using that cell phone, now you need to turn up the volume or get fitted for a hearing aid. Ha, ha.

“Decker should be one hell of reason for Roddick to fight hard for everything.”

Did you ever watch James Bond’s movie “Goldfinger”? I hope you remembered what happenend to the girl who was painted in gold — she’s now keeping company with the 22 mummies which they recently unearthed a few weeks ago. Maybe someone need to tell that to Decker or poor Andy will be crying. Boo hoo. Seriously, you know I absolutely like Roddick, but I don’t understand the Decker modeling stuff. Does she still need that? Oh well, I suppose different strokes for different folks.

______________
Mary:

The L’Illustre — would not allow me to google it, I got a message “oops that link is broken”. Maybe they decided to withdraw their story about the “illustrious”.


Twocents Says:

Ok, Von. I really should get a new battery for my cell. Guess I messed up with the warning in SF. How about final? Was it Fed’s camp coaching? I always say it’s unfair that Fed can coach himself on court, (even though it doesn’t always help) while others can’t have their coaches do anything on court. Good for Nadal stopping that, however great his uncle is. I heard on court coaching not allowed in slam even for WTA?

I would imagine that Roddick, being such a nice cosmopolitan guy, would even encourage Decker to continue her career. For a busy guy and world traveller, worst thing is to have a wife around 7/24, 2nd to it is to have a stay home wife, 3rd is to have your wife manage your biz and/or your uncle coaching :-)). Mirka won’t get that wedding till Fed quits.


margot Says:

So what’s happening in Rotterdam and elsewhere gets second billing to girls in swimsuits! Thought this was a tennis blog.
GOD GIVE ME STRENGTH.


Von Says:

Two Cents:

I hope you know I was kidding around with you and the cell phone. You were correct. Nadal was given a violation for on-court coaching but he disputed it very indignanatly, that Verdasco’s camp was the guilty bunch. He didn’t stop Uncle Tony from doing anything. He asked the umpire something to the effect, didn’t he hear the coaching from the other side.

No, I don’t think Fed’s camp was coaching him in the final. Have you ever observed Fed’s face when any disputes are happening with respect to any player? He just stands there with a very pained expression. It’s hilarious.

I suppose it’s always nice to have a working wife. More conversation at the end of the day, intead of hearing the baby threw his/her meal on th wall or on my hair, Brad smacked Angelina and then stole her cheetos, and my mom called, because she was concerned you’re not paying enough attention to me. You’re out of the house having fun while I’m slaving to keep everything in order. Oy Vey. I always worked, hence my conversations were centered around I need to finish some work I brought home. Help yourself and the kids with dinner the sitter cooked.

Nah, the wedding is on hold until after the 15th slam. In the meantime, Tiffany has a standing order to send a baubble every 3 months Mirka’s way. That way, everyone’s happy.


grendel Says:

well, Margot, speaking as one who hasn’t actually seen any of the Rotterdam tennis, the highlight for me has been Nadal being threatened in each of the first two rounds – when did this last happen? Of course, he won them both – as always, he is able to turn it on when he needs it. I imagine he’ll bring more guns to bear for tonight’s match with Tsonga. It’s apparently a fast surface, so this should be an ideal opportunity for Tsonga to do the business. If Nadal, even so, pulls out the W, his reputation will be significantly enhanced. There is still a tendency to question Nadal on hard court – the AO surface wasn’t quite the real stuff, Simon didn’t do himself justice and in any case Nadal was fortunate to dodge the injured Monfils, Verdasco looked every bit his equal and Federer can be relied upon to collapse when the going gets tough – just a matter of keeping going, really, and a nice little dolly falls into your lap – etc, etc. Nadal winning Rotterdam, especially after his two difficult first rounds, will send out a powerful signal. Of course, if he doesn’t, some of the old doubts will resurface: Nadal is vulnerable on hard, given proper opposition. And he certainly has it this time – after Tsonga, possibly Monfils,and then possibly Murray.

And so, after all, Rotterdam turns out to be a tourney of some likely significance, and not just a fill in between the big ones. Very curious. Meanwhile, I look forward to seeing this young lad Dimitrov. If what Sean quotes Peter Lundgren as saying is correct – that Dimitrov is better than Federer at 17 – that’s some testimonial. Because Lundgren, of all people, was aware of Federer’s potential long before most people had even heard of him.


jane Says:

Two exciting things in TENNIS this week (besides Nadal/Tsonga or bathing suit pictures) – that Roddick and JMDP may square off at the SAP event if all continues as it has been; that Ancic is through to the semis at Rotterdam after getting to the finals in against Cilic last weekend. Nice to see Mario doing well.


margot Says:

Hi Grendel I’ve seen a few of the matches. Was very impressed with Dimitrov, he wasn’t overawed and he went for his shots and he took a set off Nadal! Give him a year and more experience on the main tour I think he’s going to be something else.
The most depressing thing for me has been Murray’s form which has been patchy to say the least. He’s made an awful meal of coming through, he just looks lethargic. I see all these talented French and East Europeans and I really hope 2008 wasn’t his best year so far.


jane Says:

Tsonga’s playing some great tennis, nice variety and maybe more patience than usual. Nadal has made more errors than usual, for e.g., double faulting to give back the break in the third set. He’s a tough one for Nadal.


Ezorra Says:

Wow! 59% respondents AGREED that tennis’ drug-testing program is too intrusive!

Source: http://tennis.com/index.aspx


jane Says:

Wow, Fish made quick work of JMDP. I guess Roddick won’t meet him after all. And Blake is through; too bad he had to beat Querrey to get there,


grendel Says:

jane – I thought Tsonga was a little flat in the first set. He improved, but was inconsistent. How much this was because it was not quite his day, and how much because Nadal has improved so much that he doesn’t allow Tsonga to string a number of those great shots together, like he could a year ago, I don’t know. Certainly he capitulated in his final service game. Nadal did nothing to win that except in the subtle sense that his endless presence just, in the end, induces fear and error. You can’t blame Nadal for doing this – it is his strength, after all. But unless you are a fan, it is not agreeable to watch. You just wish someone would show a bit of oldfashioned spunk! But of course, I speak from the safety of the armchair. Actually battling it out with Nadal is no doubt a pretty debilitating experience, and Tsonga certainly fought – until the end.

Yes, that doublefault of Nadal’s on break point was a new one. I daresay if Federer was watching that, his emotions would have been singularly unmixed. An amusing moment at the end of the second set. Nadal was chuntering away to the umpire, evidently in Spanish, and the commentator Sam Smith THOUGHT he was complaining about the length of time it took to replay the penultimate point of the set. Nadal bore some responsibility, by challenging, but still, he may have had a point in this instance. But, oh, how delicious! Nadal complaining about timewasting. What else might we have? Safin getting annoyed about his opponent breaking rackets, Haas moaning about a players ceaseless mutterings, Hewitt getting riled at fistpunching by the other fellow, Borg fulminating about the expressionless demeanour of his adversary putting him off, McEnroe – well, you get the picture….


jane Says:

Tsonga is often inconsistent. Nadal made a lot of errors too. The second set was exciting tennis from both, until the tiebreaker where Tsonga excelled and Rafa didn’t. But I agree that the first set, and I’d say the third too, was perhaps too tension filled, leading to more errors from both ends.

I saw Tsonga chattering away to the umpire because it was a delayed out call, and Rafa was standing at the baseline. I believe it was Tsonga who challenged on that point of the tiebreak; he was serving, and a couple of shots were played before the serve was called out, but in fact the serve was in, as it showed on the replay. So Tsonga got two serves. Anyhow, I am not sure if that’s what you’re talking about; be interesting to see a replay. One thing I did notice today was that when time was called by umps between points, Rafa was quick to run to the baseline in this match. Maybe he was trying to speed things up? That’d be new.


Andrew Miller Says:

Mr. Randall, I agree with you. Whatever publicity tennis can get, it should get and SI is pretty clean. Supposedly the photographer loved shooting Golovin and Golovin was excited about the shoot, and Kirilenko had her mother on hand for the shoot, so, shoot, she couldnt be shot more.

All drop shots and sweet shots aside, I must say that SI indeed chose a talented trio: they are excellent players (Hantuchova, however much she chokes in big situations, has some of the tennis world’s best looking groundstrokes, and she is also in my honest opinion, a beautiful lady). I tend to be stunned by Ms. Kirilenko – she seems to have the good genes, and her russian look is a little bit softened.

So all of that said…glad these ladies are working hard at tennis. I like all their games on the court and hope they put up some big results. either that or that Jelena Dokic wins a slam!

How huge would that be.


Von Says:

There’s been talk and focus, only on Roytterdam, but Sam Jose has been doing very well indeed.

I’m stunned the Bryans lost to Nieminen & Bopanna, who would have thought that scenario could or would would transpire?

The good news: We have Fish & Blake in one SF and Roddick & Stepanek in the other. Finally, A-Rod has conquered Haas. Wow, am I happy!!!!

Live scoring had to be an invention by someone who likes to torture some of us who can’t see the actual match. It’s the most painstaking and frustrating way to keep informed of what’s happening in a match. The score is 40-15 and then a few seconds later, 40-40 shows up on the scoreboard only to be followed a second later game over. what transpired between 40-15 and 40-40 and game over is anyone’s guess. The waiting seems like an eternity.
________________
I agree with Andrew’s assessment of the tennis beauties who were photographed. Even though I’ve not seen the actual pictures, I agree Hantuchova, a very tall and willowy young woman, who is very much underrated with respect to to her game and looks, has the best game of the three SI tennis beauties. Her groundstrokes are very artistic and graceful. She’s won doubles at all four (4) GS with different partners, which speaks volumes for her flexibility and compatibility to play with different partners. In addition to hantuchova’s tennis abilities, she’s a very well educated young woman, who knowledgeable on many fronts.

Kirilenko, who I know is Andrew’s favourite girl, albeit Andreev is her main squeeze, has a very soft and wispy type of beauty. She’s not the muscular/male looking type female with bulging muscles, but very feminine and possesses soft, rounded arms and a slightly curvaceous body, not the straight up and down body, where the waist blends with the hips — there’s a definite division, showing where her waist ends and her hips begin, and a sweetness that’s indicative of a very amiable and warm personality. Good choice Andrew, you’ve got a very good eye for beauty.

Golovin, the least pretty of the three, has a very warm and cheerful disposition and is very photogenic. She’s very outspoken and has a good game, which sadly has been put on the back burner due to her unfortunate back issues. She also possesses a very feminine looking body.

All in all, SI chose a very good trio and one which is an asset to the WTA and tennis as a whole. It’s nice to see some of the other women players being appreciated besides the Serbs, the Williams sisters and Sharapova.


that_matt Says:

My friends,
The one and only Sampras: “It’s rough to see Nadal taking charge of these rallies and hitting ball after ball to Roger’s backhand.”

source: http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/tennis/columns/story?columnist=drucker_joel&id=3897542

I am of course reducing the article to a quote, not good. However, the article is interesting. Comments?


grendel Says:

Oh, was it Tsonga who challenged? Are you sure? To be honest, I had no idea what Tsonga was on about, it did go on and on, and Nadal had a point, as I said. But come on, Nadal complaining about time wasting (assuming the commentator was correct)? That is funny, big time.


Twocents Says:

Ouch, you got me there with that cell phone trick, Von. I never doubted :-((. Good one there from you! And also glad Roodick is doing well too. Guess I don’t really need to bother with my cell phone bill any more, if pro tennis will be played on clay court only and become a game of defense.

Sampras should have put down a word better than “animal” for the guy who stopped his precious 14 from being equalled. It’d be so much fun to see an exho btw Pistol Pete and Nadal, even though I dfinitely give the edge to Nadal.


Milo Says:

Interesting choice of words by Lance — “I think.”

“I think that the testing will prove that.”

Rafa boy needs a few good men, like the journalist Paul Kimmage, to hold his feet to the fire. Can anyone name one hard-hitting journalist in tennis? I see a lot of pussies rubbing on the legs of the top players. When a 153 year-old Bud Collins is the Woodward and Bernstein of the sport, I believe we’re only being fed the company line.

Notice how “snippy” the great Lance becomes when someone dares shine a light on his fraud? I expect Rafa to soon start lab work on curing cancer as well, to deflect from his inconvenient truth.

NBCBayArea.com
updated 8:46 p.m. PT, Fri., Feb. 13, 2009

Lance Armstrong told a group of reporters at an Amgen Tour of California news conference on Thursday that he’s “clean as a whistle” and that his mind is “fresh” after a break from cycling.

“I’m telling you, I’m clean as a whistle, and I think that the testing will prove that,” Armstrong said.

The Tour of California is Armstrong’s first event on his native soil since the seven-time Tour de France winner began his comeback.

However, the news conference took a dark turn when Armstrong told a reporter from The Sunday Times in London that “You’re not worth the chair you are sitting on.”

Paul Kimmage, who is well-known for his anti-doping stance and the book “Rough Ride: Behind the Wheel with a Pro Cyclist,” said he asked for interview and didn’t get one.

“Lance, you’ve spoken recently about the return of Ivan Basso and Floyd Landis after their suspensions and compare them to David Miller, and that they should be welcomed back in the way that David Miller was welcomed back.

It was one obvious difference in that David Miller has been pronounced in his anti-doping stance, where these guys have admitted to nothing. What is it about these dopers that you seem to admire so much?” Kimmage asked.

Armstrong bristled at the question.

“The reason why you didn’t get it, Paul … when I decided to come back, for what I think is a very noble reason … you said, folks, the cancer has been in remission for four years, but our cancer has now returned, meaning me,” Armstrong said.
Armstrong said he’s “here to fight this disease.”

“So I think it goes without saying, no, we’re not going to sit down and do an interview,” Armstrong said. “And I don’t think anyone in this room would sit down for this interview. You’re not worth the chair you are sitting on with a statement like that, with a disease that touches everyone around the world.”

However, Armstrong begrudgingly answered Kimmage’s question.

“David, who I admire greatly … was caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Is it heroic now that he has confessed? Some would say so. I applaud him for being back. … Floyd, on the other hand, while some would say there’s some evidence against him, there’s also a lot of evidence in his favor. … Floyd does not believe that he is guilty. So to appease people like you and others, he can’t confess. He doesn’t feel like he’s guilty. He doesn’t feel like he broke the rules.

You can’t do that just to get people off your back. … As a society, are we supposed to forgive and forget and let people get back to their job? Absolutely. I’m not sure I will ever forgive you for that statement. And I’m not sure that anyone around the world that has been affected by this disease will forgive you.”

Kimmage argued that he had raced for many years, and a moderator moved on to another reporter’s question.

Armstrong said that although he doesn’t know as much about baseball as he does football, he is aware of the issues surrounding doping in sports and was tested 16 to 17 times last year.

Asked his opinion on the latest round of steroid revelations in baseball surrounding Alex Rodriguez and Miguel Tejada, Armstrong — the subject of years of doping suspicion — professed hope that cycling’s more stringent regulation and his personal testing regimen have reduced fans’ disbelief in the sport’s top athletes.

“I always push for a global standard where everybody plays by the same rules,” Armstrong said.


Milo Says:

Rafa’s in the fridge.

200 athlete’s and only 50 named. Hmmmmm??? Has to lead one to believe that Spain has some HUGE names on that list. I’m talking Real Madrid heroes and quite possibly one very humble Spanish tennis player. Think about it — why would the Spanish government hide the list, unless Spanish national pride was on the line? And which Spanish athlete is bigger than the Prime Minister? Bigger than the sport?

7-13-2008 @ 2:54AM
KenC said…

Yeah, you’re right. Journalistic standards are higher. Sharing his opinion should have been kept to the op-ed page.

Having said that, I’m no journo, so let me share my opinion. If you follow cycling, you’ll know that most of the doping cases have been originating out of Spain, not just the riders, or teams, but the doctors. Have you heard of Operation Puerto? 200 athletes were involved in blood doping, with blood bags found in fridges and only the 50 or so cyclists were publicly investigated. The other 150 athletes were never named. Presumably lots of soccer players, and some cross country skiers. But until the announce the names of the 150 in the dossier, we’ll never know if tennis players are involved as well. However, blood doping would most benefit endurance athletes, like those in cycling, soccer, cross country skiing, and those tennis players that like to play long 5-set matches on clay.

Also, EPO is far more useful to these athletes than steroids. And, Human Growth Hormone would be the dope of choice over steroids as well, seeing as the test for HGH has only just been developed, and noone knows if it will be effective. So, while I admire Rafa, if someone told me he was using steroids, I’d be surprised. If someone told me he was using EPO and HGH, I would not.

Reply
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Sick3

7-13-2008 @ 11:13PM
Sick said…

Ken:

Excellent comments. I do not believe Nadal is using steroids, but I do believe he is doing EPO or blood doping.

As I have stated in other comments, Rafa’s name was allegedly on the list of Fuentes’ clients. Several European newspapers who have seen names on the list say Nadal’s name is on there.

Fuentes himself admitted to working with all sorts of athletes – cycling, track and field, soccer, and tennis. He is upset that only the cyclists seem to be getting named. As you said, only 50 or so names have been released, it is ridiculous that there has not been more of an investigation into this.

The Spanish government and courts have tried to sweep it under the rug, and none of the international doping authorities or the WADA have been able to get them to release the full list to them. That only makes it more suspicious to me that Nadal’s name IS on the list – why else have they been so adamant in hiding what is in the 600-page document (which allegedly lists all the names)?


Andrew Miller Says:

Von, great description. It’s true, I have crush on Kirilenko. Golovin’s got the personality, Hantuchova the look, and Kirilenko, I am just digging a bigger hole for myself. Oh well, Andreev is the better man.

I would still like to see Jelena Dokic win a slam.


Andrew Miller Says:

Milo, I agree with you. I was confused about Rafa’s response to a question and the comment about the journalist being a “horrible man”. or whatever Rafa had said.

I would appreciate if he would, like his comments in every other aspect of his response to any other question, center more on, “I’m glad these are being investigated – tennis is a sport of integrity, we live by the rules, we test, and if something is wrong, we deal with it. If something is unfair, whether on the court or in the testing, we deal with that also. We face things up front in tennis. I want to play as long and hard as I can – and I want to give the sport and fans all of that effort. We test because we believe that we owe it to the sport.”

It would be better for PR and Rafa would benefit also. Agassi seemed to welcome the testing: nothing to hide. Rafa might be good to follow that way.


Mary Says:

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Taking out my feelings about Nadal and doping, considering the top stories the past two weeks in sports in general, and really it is now mainstream, is doping– A-Rod, Phelps, Armstrong, Bonds, and the other baseball players.
I don’t understand not taking the “I’m glad it’s being investigated…” stance.
There is a real marketplace for doping stories. I have no idea why SI and NYT were both investigating A-Rod at the same time. You should never want people going into your personal life like that, doping or not.

I was listening to ESPN yesterday and the topic was brought up– specifically Nadal and Serena’s comments. Once the actual program was explained, by one of the broadcasters, the other one understaood. The tennis players are not being asked to do anything outside of the norm of testing. Most sports are under this type of testing.
I still don’t understand why the players did not voice their concerns during the two years the program was being developed. They seem angry b/c the testing is happening.

Players need to protect the integrity of the sport, not the other way around. Who the hell is advising Nadal? Most of the accusations involve him, so why fan the flames?


jane Says:

grendel,

I am not sure who challenged (think it was Tsonga though as he was on serve and kind of freaking out) but I agree that if Rafa was complaining about time-wasting, things couldn’t get much more ironic.


Mary Says:

Note on Operation Puerto: The levels of EPO found in the cyclist’s blood were too low to be prosecuted under Spain’s anti-doping law at the time. Basically, you had free reign to dope in that country.
Doping is considered a health risk– in 2006 that was not a crime– the Spanish govt updated the law and will make criminal prosecutions and punishment retroactive.
They are going after the doctors involved claiming their doping was a health risk to those on the list.
People were cleared based on the very, very liberal doping laws in Spain at the time.


jane Says:

Serena’s complaints about the testing, and I think Murray’s and Rafa’s too, though admittedly I haven’t read their comments recently (only Serena’s), were not about the need for testing per se. They all agree that testing is necessary.

What they are all on about, as far as I can interpret their comments, is the “whereabouts” thing. They feel that the demand of having to let the inspectors know where they are for those required daily hours is invasive or big-brotherish. Surveillance is their concern, not the testing itself.


margot Says:

Come on folks, Simon has complained about new drug testing. Nobody will ever convince me he takes illegal substances!
Marvellous Murray, how could I have ever doubted you? Best of tomorrow.


jane Says:

Oh, a Murray vs. Nadal final – sweet! I’ll probably root for wily Murray but certainly hope for an exciting and combative match either way it ends.

I agree margot – ain’t no way Simon is on the juice. Funny.


Henry Says:

Doping

Jane you are right. There’s not one player who is against the actual testing. They are against the WADA’whereabouts’ rule which demands from the top players to know in advance where they will be at a certain hour, every day of the year (so, both in and out of season!). While at tournaments, the player hotel is the obvious place but when athletes are off, it seems a bit much to demand from them they know exactly where they will be. They are even enforcing this ‘whereabouts’ rule on the top wheelchair tennis players too…!!

Besides Rafa, Murray and Serena there are at least 65 other top athletes from around the world in other sports who consider the new WADA rules “an invasion/intrusion of their privacy”. It seems to me they have a valid point.
On top of all this, if a player’s schedule changes unexpectedly they MUST remember to inform WADA. It they forget to do this three times and doping police happened to look for them those three times and could not find then, they will get a suspension.
That’s what both tennis players and other top athletes are against, NOT the testing as such. On the contrary.

To those that cannot stand Nadal proving he is becoming more and more of an all court player, please refrain from stating ‘gossip’ as facts. When he wins on grass (Wimbledon) it’s because “the courts are like clay courts now”, forgetting he also won Queens. When he wins the Australian Open, “it must be because those AO hardcourts are not what they used to be”. The man just reached the finals of one of the, if not the fastest, hardcourts in the world. So, please, get a grip! And now you wish to bring up doping as a reason for his achievements??

All the top tennis players are tested even more than just regularly. Rafa even had a surprise house visit in Mallorca after a night out with friends. If any of the top players would not be clean, it would have been out in the street a long time ago as official news, not gossip!


Mary Says:

If the players had a problem, they could have protested starting two years ago. The ones who have complained are angry at the audacity of the program actually being followed.
The 65 are nothing compared to the hundreds of athletes who have been under such testing for years– including all Olympic athletes, such as Rafa and Serena. Those hundreds– unlike the tennis players– are interested in the integrity of their sports.

OMG he had a visit?! why?! considering we are just now hearing about MLB players testing dirty way back in 2003– I’d step off the “out on the street” thing.


Von Says:

It’s understandable that some of the players are upset and rebellious towards the testing, but why are the fans so very upset? The testing is part of the athlete’s job and it has to be done — it’s a rule they are all aware of, but are being difficult because they feel they can get away and/or wriggle themselves out of the situation due to who and what they’ve become. The high and mighty! The athletes have a choice, if they don’t like the new rules, they could react similarly to a lay person, when he/she does not like the implementation or adherence of rules in their jobs, quit. Life is not all a bed of roses and I really don’t see what’s invasive to let WADA know of an athlete’s whereabouts for ONE fixed hour of the day. If they really looked at the situation more intelligently and open-mindedly, they’d see it’s just a lot of wasted energy fighting over one lousy hour. Is it really worth it to be so adamant, or is it that some of them feel that the big bucks they’ve earned has set them apart as untouchables and above reproach. It’s all an ego thing, but they need to stop and think what has gotten them to the positions they’re now holding and the kind of lives they’re living. Many came from shattered backgrounds and lived sub-standard lives, but sports changed all of that for them and made them multi-millionaires. I’m sure in retrospect, at the very beginning of their careers, if they were told these are the rules, they’d gladly and meekly submit without a murmur, but that was then and this is now, zero dollars versus millions of dollars, and power corrupts.

We who have jobs, have to let our supervisors know where we are for an 8 hour period, if not we will be reprimanded, warned and/or fired. The athlete’s job is somewhat dissimilar to a lay person, but somewhat similar with respect to adhering to the rules of testing, so what’s the big deal? They are being difficult over a very simple rule, one which goes hand and hand with being a professional athlete.


jane Says:

Does anyone know of free streaming for SAP? I’ve found none and have only been able to follow live scores, which as Von pointed out, leave much to be desired.


Milo Says:

No kidding — what’s with all the bitching? I’ve had employment that required drug testing, fingerprinting and a background check…all for a minimum wage job.


Von Says:

With respect to keeping WADA apprised of the athletes’ whereabouts, how else would WADA be able to find them if they are selected for a random testing? The only and sure way WADA would be able to do so, goes back to what WADA requires, inform WADA of the athlete’s whereabouts for one hour out of 17 hours per day. Or maybe, WADA should employ the use of surveillance teams to follow them around, would the athletes prefer that method? It’s either they comply voluntarily or have other more distasteful measures imposed on them.

The stupid statement/analolgy Serena used of having to leave dinner for testing is just too ridiculous for words. It’s obvious that an intelligent person would not choose the dinner date or dinner hour as the designated hour they would be available for testing. How idiotic can one get. It’s similar to going to the doctor’s office, would you choose your dinner hour to set the appointment? Of course not, you’d select an hour that’s not going to produce a conflict.


Von Says:

Milo:

In my job we are subject to full field investigations, audits, drug testing and the whole works, without any warning. Imagine having to get your financial profile ready in a matter of days. That’s stress.


Milo Says:

I like the daily whereabouts rule. With the cyclists, knowing where the athlete is in relation to some of the top “dope docs” is critical. Any decent private investigator would find a web of suspicion around a few of our beloved tennis Gods. Especially ones who live on an island.

Lance Armstrong has close ties with a Dr. Feelgood. He says the man is “just a friend.” Uh huh. I think that’s what Brad Pitt told Jennifer Aniston regarding Angelina. “Don’t worry, she’s just a friend.”

And again — why does Rafa have an extra gear of speed and endurance over the rest of the ATP tour, when no other Spanish athlete dominates sprint or distance events in the Olympics? Sure must be special to be so special.

And please cut some slack to the wimpy Simon. A counterpunching rabbit could definitely get a big boost from EPO, or having some extra “blood bags” around. Body size is no determinant of a cheater. Having to win is the original sin.


Milo Says:

Von,

Do I get three guesses to pick your occupation?


StickIt Says:

Take this for what it’s worth, but Holy Moly! a celebrity gossip site, claims that:

“Which international tennis star tested positive for steroids recently but got away with it when his sportswear sponsor paid a ‘hush money’ donation to his national tennis association?”

http://www.holymoly.com/page/Mailout/0,,12643,00.html

A lot of people are guessing Rafa for this…I hope the link works.


StickIt Says:

Sorry forgot to add that for the link, you have to scroll down a little for the Blind Item…it’s about 3/4 down the page.


Milo Says:

I’m seeing some weak attendance at the SAP Open. The PGA and LPGA golf tours also appear to be in a world of hurt. Could a possible world economic meltdown end the ATP and WTA for a time? Would it become all about the Majors? Would the sport return to a local club circuit as in Germany?


StickIt Says:

I know that both the PGA and LPGA (specifically the LPGA) have had sponsors drop out. The LPGA, I believe, has had to cancel six or seven tournaments. I heard that tennis was fine for this year (all the sponsors being lined up) but that 2010 might be a different story.


Milo Says:

Thanks for the link StickIt,

every bit helps. A guy named Roger guessed, “he plays left-handed; has long hair; and has an annoying habit of humiliating me on international TV.”


Von Says:

Milo:

Be my guest. Put your thinking cap on.


Mary Says:

Someone added to the link:
tigerstail
Look out HM there’s a lawyer about.
13.02.2009 at 12 hr 22 min 20 sec

there’s only three comments.

It is interesting b/c the nat’l federation testing really has nothing to do with the ITF. If I’m not mistaken it’s for those participating in the Olympics, Davis, Fed Cup.

Comcast in its various forms and MSG+ is showing the semis for the SAP. Comcast is showing the final.

Von/Milo: I was trying to post this earlier in the week. After you read the link below, check out the cover of the mag.
http://preview.tinyurl.com/b2zkst


Mary Says:

Milo: If you are bored on v-Day’s Day, post the holy moly link over in bodotard world FTW.


Milo Says:

Guess # 1 — Are you Uncle Tony? Rafa enforces no tolerance rules for his employees.


King Roger Says:

Rogerina Federina would look great in a swim suit. I wonder why they didn’t choose her as the model.


Milo Says:

Rogerina’s flowing backhand is too pretty for porn. Fed does not “centerfold” for the lowly public. He’s only Rafa’s “boy toy.”


Milo Says:

Mary, are you insinuating from my posts, that my type does not have a girl to friend on V-Day? lol


Milo Says:

I don’t know why, but I just have a good feeling that something big is near. A whistle will blow. A card house will fall. The lie is too big to hide. How long can the vested interests conspire? Feels like the dam is about to burst.

Tank from The Matrix:

“Goddamn, I…I got to tell you, I’m fairly excited to see what you’re capable of, if Morpheus is right and all…We’re not supposed to talk about this, but if you are…Damn, it’s a very exciting time. We got a lot to do. Let’s get to it.”


Mary Says:

Milo, oh no I’m sure your type does. I’m sure Valentine’s Day is a tiring one for you– what withnyou having to spend your day beating off the hooches.


Milo Says:

Mary,

The Mag cover is my new screensaver. Weeehehehheehe.


Stick It Says:

Mary wrote:
there’s only three comments.
_________________________________________

Yeah, at the Holy Moly site there is only a few comments but at places like Gossip Rocks (an extremely popular gossip forum) and Blind Item Rehash, Rafa is the main guess there as well. The Holy Moly BI’s get posted on most gossip websites – I first saw it on Blind Item Rehash.

If this is true, I don’t know how much longer they can keep the lid on it. If this is true, I wonder who leaked the info? Interesting this is coming out only after Rafa wins the Australian Open.


Milo Says:

Yeah, well you know…you have a point. I’m the poor-man’s Hef. My Valentine’s hose work is like a water weasel Picasso.

“Hooches???” Lol — I haven’t seen that word since Serena wrote her life story in crayon.


Mary Says:

I haven’t been to gossip rocks in ages. It’s funny how many of the threads repeat on other boards.
thanks


Von Says:

mary:

thanks for the link, however, my computer settinmgs won’t let me view it due to the tiny.URLs being disabled or somethikng to that effect. I don’t mess with the settings because I’ll probably mess things up. I’m a computer dummy.

Through the process of elimination, we could only surmise which clothing manufacturer has the most to lose if it’s chief star is caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Question: Which clothing manufacturer would lose the most? I don’t have a clue since most of the top stars are using Nike.


Stick It Says:

The only male “international tennis superstars” this could fit are Rafa, Fed, Nole, Roddick or Murray…

Since it’s a British site they could be talking about Murray, but who else other than NIKE has the cash to burn to buy off an entire national federation…I could easily see NIKE spending the cash to protect Rafa, especially since they just unveiled a brand-new clothing line around him and he is now, arguably, their biggest star. Maybe this is why NIKE now has to lay off 10,000 workers – they blew a wad of cash buying off tennis officials.

If Rafa ever gets caught with steroids/EPO/doping,etc…tennis will take a huge blow…hence the lawyer comment Mary mentioned earlier.


jane Says:

Von, sorry about Roddick’s loss to the worm; Step can be a shifty guy on the court. He’s a master at the deke and a tough out, still a good competitor. Roddick fought him valiantly, judging by the scores, which was all I could watch.


Von Says:

jane:

Thanks for the condolence. I’m broken-hearted. Andy had so many, many opportunities to break, but he just couldn’t convert. I’m betting Step resorted to serve and volley and played a lot at the net. Step is like Haas, they like to put a wrench in the works. I hope Mardy wins this one, since he’s overdue for a title. I would like for an American to win. Step has a doubles match in an hour or so, which means he’ll be tired tomorrow. One American is is good as the other. Damn Stepanek!


Milo Says:

I can’t decide — watch the Radek vs. Roddick replay or Deathwish II with Chuck Bronson laying down the law. May have to flip quick…I don’t want to miss the plot.


Von Says:

Milo:

I watched all of the Death Wish series. He surely took matters into his own hands and made a mockery of the law by becoming his own law enforcement — The Rnforcer. He sort of reminds me of Steven Segal in his movies and Dirty Harry also.


Von Says:

typo: Rnforcer s/b Enforcer


Von Says:

Can Stepanek get any luckier? He got a walkover for his doubles match v. Fish and Blake. Blake hurt his ankle. Grrhhh


Milo Says:

Yeah, something about Bronson and Segal flicks I love. They’re so bad their good.

Stepanek has too much variety for Roddick…in his women. Hingie and Vladisova. All-court or power game, Radek conquers all.


Von Says:

Look at what happens to the women after they get together with Step. Hingis out on drug charges and Vaidisova isn’t competing. What’s up with her? She was such a good player until …. and, now, enters the worm.

This is the first time Roddick has lost to Step.


Von Says:

Andrew:

After I wrote that post on Kirilenko, I remembered the word I wanted to use to describe her … she’s an “ethereal beauty”. Don’t give up, Andreev has bowed legs, if yours are straight, I’d pick you. Ha, ha.


Mary Says:

A man with nicknamed “the worm” was born lucky.
“and now enters the worm” heh.
There’s like nobody at the match.

That blind item was majorly freaky. The only time an athlete is ever mentioned is when it deals with sex.
Something’s gonna give. As long as it’s not federer, tennis will be fine. As long as a sport does not lose its “good guys,” like Jeter or Woods or Federer, the sport will deal.
I’d like to know how a tennis federation can pull that off without having to bribe everything and everyone in the drug testing foodchain. It’s only plausible if the tennis federation does an informal “prescreening.”


Milo Says:

Roddick made sure to get off the court before Step broke out the celebratory “worm.” If Andy had any class, he would have stood out there and watched every painful second of it.


Mary Says:

Milo are you on the East Coast?
I’m watching on MSG+, but they are not showing the final. I don’t have the comcast channels.

I only caught the last set. Roddick didn’t lay down, good for him, yay.


Milo Says:

Mary,

West Coast

Comcast Sports Network showed the semi’s (delayed) and will show the final as well. That and someone in the crowd was calling and giving me play-by-play.


Milo Says:

Deathwish III on AMC. Sheeeesh, how’s a guy supposed to sleep when they keep putting on that type of quality entertainment? I can’t believe Bronson didn’t pull Oscar. Powerful!

Obligatory tennis remark:

Expose Rafa Now!


Milo Says:

Mary,

I know where you can catch the final of “Hip-Hop Abs.”


Daniel Says:

Very strange match so far between Nadal and Murray. Nadal can’t serve and when returning is going for all the shots, very agressive with his return, broke Murray 3 times in a row. Imagine if he play like that all the time, as if he has nothinbg to lose.

But I still give the edge to Murray, if he can serve a litle better he will take it.
Nadal push himsef to much playing here and it shows, possibly another injury.


Daniel Says:

Well, pretty much done here. Too bad they coudn’t give us a great match, the Adu dhabi one was way more exciting than this.

Seems like Murray will be to Nadal what he is for Federer, 2 wins in a row and if they meet in Dubai, IW or Miami it will go to Murray too I think. I hope Murray can develop on clay, to be another treat along with Djoko and Federer (debatable). Will see!


margot Says:

That final at Rotterdam was so unfortunate but Murray played gr8 in the first set. And I thought it would be Murray’s ankle that would be a problem!
I wonder if Rafa’s injury is a recurrence of what made him retire in Paris(?) and kept him out of tennis at the end of last year. If it is they must be very worried.


grendel Says:

Those who deny, usually very noisily, that Nadal is on drugs tend to come in two categories. They are Nadal fans, or they are concerned about the scandal, and the subsequent mud attaching to tennis.

I come at it from a somewhat different angle. I intensely dislike Nadal on court for reasons which are partly reasonable, partly discreditable. So there is a certain temptation to consider the worst. So then one feels a need to examine the inherent plausibility of the whole thing.

My starting point is good old Uncle Toni. I have read nothing about this man, but there has been a fair amount to observe, over the years. I daresay the comparison has been made before, but Uncle Toni, whilst being a totally different character to Richard Williams, seems to me to have some important things in common. Very early on, both parent and uncle realised they had at their command very exceptional talents, Richard rather more than Toni I’d say. This is not so unusual. It’s what they were subsequently prepared to do with their charges which matters. They both envisaged not only the top, but the top of all the tops so to speak. Naturally this ambition could not take firm shape until some compelling evidence suggested its viability, but I suspect that in some shadowy form, the sky was the limit right from the beginning.

The question then is: what is the motivation? Money – of course. The gratification, albeit vicarious, which comes from fame – goes without saying. But there is more: in the case of Richard, there is the race angle – so, a burning resentment. Nothing like this with Toni. I’m guessing a bit here, but we have here a hard, tough man who comes from a successful sporting family, and he comes to understand that he can be part of more than just a success, but of something very, very special indeed.

And so he is prepared to take some huge, imaginative risks – most notoriously, turning a natural righty into a lefty. This is a tremendous gamble and almost entirely pointless unless you have some very special ambitions indeed. After all, why risk what would certainly have been an extremely successful career anyway? This is what I’d call a shrewd gamble as opposed to a desperate one (hoping for a lucky strike). Uncle Toni clearly felt he had grounds for believing it could work – it wasn’t just a plunge in the dark – and that if it did, the rewards would be huge.

Now cut to Miami in 2004 (I think) when the 17 year old plays, and defeats, the mighty Federer. What, one wonders, went through Uncle Toni’s head? Well, surely, he must have spotted straight away that Federer’s game does not match up well against Rafa’s. Most obsevers probably regarded that result as an anomaly, a freak result. I bet Uncle Toni didn’t, he is far too shrewd. Did he, even then, spot the frailty in Federer’s psyche, and understand that this was something his charge, above all people, could work on? Impossible to say, of course – but, I imagine it wasn’t too long before he got the message, or at least a hint of it. Since this message has simply become stronger and more undeniable as the years have gone by.

Federer went from strength to strength until there was serious talk of his being the greatest of all players. There was a shadow in this great record, though: Nadal. I am quite certain that Uncle Toni understood that Nadal would, in time, grind Federer down, take over from him at the top, and then put himself in the position of actually supplanting Federer in terms of his place in history. The greater Federer appeared to be in the eyes of the public, the more this suited Uncle Toni – since obviously, by vanquishing Federer, Nadal in a sense subsumes his glory. Just think how people have questioned Federer’s credibility because of supposedly weak opposition in the early days of his success (I personally, for what it’s worth, have argued strongly against this idea). No one is going to question Nadal on these grounds, are they.

This is the critical point. Uncle Toni has prepared the stage with consummate care, patience, daring and intelligence. He has seen his efforts rewarded. What must he be feeling? Let’s be crude about it, he wants the best possible feelings, nothing else can justify a lifetime’s endeavour and perhaps even some cruelties along the way, cruelties undertaken purely pragmatically – will they contribute to the goal?

There can, then, be no conceivable shadow cast upon this great project. It is from this perspective that the whole question of Nadal’s taking drugs is a nonsense. It is psychologically implausible, I contend, to the nth degree. People who have denied Nadal took drugs have been called naive, but actually, the naivety lies with them. They just haven’t understood what, when a man like Uncle Toni is alone and face to face with his soul, will count as critical. Ultimately, it is a question of honour. People will calmly die for honour. This is straightforward. We know it is true. Quite why this should be so is another matter, and may even be deplorable, but it is, all the same, true. Uncle Toni, and now I bring in his nephew Rafael Nadal as well, want to be the best and seen to be the best. They may employ all kinds of tricks along the way – all’s fair in love and war, they say, and this is understood and generally accepted, war is a rough business, but there is also a certain subtlety attaching to the old saying. Thus far (for instance, we can play mind games with Federer, this is legitimate) – but no further. Drugs are out. Simple as that. Anything which can cast doubt on the project is instantly thrown out.

It is important, I think, to emphasise, that this is not just a pragmatic decision. Like I said, honour is involved. Uncle Toni, and Rafa, want to be able to look at themselves in the mirror and see innocent faces. That is the absolute imperative and cannot be qualified in any shape or form.


jane Says:

Good for Murray, even if it wasn’t a great match throughout. What I hope to see, however, is Murray translate this kind of success into a slam win. He needs to be able to get all the way through a 5 set event and have enough gumption and stamina to take a title there. Maybe the USO is his best bet? I am curious, as Daniel wonders above, if Murray will do anything on clay this year. So far, it’s been his weakest surface, so it’ll be interesting to see if he can change that.

margot, once before you wondered whether Nadal might one day implode on the court; and after reading grendel’s somewhat machiavellian take on Uncle Toni, and witnessing the return of the knee injury, I am starting to wonder also. Perhaps Nadal should’ve taken this week off – it’s great to have confirmed his hard court abilities to a degree, but at what price?

Speaking of which, imo, it’s unlikely Rafa is taking drugs, but I cannot pinpoint my angle. It’s not about fear of scandal. Nor is it the fan thing. I am a fan of his, but he’s not my favorite player; I root for Murray or Djoko over him, and probably some others. And I am not sure I think Toni is quite as prescient or calculating as he has sometimes been made out to be.

But grendel raises the notion of honour which I think is a viable take on the situation. The Nadals seem like a proud family, with a tradition of sporting success. They seem, too, highly patriotic. I’d be very surprised if they’d risk all of that – their family’s and their country’s honour – by doping. Another valid point in grendel’s post is the notion that once Toni realized that Nadal could trouble Fed, it would’ve been huge incentive to push his protege further and aim for the top of the top. Why risk that? If Toni could see, when Rafa was 17, what he could do, why take any chances? I can’t see it. It does seem implausible to aim so high and yet risk falling so low.

Certainly it’s happened, in many a Greek tragedy for instance. And realistically, it could happen in the tennis world; I don’t deny that great athletes, politicians, etc, can fall – hard. But until the tests come back positive, I am a doubter with regards to Nadal.


Ojo Says:

Rafa should have retired in set 2 he obviously shouldn’t be playing couldn’t push off on his leg at all or hit a forehand. Very worrying for Rafa.


margot Says:

Hi Jane, Yes, I did think ironically that I was watching Rafa implode rather sooner than I’d thought!
My head is completely done in re the doping. I read Mary and, enraged, think they’re all doing it! I read Sean(?) and equally enraged think nobody is doing it! (Well not quite a few have been caught or admitted it). You get the picture? Probably the truth lies somewhere in between.
Grendel- very interesting take. I personally believe that with Rafa drugs are almost irrelevant and the intense training routine, which has turned a talented, but not particularly so; man into a star, is now showing fault lines.
Was it Michael ? who said he thought Rafa had two years left, at most. Kindof agree.


Mary Says:

Oy, While I have my opinions about certain players, all I’m saying is don’t be naive and give every player the beneift of the doubt on any sort of cheating. Reality is it lies inbetween none(well not that) and all. Players are no different from other sports.
I’m not a conspiracy buff, but odd things are going on in pro tennis.

Anyway, while I do have to root against an american, I gotta go for the worm today.


Colin Says:

I will repeat what I said here the other day: it is just as naive to say all top athletes do drugs, as it would be to say none do.
Regarding Nadal’s overstressed knees, someone made a sensible point on the BBC website, saying that one cannot dismiss a loss like today’s by saying, it doesn’t count as Rafa was injured, because his injuries are a direct result of his style of play and frequency of play. You can’t separate the injuries from the style. I suspect he’ll be burned out at an earlier age than Hewitt was.


Mary Says:

Why wasn’t Nadal’s style of play corrected earlier?


Von Says:

I agree with the BBC’s website comment that Murray’s win today should not be dismissed as one that does not count, due to Nadal’s injury. That would have been partially true had Murray not beaten Nadal consistenly on a few recent occasions, hence, Murray won fair and square. If the tennis world want to use that analolgy then Nadal’s win over Monfils shouldn’t count also, because Monfils could probably have won that match, since he beat Nadal in their last match in Doha, but he was very ill with some kind of virus. All credit to Monfils for playing and not withdrawing and/or giving Nadal a walkover.


Ryan Says:

Like I said before……..nadal never faced any real competition( murray or djok) in AO other than a nervous old ass federer and a roided verdasco who doesnt have the talent of a murray or djok….Now he got thrashed in the ABN rotterdam final by nurray
6-3, 4-6, 6-0……hahahaha


Ryan Says:

To fed is afraid : Yeah nadal is so much of a fighter…….thats we got bagelled in that 3rd set…hahaha


Von Says:

Mary:

Nadal’s stle of play cannot be corrected, or better yet, it would be feasible to state that his style of play won’t be changed because it’s that style of play that keeps him winning. His game is built on speed and grinding which are his main weapons, and if he were to change that, then he will be playing minujs his main weapons. It would be akin to taking a big server’s serving style away and making him hit under-hand serves instead of blasting the ball down the “T”.


Von Says:

Mary:

You got your wish, the “Worm” won. I suppose he will be doing his usual celebratory “worm dance”. Even though he beat an American, he deserves the trophy — it’s been a long time since he’s won a title. Tennis aside, he’s quite a character.


Von Says:

Ryan: It seems you’re enjoying your revenge. Nothing gets the adrenaline pumping like a good “I told you so”.


Ryan Says:

To Von: Well , yeah….. I actually did say that…. BTW fed is afraid gets on my nerves. He wont be coming around here now….fukkin prikk


Ryan Says:

Nadal gets bagelled in the 3rd set……there is more to come…dubai indian wells miami….let him face djok or murray on hard courts and he’ll get his ass handed to him. If djok cant do it like in the olympics then murray will…..


Kimmi Says:

I think for the “worm”, this is his second title of the year. He won Brisbane beating Vedarsco. So for stepanek this might be his best year then, I heard the commentator saying this is his 4th title all together…Good for him.


Von Says:

Ryan:

I just saw the following comment:

“nadal never faced any real competition( murray or djok) in AO other than a nervous old ass federer…:

“Nervous old ass Federer”? You’ve got to be kidding. At 27 he’s a young man. I’m older than Fed and I certainly don’t think I’m “old” much more an “old ass”. Ohhweee, Ryan, you’re very funny. I needed to laugh today.


Twocents Says:

grendel,

I differ a bit on Toni Nadal: when he sketched and executed the grand Project Rafa over Fed, he sure knew that one weak spot was the longevity of Rafa’s game style. There’s a good possibility that Rafa’s body may not hold up before he mounted on top of Mountain Fed. How to solve/minimize this weakness? If I follow people’s education here, some EPO doping was just health risk, not criminal. which is bigger health risk for Rafa: playing/training style or some EPO doping? Maybe Toni and his helpers reached a conclusion that favours taking EPO? In professional sports, winning is above everything, including honour. All fame and honour must be based on winning. Toni the sports insider just knows too well. Why risk Rafa being the longest no.2 when he could achieve much better?

Disclaimer: I have no knowledge about doping whatsoever. I tend to agree with lots of posters here that tennis is in between squeaky clean and all dark and dirty. I was 50/50 on Nadal’s case. I’m just arguing grendel’s post, for the sake of arguing. I’m still 50/50 on Nadal, after reading grendel’s post.


Milo Says:

Grendel,

How about this in depth analysis — Uncle Tony is a 2.5 player, and he shoots Winstrol in Rafa’s ass once a month.


Von Says:

This situation concerning Nadal’s perpetual problematic knees that’s tendinitis prone, is why I mentioned in a post a few days ago that there wasn’t any need for him to play in Rotterdam. At that time I was accused of being resentful, and negative, et al., but it’s the same old story re-hashed and replayed a thousand times (I’m exaggerating here for emphasis).

I consider myself to more objective than subjective, and I strongly feel that our lives are made up of choices. However, we should be careful with those choices when it relates to our health, which goes back to my statement, why did Nadal choose to play in Rotterdam, when by his own admission, “it’s one of the fastest courts in the world”?

Hard-courts and Nadal don’t meld that’s obvious. The problem does not lie with the hard-courts, Nadal is the problem. Nadal’s style of playing is unsuited to hard-courts. He’s a clay specialist who is accustomed to sliding, rolling and grinding on that surface. Unfortunately for him, he can’t employ that type or style of play on hard-courts, and when he does it, the knee problems arise. Maybe he needs to learn that we can’t be perfect with everything and that life is full of trade-offs as well as choices.

Nadal’s trade-off should be centered around playing the bulk of his season on clay and only play the mandatory hard-court tournaments. There’s nothing wrong with that and no stigma is attached to a player whose body is not suited to a particular surface.

The Americans have been called wusses, and other lovely names because they can’t adapt to clay, however, they made their choices, and those choices were to refrain from playing on clay in order to avoid injuries. Roddick, because of all the nonsense that’s been written, played on clay last year, and he ended up being very badly injured. He was off the tour for close to two months and that injury persisted throughout the USO. I’m sure if anyone were to ask Roddick if it was worth it to play during the clay season, he would answer “Hell, No.”

I’ve been accused of not liking Nadal, but frankly I don’t dislike the guy, I dislike his work ethics and I absolutely am tired of hearing about his painful knees and the problem hard-courts presents for him. I know some of his fans will be angry because of what I’m about to say, but I’m finding it increasingly difficult to believe him that he has such a huge knee problem. If the knee problem is that huge why has he begun the year playing so many additional hard-court tournaments and has such a packed schedule? I can guarantee he’ll be playing in Dubai on the 23rd, despite this recent incident. I’m sorry, but it seems that the Nadal camp specializes in word games and histrionics. They should cut out the histrionics and focus on what changes they need to make so that the focus would be turned from Nadal’s knees and onto Nadal’s game. But, there again, my distrustful/disbelieving mind questions, is this knee problem as huge as they make it out to be, or is it a panacea, crutch and/or a built-in excuse for whatever ails Nadal.

It’s sad that Murray’s win had to be overshadowed and diminished because of the worn-out and overworked knee excuses and/or problems.

“Let every eye negotiate for itself
And trust no agent; for beauty is a witch
Against whose charms faith melteth in blood.”

Much Ado About Nothing (II, i, 178-180)
______________
Two Cents: The above quote is dedicated to your love for Shakespeare.


Ryan Says:

To Von : “nervous old ass federer”….that is strictly in tennis age terms.


Von Says:

Ryan:

Gotcha, but I just thought it was hilarious you’d call your fave an “old ass”. Ha, ha.


Tejuz Says:

Funny .. Nadal is always injured or tired when he loses. No mention of the knee problem till the finals… and when he loses the 1st set.. it resurfaces. Anyway… this is Nadal’s problem.. he shouldnt have played if he was injured.

No 1 Getting bageled … nice story. But i bet we’ll see him playing in Dubai.


Ryan Says:

I hate federer nadal matches coz its always the same thing over and over again…..the cross court forehand to the federer backhand which he dumps to the net.


Twocents Says:

Von,

It’s “Much Ado About Everything” in case of Nadal’s knee. I remembered that very concerned look on Toni Nadal’s face at Hamburg final 2008 during Nadal’s medical time out, at the end of 1st set. Toni even gestured to Rafa to quit. We all knew that knee actually held up well for FO, WO, Toronto, Beijing for another 4 months. Fast forward to October 2008 Paris Open, it was Toni again who said the knee was collapsing, before Rafa pulled out his match with Davydenko…Looks like Toni worries more about the knee than Rafa himself. It’s perfectly normal for Toni to over react and over worry about his disciple’s health, (And also help lowering expectations by talking constantly about it), especially he may indeed feel some sort of guilty in pushing his nephew too hard?

I still trust Team Nadal’s decision. Nadal may struggle thru the upcoming hard court tourneys. But he’ll be fine by FO and WO, for sure. Since Nadal beat both Verdasco and Fed in 5 sets at AO, he still wants to prove his reign on hard court, with or without Rotterdam title.


margot Says:

Just a thought, Murray’s backhand is better than Fed’s so Rafa can’t employ the same tactics against him and so Murray’s always going to be difficult for him to play.Although Murray won by default in the end he played excellent tennis in the first set.
If only the Open champoinships were held indoors, this is where Murray seems to excel.


grendel Says:

If you don’t like “honour” as a reason for Uncle Toni refusing the possibility of drugs – and I’m just guessing; Uncle Toni strikes me as exactly the type to have a rigid honour code which encourages ruthlessness whilst maintaining a strict, uncrossable line – how about pragmatism? It just doesn’t make any sense to me that Uncle Toni and Rafa would put at risk what they have been at such enormous labour to achieve. For, if discovered, not only would they lose everything, but they would be subject to public ignominy which would effectively destroy their lives. Now it is true that some people might nevertheless succomb to the temptation by virtue of not having thought it through – but highly shrewd, worldly, intelligent men like the Nadals? Sorry, it just strains credibility. Mockery, by the way, is easy – but remember, it is neutral with respect to truth.

On the question of why Nadal played at Rotterdam, one of the commentators on Sky Sports said he had committed to it several months ago. The implication is that he might have liked to have withdrawn, but felt honour bound to participate. That strikes me as a reasonable proposition, in lieu of further evidence. Of course it is certainly true that if Nadal’s style of play, particularly on hard court, is conducive to chronic injury, that in a sense is just tough cookies. Clearly it is up to Nadal to adapt, and if he can’t, well, that is his misfortune. I imagine a fairly ferocious balancing act is being constantly contemplated and disaster always looms on the horizon – as of course does triumph.

Certainly, Nadal benefited from Monfils not being well. Personally, I was extremely disappointed, because apart from loving Monfils’ game – at its best, there is no more glorious sight in tennis imo- I do think Monfils is in principle better than Nadal on hard and might even one day challenge him on clay. The point about Nadal’s injury at Rotterdam is certainly not to make excuses for him. My thought was this: Andy Murray made a nice joke about Nadal being able to beat him on one leg in the second set, but it should be of a little concern to him. Assuming an injury free Nadal in Dubai, I suspect Nadal will be able to draw more confidence from the Rotterdam encounter than Murray. But that’s only a hunch, perhaps counter-intuitive to many.


Twocents Says:

“For, if discovered, not only would they lose everything, but they would be subject to public ignominy which would effectively destroy their lives.”

Does or will A-Rod lose everything now that he got caught 5 years later? Unlikely. Most professions are about push limits to achieve maximum: lawyers find loop holes in laws to win cases; CPAs do creative accounting to save taxes…The real life is more about how not to get caught, less about living safely within the limits set by others. “highly shrewd, worldly, intelligent men like the Nadals” know just too well that there are much more athelets getting away than getting caught, especially if in 2006, EPO doping was not even criminal. Like Tom and Jerry, the cat could never catch the mouse. Toni Nadal does impress me as a old-valued honorable person. I just don’t get it that he’s still doing on court coaching on international TV in front of millions to a current world no.1. He does not live by rule books written by others.

Again, I’m not acusing the Nadals anything. Just from my dark views of the business world, there’s no right or wrong, it’s all about getting caught or not, and when to get caught. A-Rod was able to hide long enough. His fame and fortune have been secured. He’s the winner. How I wish it were not the case.


grendel Says:

I plead ignorance of this A-Rod fellow, I’d not heard of him till last week.

But back to the Nadals. If it turned out Rafa took performance enhancing drugs of some kind, no doubt expensive lawyers could be found and bank balances protected. My point is, this is irrelevant.

Their reputations would be destroyed. Rafa’s records would, presumably, be rendered null and void. A lifetime’s endeavour would be snuffed out, just like that. Barely more than a puff of breath.

“Just from my dark views of the business world, there’s no right or wrong, it’s all about getting caught or not, and when to get caught”. As I see it, inconsistency is never surprising. Two Cents’ business cynic can be deeply moral in an entirely seperate avenue of existence, or even in the same avenue. The thief who refuses to betray his comrade although under huge financial inducement, or pressure of a more sinister kind. I think Uncle Toni will exploit the rule book, may sometimes appear to be, shall we say, disingenuous about it, and will defend himself vigorously if charged. He himself won’t feel he’s done anything much wrong. He may or may not be deceiving himself here, that is not the point, what matters is, the drugs issue is not one of these grey, ambiguous areas. And that is because it is not generally, in our culture, perceived to be so. So I do not find anything surprising in Uncle Toni being prepared to bend here or there whilst being absolutely rigid in the one area of drugs. Aren’t we all a bit like that, in different areas perhaps?

Too much, I think, is made of money as the ultimate motivation. Important as it is, in the end, reputation counts for more. I can’t see the Nadals risking the loss of that. Call me naive if you want, but I do believe that the Nadals are the type of people who could not easily live with the destruction of their name. No amount of money could even begin to compensate for that.


Sean Randall Says:

A-Rod was on track to go down as the greatest baseball player ever. With his steroid reveal that is now no longer a possibility.

And while his image and legacy will take a serious hit, Rodriguez is somewhat buffeted by the fact he plays on a team. So some of the attention will be deflected and over time, if his team, the Yankees, win he’ll likely be forgiven – we in America love to forgive. We’ll never forget, but if the team wins fans will forgive and he’ll keep making his 20mill+ per year.

If you get busted in an individual sport like cycling, track or tennis, you’re pretty much finished as a public figure and finished in that sport. There’s no team to hide behind because it’s all on you.

That said, if a top tennis player did test positive their image and family name would be absolutely destroyed. I can’t see a top player risking it because there’s so much more to lose than just money.


Twocents Says:

The darkness of my own real world business cycle is one major reason I try to find asylum in sports (and Hollywood, to a much lesser degree). So if I offend you with any inconsistency, it’s most likely some display of my own inner clash of living the life as the way it is and the crave of something perfect. I want sports to be clean, not for any moral justice per say, but for my own yawn for a perfect world.

I see the main split occurs at that you think drug is not a gray area while I think it is. It depends on how you define “drug”. Americans are the nation that generated superlawyers like Bill Clinton (It depends how you define “it”). I agree to differ. I actually envy your confiddence.

Sean’s team sports point is very valid, as his point about wining and forgive. Not only Americans, people love winning and forgive winners everywhere. Victory has one thousand mothers. Now my feeling on EPO/Nadal goes down to 30/70 guilty/not-guilty, from previous 50/50. The 30 is based on that Spanish doctor’s case. If there’s a Swiss doctor got caught, my guess on Fed would go from current 5/95 to 30/70 too, giving how secretly he treats his health conditions.


Milo Says:

Sean,

Why do you believe A-Rod or Nadal would even be top players without cheating? Nadal’s superhuman power and superhuman effort are his only distinguishing features. Technically and strategically, he plays a one surface style, which through miracle sauce allows him to win on faster courts.


Sean Randall Says:

Milo, and your evidence would be what? Nadal has muscles? You have anything else on him you care to share?


Milo Says:

Operation Puerto wins again! Were the initials “RN” on the list???

Stage 1 — Tour of California

Please tell me the stuff doesn’t work? In freezing cold, high winds and rain, the guy does an immediate suicide breakaway and holds off the pelaton for the whole race.

Notice how the cheats in cycling/baseball are the biggest names in the sport. Leading one to believe that it would almost be impossible to compete at their level without “mother’s little helper.”

Velonews:
A former grand tour rider — he finished sixth in the 2004 Tour de France and fourth in the 2005 Tour, and third in the 2005 Vuelta a España — Mancebo was banned from the 2006 Tour due to connections to the Operación Puerto doping case.

Asked about Puerto following the race, and how critics could perceive his victory in Santa Rosa, he answer was simple. “I’m very happy,” he said. “The whole world has seen (the stage win). And I have nothing else to say. I’m just happy and proud of what I did today.”

Howling on Howell Mountain
Mancebo went clear almost immediately out of Davis on what looked to be a suicide move. With a steady rain beating down, Tim Johnson (OUCH) and David Kemp (Fly V) set off in pursuit, and worked many miles before catching him. Just after mile 60, the big climb began up Howell Mountain. It was here where Mancebo shed Johnson and Kemp, and later, Astana shed all but about 20 men from their chase group.


Sean Randall Says:

Milo, OP was thrown out years ago, though recently reopened. What’s that prove. Even if Rafa’s or any other players name is on any list within that lab how come none of them have ever tested positive?

In the BALCO Barry Bonds case, Bonds is shown to have allegedly tested positive three times. Where is such proof in tennis?

And let me ask, who in your mind is clean in tennis?


Sean Randall Says:

And Milo, you talk of muscles but do the cyclists have these muscles you speak of?


Mary Says:

I posted about some of the history of Puerto upthread. Please read it, because the case was not thrown out because nobody doped.

To clear up the matter, all anyone has to do is go to the Spanish Court and get them to sign off on you not being involved. A group of bikers did it.

The only ones who have access to the list is the Spanish Courts and they will not release the names or the evidence to any drug agency for testing. Those “in charge” have never released the other 150 names on the list.
Just because you are not being investigated, it does not mean you are not on the list.

Again, I don’t care if you share my opinion about who dopes, but at least do some reading on Puerto.


Milo Says:

If you had an educated eye, watching closely the sports that did not reign in doping, you could hardly miss the obvious.


Sean Randall Says:

Mary, I read that last week when we discussed this matter. Have you learned of the drug testing process yet? I recall you not knowing the OOC procedures.

And Mary, have you found a link between peds and knee tendinitis? You seemed sure of that one.

Milo, can you be more specific? Also, still wondering who you would label as clean in tennis.


Milo Says:

Road cyclists want leg muscles and red blood cells…and that’s what they dope for.

The Texas Rangers weight coach said of Alex Rodriguez — “the performance does not match the effort I see him put in the gym.” You could say the same about Rafa. His endurance and strength does not match with someone claiming he does not use weights much.

I’ve seen Rafa/Fed/Novak up close since they first came on tour. Only one has developed in a way that sends red flags screaming up the pole. Rafa is a classic EPO (or his own blood reinjected), mild steroid user. If you want to be the last man on Earth claiming Barry Bonds, Lance Armstrong and Ben Johnson are innocent…go ahead.


Milo Says:

Don’t you find it odd that Novak, Fed, Stepanek, etc. do just as many sit-ups, just as many push-ups, but don’t seem to get much effect?

Remember when Big Brown’s trainer said he didn’t know why he injected his horse with Winstrol? Ha! Just replace Rafa for Big Brown, and Uncle Tony for the trainer.

Steroid Nation:
Big Brown, Winstrol, and the Triple Crown

As reported yesterday, Big Brown, the dominatrix of the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, burned out at the Belmont Stakes in an attempt at horse racing’s Triple Crown. The result of the big horse finishing last, when Brown was all but in the barn as a winner in everyone’s mind, astonished the racing world.

We questioned the wisdom of withdrawing Winstrol (stanizolol) before an important race. Apparently Rick Dutrow, Big Brown’s trainer wanted the horse ‘clean’ at the Belmont (clean of Winny).

The New York Times gave a mention to Winny:

Worst of all for Big Brown’s connections, perhaps, were the questions about steroids. Dutrow told The New York Times last week that Big Brown had not had his usual shot of the anabolic steroid Winstrol since April 15, enough time for the drug to leave his system.

Was Big Brown’s poor performance because of his lack of “juice?”

“He wasn’t on steroids for the Preakness,” Iavarone said. “There is a million things that could have got him beat. If people are going to say that no Winstrol got him beat, they are going to say that.”

Horse vets say Winstrol is used to increase the horse’s appetite. What happened to all the other effects of AASs? Forgot? Effects like gain of muscle mass, up tic in RBC mass, increase of aggressiveness, and improved recovery from training (in other words, increases the ability of the trainer to push the horse, and to run the horse).


Sean Randall Says:

Milo, tell me you not comparing Rafa’s endurance to Novak’s.

Rafa was a pretty big kid even at 17. Novak and Fed don’t have his body frame.

Regardless, in your mind it’s not possible to get stronger and more muscular from age 17 to 23?


Sean Randall Says:

Milo, so how does Rafa not get caught? Barry Bonds, Ben Johnson even the horse got caught, but not Rafa.

And I guess your not going to answer on who the cleans guys in tennis are, assuming there are any in your mind.


Mary Says:

Sean: I quoted the policy verbatim.
You can go to any steroid site and find the effects right there– muscle injuries are included.

Milo: Sean has no interest in learning anything. He just gets an attitude when posters call him out for not knowing about that which he blogs.


Sean Randall Says:

Mary, post me a link from a credible news source agency or medical site linking steroids to knee tendinitis. Simple ask. Knee tendinitis occurs in and around your patella tendon. That’s not a muscle.


Milo Says:

Great fast court players can:

* Serve large
* Stand forward in a more offensive court position
* Transition to the net with ease
* Have compact return motions without excessive grip changes

Rafa has none of these skills in abundance. He essentially plays clay on hardcourts. The ONLY thing that distinguishes Rafa is his level beyond edge in strength and fitness. In a sport where everyone wants to be as fast and strong as possible — how is it that only one has the extra gear?

Rafa winning on fast courts is like Mariana Puerta coming out-of-the-blue to almost win The French.


Mary Says:

Barry Bonds never failed a drug test. He was caught through paperwork and testimony.


Sean Randall Says:

Milo, how the hell did Lleyton Hewitt ever win Wimbledon then? He can only transition to the net with ease. The other three don;t fit his style.

Mary, look it up. Ah, hell. Here’s a link:
http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_11698963


Sean Randall Says:

As for strength, Milo, does Rafa has the biggest serve, the biggest forehand, the biggest backhand?

You could make a case for the forehand, but certainly not serve and I wouldn’t choose him as the player with the biggest backhand.

Is he the fastest player? You could make the case. You could also argue other players though. So that’s not clear cut either.


Milo Says:

Thanks Mary,

I wasn’t even going to bring that up again. I think he believes the tests are 100% reliable. Sean is like the blind carpenter…useless until he picked up his hammer and SAW!!!

I’m also not getting this “team vs. individual” sport argument? Some of the biggest doping scandals have occurred in what are essentially individual sports (track, swimming). Fame and fortune are tempting things. That said, I think Ben Johnson roided to the gills (and didn’t care if he was caught), just so he didn’t have to watch King Carl Lewis take the gold. Sometimes spite is a motivator as well.

I hope tennis doesn’t become like cycling, where the culture of cheating is so endemic, that the top riders go in a bunker mentality against the media and law enforcement, not wanting cheaters exposed. They’re all in the fraud together, and clean cyclists have no say, since they’re no longer in the sport. Does AA have drunks running the meetings?


Mary Says:

Bonds failed on PRIVATE drug tests. If you read “Game of Shadows” it states that, in order to ensure the athletes would not fail a test, private screeings would be done by BALCO or the player to make sure the drug would not show up in an official test.
It’s how they know to cycle on and off.


Sean Randall Says:

Mary, show me where in that military article that a side effect or steroid use is knee tendinitis.


Mary Says:

Milo: the blind item is still of great interest. Follow the timeline of last year and the player, national tennis federation and sportswear– it’s all right there.
Just ignore Sean. We aren’t paid to do his blogging.


Sean Randall Says:

Milo, as I’ve said before that cheaters will cheat, and they will stay ahead of the testing. That’s true. But to finger Rafa like Mary does just because he has muscles is pure garbage.


Mary Says:

Sean: your lack of reading comprehension is not my problem.


Sean Randall Says:

Mary, oh, I guess you couldn’t find it either.


Mary Says:

No, I don’t have time to read through 417,000 google entries for “side effects of steroids tendon injury”


Mary Says:

Stick to writing about the SI bathing suit issue. It’s more your speed.


Sean Randall Says:

Milo, you say “The ONLY thing that distinguishes Rafa is his level beyond edge in strength and fitness.” So his mental toughness is average or equal to his peers?


Milo Says:

It’s not just muscles. Rafa’s athleticism does not match up with his genetic destiny. For what he’s showing on the court, you’d expect to find that he has age-group Spanish sprinting records from the 3rd grade.

I’m glad that tennis and golf were some of the last sports to be taken over by the cheats. But they are fast-twitch muscle sports. Because tennis professionals rarely change much in the way of tactics and technique once their games are formed — there becomes only one way to make any radical improvement. For all his blabber about certain game design improvements, Rafa is essentially the same player form-wise he was at 12.

I wish I could live in the “all dogs go to heaven” reality some crave — but I can’t and I won’t.


Sean Randall Says:

Milo, sorry, I’m just going by what you say.

So is Rafa too fast? As I said, he may not even be the fastest guy on the tour.


Ezorra Says:

Yay!!! Sean wins again. Well done Sean!!! You made these people sound soooo anxious!!! ;D. Loved it! I loooooved it!


Milo Says:

He’s not the fastest guy on the tour, but he’s a lot faster than what he should be.

I still haven’t heard you explain to me the huge tactical or technical skill Rafa has? He has only one stand-out feature — nuclear leg and arm speed.

The brutish, simpleton, Spanish, yuck-O, overspin style is so ripe for a drug cheat. The style is basic and has been around since the 70′s (Vilas, Borg, Brugera, Muster etc.). It’s a game based on brawn and not brains. Players with this style are not trying to out-think anyone. Their game is like womping baby seals with a club. The game is what it is — the only way to improve it is to jack up the engine power.


Milo Says:

Sean, do you think the “Beast of Barcelona,” Rafa’s uncle Miguel Angel, has any knowledge of PED’s from his stint as a professional soccer player in the 90′s???

Genetics: “lacking pace,” i.e. slow.

As a footballer, Miguel was no Angel. Lacking pace, he was often late in the tackle. Even so, “Beast of Barcelona” seems rather harsh.

Toni’s always been lying to him:

Miguel says, “My brother Toni has always been a funny guy and he was always kidding Rafael when he was a little kid. One of the things Toni told him was that he used to play in the Milan football team, and Rafael always thought it was true. But then one time there was a summer football tournament and Rafael saw his uncle Toni play football, and the team lost the match. Rafael was very disappointed and said: ‘There’s no way he was able to play in Milan. He’s not that good – he’s pretty bad, actually’.”


Milo Says:

Sean,

It’s a well known fact that steroid use makes your muscles larger than your natural tendons, ligaments and bone structure were designed for. Constant tendon and ligament injuries that won’t heal are a signature sign of HGH/steroid abuse (see Mary Pierce and Jen Capriati for non-healing injuries. The increased muscle development stripped out their joints).


Sean Randall Says:

Milo, do you watch the NFL, NCAA Football or NBA? I say that because there are a lot of BIG and FAST guys the same age as Rafa if not younger (i’m sure in your eyes Lebron must be a doper too). Why are you so hung up on how big he is.

As for his speed, how do you determine how fast he should be? If you are 6-1, 190lbs you can’t be XX fast?

Regarding huge skill Rafa has it’s not his physical strength or fitness, it’s his head. That should be pretty clear. He’s the mentally toughest player in the game. Perhaps you see it otherwise.


Sean Randall Says:

Oh, so when Mary Pierce went over on her knee that was due to peds? Oh please.


Rafafanatic Says:

Are my allegations so ground-breaking that you are afraid to publish them?


Rafafanatic Says:

Why don’t you just annnounce to everyone that this website is only for the Fed-worshippers?


Milo Says:

Back in 2000, when she was a threat. Roberto Alomar told her about the benefits of steroid use…but not that he had full-blown AIDS.

FOR NO. 4 PIERCE, SHOULDER TOO MUCH OF BURDEN

By JOHN DELLAPINA and DARREN EVERSON DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITERS

Tuesday, September 5th 2000, 2:14AM

Doctors had told Mary Pierce that her aching shoulder needed two to three months of rest and rehab. She told them she wanted to put off that layoff – at least long enough to compete in this U.S. Open.

But yesterday, the inevitable became the immediate when the pain in Pierce’s right shoulder flared so badly that she had to retire after she lost the first set of her fourth-round match with 10th-seeded Anke Huber.

Just two days before, Pierce had played up to her fourth seeding with a straight-sets triumph over Lisa Raymond in the third round. But early on yesterday, the French Open champion knew her shoulder had gotten much worse.

And after a 6-4 first set in which she won only 58% of the points on her first serve, double-faulted six times and sprayed 18 unforced errors, Pierce gave up the fight.

“In the warmup this morning before my match, it was sore from the very first serve I hit,” she said. “With each one, it just kept getting worse. I started compensating with other areas and other muscles in my shoulder and other things started hurting.

“I didn’t feel like I had control over my arm.”

Pierce’s injury, diagnosed as internal impingement after she complained of pain upon losing in the second round at Wimbledon, might require surgery. For now, though, she plans to try the rest-and-rehab route.

“It’s quite disappointing because I was just really looking forward to playing here,” she said. “I was very eager. And I felt like I was playing well. You know, I felt really good against Raymond – I was serving a hundred percent and had no pain.”


jane Says:

I looked at the army posting re: steroids, and as far as I understood it, the site relays the types of injuries / conditions that can be clinically treated by various types of drugs and steroids.

However, it does not discuss the side-effects or potential injuries that could be caused by steroid usage. Maybe I have misinterpreted it.

Also, here;s an admittedly naive question – it’s fine for a player to get injections to treat an injury, isn’t it? Or no? I am not sure, but I seem to recall Agassi having injections (probably a corticosteroid?) in his back near the end of his career there, maybe during the last Wimbledon and USO. Perhaps I am wrong, but just curious about this distinction. And if a player has asthma, presumably s/he would have to use some sort of steroid to treat it. I guess these sorts of drugs would be exempt from the testing….


Milo Says:

Sean,

I find your “protector of the flame” stance rather humorous. You are playing the role of the Major League Baseball beat writer from ten years back, who proclaims to be totally in the dark. Do you have stock in the ATP/WTA???

Of course what I find funny, and you do as well, is that you know I will be proven right. It may take seven to ten years, but the lie will shine.

Tennis is a great sport for cheats, because you can keep to your small camp. Rafa, Uncle Toni, Lance Armstrong are all very careful about who they let in on the secret. Their Faustian Bargain.

Concerning Lebron, NBA, NFL:

Not to go eugenics and blood lines, but…go look at Lebron’s parents and their performances in sports and you can see how he happened. Now look at Rafa’s mom and dad. Show me where all the speed and power comes from? Go in your basement and breed a turtle with a duck and see if Superman arrives.

Show me one Spanish basketball player who is incredibly athletic? Go research and show me the last Spaniard who won a sprint in the modern Olympics? There are none. Spaniards naturally are like Brugera or Juan Carlos Ferrero; Ferrer, the Sanchez brothers, Moya and Arantcha — decent athleticism, but nothing special. There are places on this Earth, where genetics gives one speed, or power, or endurance — and none of those places is Mallorca…and not all in one package.

Rafa’s “mental power?” Please! When you know you are faster and stronger than all of your opponents, its pretty easy to be mentally tough. Hingis taking on the Williams sisters is “mental toughness.” Martina had nothing going for her except guile. Is the cop who holds a gun to my head “mentally tough?”

Bronx saying,

“In life, you can get some things with a smile — but you’ll get more with a smile and a GUN!”

Absolute power corrupts absolutely.


Milo Says:

Rafanatics,

Fed is an above average athlete, but nothing incredible, and his athleticism hasn’t “changed” over the years. He has great technique and hand/eye coordination. He plays a timing style that doesn’t rely on bruting the ball, like your hero. He’s fit, but no more than one would think from a guy who plays tennis all the time and does light off-court work. He doesn’t have the “convict” look Nadal has.

On Fed’s 5-setters? Yeah, those were wars…HA. Berdych was ending the points in 3 shots or less. Not really a comparison with the Verdasco/Nadal 35 shot per point doper semi. Roger gets tired at about the stage in a match that tennis fans are used to seeing over the past 30 years of viewing. Roger’s bad 5th set looked more like fatigue than quit. Nadal must just eat his veggies.

Roger is smooth and efficient, but his vitals are all very normal, and unchanged since he showed on tour. No red flags.


Twocents Says:

Jane,

I don’t think your question is naive at all. That’s why I said it all depends your definition of drug, doping, etc. If a player trained too hard and his doc gave him something to make him feel better, you call that doping or not? Yes, there’re testing rules. Sadly, testing can never catch up with doping. Tom can never catch Jerry. That’s why ever after Ben Johnson got caught after 1984 LA Olympics, I feel all drug bans shall be lifted: you take whatever you want at your own risk. If you willing to trade health/life for performance, it’s your own choice.

Sean’s nice enough to let us even talk about doping on his blog for so long. He’ll do all he can to discredit all shots at Nadal the world no.1. I would, if only just to avoid possible liabilities. I don’t want to go further on this cuz 1) I see that a highly specialized area that I don’t have a clue; 2) Even though my curiosity drives, I don’t enjoy upsetting Nadal fans too much.

Sean, there’s a big hole in your team-individual theory. If the down side of being caught is so intimedating, all top players in tennis/golf are 100% clean? Bravo!


Milo Says:

Rafanatic,

The “convict look” refers to MSNBC docu-dramas shown on U.S. cable tv. Basically guys who are serving life terms and spend 24hrs. a day working out. There are some incredible physical specimens in U.S. prisons. Rafa looks like them, except the real convicts have a snake tattoo with a swastika on their face.

Also. I’m no Fed fan. My man is Murray.

I’m not sure anyone in tennis is modest or humble. Just the sheer act of wanting to dominate a one-on-one sport in front of an audience, leads me to believe most hyper-competitive people are pretty arrogant and cocky. I think Courier mentioned this about Sampras, when someone brought up how classy Pete was. Courier said something to the effect, “he’s the cockiest guy out there. He’s just so good that he lets his racket do the talking.”


Milo Says:

Ok, we’ll agree to disagree. I somehow don’t see the on-court “VAMOS,” fist-pumping and in-your-face style as something that gets turned off like a switch.

If Fed ever decided to take roids & EPO, he’d beat Rafa 2, 2 & 2. Clearly he’s the better “tennis” player.


Rafanatic Says:

Do you want Federer to get killed? He has been doping for years to beat Nadal because he knew he is a worse tennis player. If Federer wants to beat Rafa now, he will need to take so much drugs that poor Mirka will lose her sweatheart for ever.


margot Says:

As some light relief, did you notice that Murray in his winning speech, was blagging up Rafa’s genius, just like Rafa does to Roger? Only he did it with humour “playing on one leg he can still beat me” etc.
Right on Andy, just keep winning those matches against 1 and 2.


Milo Says:

Let’s hope Murray can win, then honor the crowd with some fine Scottish wit that has nothing to do with his performance:

A woman is looking to re-enter the work force, now that her kids are all grown up. But before applying anywhere she goes tae the doctors’ fae a wee physical before takin’ oan a new joab. When she returns her hubby notices she’s just bustin’ wi’ pride and all chuffed.

So he says; “What’s all this about?”

She says, “I’ve just been tae the doctors’ and he said I’ve got the body of a twenty year old, and the heart of a 16 year old”.

To which her hubby fires back…”What about your 50 year old ass?”

“Your name never came up.” She replies!


Milo Says:

I think that’s why I like Stepanek so much. He’s no back-slapping glad-hander during the match or with his speech. Must be fun to win on the ATP tour when the tournament director is praying you’ll lose early, to save his gate.


Milo Says:

I can’t think of one memorable trophy speech at a major tennis event, since they started letting the participants speak. Am I just drawing a blank? Borg perhaps? He was quite the quote-machine.


Milo Says:

I got one:

When Michael Chang won The French and went zealot thanking and crediting JESUS for the win.

Then some sportwriter added, “this may or may not have been a coaching violation.”


Milo Says:

Mary,

Did you ever see Shermer’s article on “Game Theory?” There has to be some hope.

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=the-doping-dilemma


grendel Says:

Two Cents

“so if I offend you with my inconsistency….” Not at all, I brought it up since you questioned Uncle Toni’s inconsistency. I would tend to question someone if he WASN’T to some degree inconsistent. Beware little Miss Perfect…

“I see the main split occurs at that you think drug is not a gray area while I think it is. It depends on how you define “drug”. Well, I do agree totally with what you say here, strangely – whilst knowing nothing really about drugs, but I operate on the principle that just about everything in life is on some sort of sliding scale. It’s Uncle Toni I was thinking of. I may be caricaturing him, but he strikes me as the sort of man who has an uncomplicated moral code. This will let him get away with a lot – but drugs will be perceived to be out of bounds, not least on pragmatic grounds; but I’ve already gone over all that.

Milo:

“I still haven’t heard you explain to me the huge tactical or technical skill Rafa has? He has only one stand-out feature — nuclear leg and arm speed.

The brutish, simpleton, Spanish, yuck-O, overspin style is so ripe for a drug cheat. The style is basic and has been around since the 70’s (Vilas, Borg, Brugera, Muster etc.). It’s a game based on brawn and not brains. Players with this style are not trying to out-think anyone. Their game is like womping baby seals with a club. The game is what it is — the only way to improve it is to jack up the engine power.”

I hesitate to cross swords with you since you clearly have a good working knowledge of tennis whilst I am your actual armchair fellow. But here goes: I see a quick tennis brain in Nadal, how often he wrong foots an opponent at unexpected moments. His drop shots generally work – he knows when to apply them, from my observation this is surprisingly unusual, and the decision must be instant, with no telegraphing. That’s tremendous skill in my book. His serve has improved out of bounds – you only had to watch him serving on the third set against Murray when he was injured; Peter Fleming remarked this was back to the 16 year old serve (he was on the tour then). Now – given it is not the biggest of serves – it is a very skilful one, dripping with spin, which no one seems able to put away. Remember Connors’ serve – now that really was a lamentable excuse for a shot, he simply went through the motions, having apparently decided he didn’t have the equipment for a decent serve. But Nadal – typically – has refused to accept his limitations, and turned what was a weakness into a weapon. And he does this a lot, doesn’t he? When he goes to the net, he nearly always wins the point, unlike so many baseline players who go in on a prayer and a hope. His volleying and smashing is good, not outstanding of course, it doesn’t need to be given his baseline attributes – but, for him to consistently win, it needs to be good. And so he has made sure it is good. This is a very thorough professional, but also, surely one with exceptional skills – how else do you turn weaknesses into comparative strengths?

Consider his inside out forehand. It is an amazing shot and – but I stand to be corrected – nobody else seems to hit it quite like that, and certainly not the old Muster/Vilas type claycourt hardmen. I don’t really see how drugs can assist here. He can hit it from anywhere on the court, angle it precisely to soften up his advesary (when it’s not an outright winner) and spot instantly if the ball directed to his backhand is the slightest bit short: cue for that particular fh. I don’t think he hits the ball as hard as Tsonga or Berdych (drug free, I take it), but he keeps it up over and over and over. Now that, you could ascribe to drugs – but you could also ascribe it to a huge will allied to a finely honed expertise. Which is more likely? That is subjective, no doubt, but why just dismiss the possibility that mental strength is responsible for so much of his success? He has always oozed determination, I remember watching him beat an Englishman called Childs or something in an early round at Wimbledon when he was 16 or 17. Childs (or something) had the better technique on the grass, but Nadal just wore him down with sheer determination. It’s his trademark, I think it’s just overcomplicated to suggest it is the product of drugs.

The way Nadal has steadily taken Federer apart over the years is an extraordinary accomplishment – noone else has been able to get near. I just don’t see drugs as having any explanatory role at all here, not least because there are times when Federer is just all over Nadal and can make him look limited in the way he can just about anyone else. But why can’t he keep it up? Because Nadal is on drugs? Just doesn’t make sense as an explanation. Whereas Nadal’s stoicism in the face of adversity, Federer’s certain knowledge that Nadal is going nowhere – it is understandable that the frailer psyche crumbles in the end. I still hope Federer can do something about it, but…..

Meanwhile,I see we’re in the silly season, and someone is now claiming Federer is on drugs. Not worth the intake of a breath to respond to.


margot Says:

Milo, thanks for your tenis joke!


jane Says:

Twocents,

Thanks for the vote of confidence. But there was a question there that I wish someone with more acumen in this area would answer — Mary??

I am wondering if you or anyone knows if it’s okay for players to take corticosteroid shots for an injury, as I seem to remember Agassi doing that (see my post of Feb. 17th 1:30 am)? Also, presumably asthmatic-related illnesses could be treated in the common way, with steroids? I dunno but am curious.


Mary Says:

Jane-
Yes.You can only take so many shots before you go over the limit. There is a Theraputic-Use-Exemption- itf has the info.
That Volandri(sp?) was caught using too much of his asthma meds.

Jane I was answering two different questions last night about tendon injuries and steroids. You can read through the 41ooomillion articles- the muscle and overuse(thinking you can do more hitting, running, etc than you really are capable of actually doing) wear down the tendon.
When you are a pro athlete, you have to recover faster, so that is one reason to start and just to get an edge.
Look at body changes in athletes and how fast they recover or shoot up in any rankings.

Jane- I don’t have more acumen, I just read through things– it’s the wonk in me.


Rafanatic Says:

I’m off to sleep now. I’ll be back tomorrow with more facts about Rogerina Federina.


Mary-Sticking it to the MAN Says:

Rafanatic:
You mean Rogesica.


jane Says:

Mary,

Thanks – sorry to pass my reading off on you. I have a wonk in me too but I do so much reading for work (teacher) that I have an aversion to additional info., esp. not of too much interest. Never really had an interest in clinical things, but these discussions have peaked my interest in the doping scenario in sports.


Mary-Sticking it to the MAN Says:

Jane-
Oh, I didn’t mean to sound like I was slagging off on you. What do you teach– if I’m not being too personal? What is interesting about the subject is that it deals with the basics in life: sex, money, drugs, and egos!

I should get some work done.

Would Fed have w/drawn from Dubai if Nadal didn’t? Anyway, I do wonder what would happen if Novak gets hot and takes over number two. Fed must look at the schedule to figure out when and if that could happen and plan accordingly.


jane Says:

Mary – I teach film and literature at college (but don’t call me on my grammar errors please – rarely proofread posts); I empathized with your philosophy paper conundrum the other night. Been there. Done that.

Sheesh – didn’t know Nadal withdrew from Dubai too! That’s an interesting point; you should post it on that other thread; it’ll probably get the fingers typing like mad…


Mary-Sticking it to the MAN Says:

Jane: I click my screen and there’s a response. good use of a ;

Nadal is expected to withdraw from Dubai.


Von Says:

Mary/Milo:

Take a look at the link from the BBC. I know you guys are very passionate on this topic.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/blq/mast/home/-/home/d/


Von Says:

Mary/Milo:

The above is the site, but not the link. I think the following is the correct one.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/video_and_audio/help_guide/4304501.stm


Mary Says:

Von: Thanks!! They are in a no-win situation with this. I liked this: “Learn a little more before you open your mouth,” he told them, adding: “It’s very important to know what you are talking about before you criticise it.”


Twocents Says:

Jane,

Sorry I’m of no big help. Know nothing about doping rules. Judge from the daunting challenges of all testings in my own field (engieering), it’s jsut impossible for testings to catch all dopers. Having said that, I do appreciate effort people put in to combat it.

Fed’s withdraw confirmed my suspect. It’s not easy to heal a sore back. Good move, finally.


Von Says:

Mary:

Did you notice this: “This is done online and can be updated by email or text message.”

It’s what I said could be done by the athletes at the inception and their email/computer/calendar/cell phone gives them a reminder. They have so many avenues open to them to use to check in, so how could it be so hard. It’s like calling your significant other everyday to say “hello”. As I’ve stated “It’s much ado about nothing”. It can be something small or large depending on the mindset of the person who’s looking at the situation.


jane Says:

Twocents,

Maybe one of these days I’ll do some reading into it all. But Mary did mention above that the players have a ” Theraputic-Use-Exemption” so thankfully she answered that question that was bugging me. Players can use steroids for clinical uses like injuries or asthma – but only to a point. You’re right though, the ins-and-outs of testing in any field are often a nightmare of interpretations and blurry lines.


Milo Says:

Grendel,

I’ll concede Rafa is a skilled performer. Most kids who grow up on clay develop excellent court sense and decent feel in cat & mouse exchanges.


grendel Says:

well, I don’t see any other claycourter to come near Rafa in this respect. You’ve got to go back to Coria to find one as skilled as Nadal – actually, more so, I’d have thought, but he lacks Nadal’s strength, his serve (sounds a funny thing to say, but justfied I think) and of course his strength of mind. That’s the thing about Nadal, he’s an all rounder as they say in cricket.

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