Poisoning Gives Russia the Edge Against US in Davis Cup Final
by Sean Randall | November 8th, 2007, 4:06 pm

Well the upcoming US-Russia Davis Cup final in December just got a whole lot more interesting. Going in and it looked like a 4-1 US victory to me. I know Andy Roddick gets a lot of heat, but the guy in my mind is a big match player, and one who rarely loses to people he isn’t suppose to. Add a win by the Bryan brothers and maybe one by James Blake and the US was my pick to beat Russia. ADHEREL

I’m not so sure of that anymore.

In addition to having Igor Andreev, Dmitry Tursunov, Nikolay Davydenko and mafia muscle at the ready, looks like Russia’s added a mad scientist to the team.

That based on reports that in Russia’s win over Germany in the Davis cup semifinals, Tommy Haas claims he was poisoned by Russia forcing him to the bench in the deciding fifth rubber. How screwed up is that?

According to German team member Alexander Waske, A Russian told him of the poisoning. “He said as an aside that it was bitter that Tommy Haas was poisoned,” said Waske, who answered the man by saying that it was a virus. “Thereupon he said, ‘No, they poisoned him.'”

Great. I guess the ol’ slip-the-poison-in-the-drink trick is still being used. And in tennis!

Added Haas: “I was the only one ever to order dessert or a Latte macchiato after dinner. If all this is true, since no one else got sick, that must have been when it happened.”

The ITF says they are now “investigating” the matter. Good luck.

What I can’t understand is why Russia even bothered to poison Tommy Haas’s drink. Let’s face it, in a fourth rubber with a chance to clinch in an away match, there is a 50% chance that Haas will come down with some debilitating ailment and pull out on his own. The guy’s not the most rugged player is he? A bee sting, an allergy, a headache, runny nose, sore throat, you name but something would have forced him out anyway. Bad luck just follows that guy.

But maybe Russia was just testing to see if the poisoned cocktail trick would work. And based on what Haas says, it does, and now Russia has one more weapon to use against the United States next month. Plus, I’m sure they are fully aware of Andy Roddick’s weak stomach – see Taco Bell at Indianapolis.

With all that, If I were US coach Patrick McEnroe I’d be building a fortress right now around the US player hotel and practice facility in Portland. And keep the desserts and the lattes off the menus.

And just how good is tennis looking these days? Grand slam champions hitting the white powder, betting scandals, guys tanking matches, chair umpires dishing out serving advice and now poisoning. Has tennis ever been more relevant in the mainstream media? It’s like a real sport now. When I read that Serena Williams withdrew from Madrid with an injury this morning I half expected the reason was because Yuri Sharapova took a tire iron to Serena’s knee. hEll, maybe he did…

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14 Comments for Poisoning Gives Russia the Edge Against US in Davis Cup Final

jane Says:

If anyone would do it, it’d be Yuri!

There were a flurry of illnesses at Davis Cup this year (Hewitt also pulled out; the US team woke up with flu-like symptoms and then Sweden weren’t feeling too well), not to mention the mysterious stomach (Gasquet, Berdych) and breathing aliments (Henin, Venus, among others) at the US Open.

Maybe there is an ATP poisoner on the loose? Maybe someone will soon poor poison in King Roger’s ear and the whole kingdom will crumble.

Sheesh: what’s next?

jane Says:

I meant pour, not poor. a la Hamlet.

But who’s the evil poisoner?

beerme Says:

hope they leave James alone and figure out he has already poisoned himself mentally. No way they will prove anything-ever.

John (1) Says:

Two things:

1) Maybe Hingis was drugged? Did she lose to a Russian?

2) Yuri’s last name is Sharapov, no “a”. The “a” is for women.

Jeremy Says:

lets not forget that james blake set the tone in Winston Salem with a dominating win over Robredo, a match that most thought he would lose.

John (1) Says:

A third:

3) Can drugging cause lots of double faults? Davydenko? Dementieva?

Andy Roddick Says:


Thanks to my new diet of nothing but Taco Bell (I’m having it flown into Shanghai) my stomach can now handle just about anything those Russians can put on my plate or in my drink. Capt PMac had the foresite to start me on this diet way back at Indianapolis with the knowledge that Russia had put a chemical scientists on their Davis Cup team.

Wish me luck in Shanghai!

Veniamin Nikolayev Says:

Tommy Haas needs to lay off crack and start playing tennis again.

Rob Says:

If I were the Russian Tennis Federation I’d build a ton of Taco Bells and send opponents free food coupons! No need to develop your own poison!

rudi Says:

Haas’ bio reveals much precedent of stomach viruses (in match withdrawals). His play on clay is mediocre, and he had stated that this (’07) would be his last foray in Davis Cup. Yet he waits two months before making his claim, and as the man who is demanding “names” in the match-fixing scandal, he does not name the person who spoke to Waske.
A bad joke, sour grapes, paranoia or hysteria? Crazy counter conspiracy to throw off the Russian team vs the US?
Clearly Germany’s loss was hard for him to swallow!

Paula Vergara Says:

Hey, players get sick. They’re human.
And leave James alone – he works his a** off, while the rest of us slackers just sit back and watch.

Debra Gardner Says:

Boy, what a soap opera in the making, or perhaps a made-for-TV thriller. Hasn’t anyone written a Tennis mystery/thriller yet? If we wait long enough, some author will have enough material. Maybe everyone should be like the kings of old and hire tasters to taste everything before they eat it. Then, if anything’s wrong they’ll just have to pay for the doctor bills of the tasters. Mercy me!

German tennis player Tommy Haas poisoned? | SportsBonehead.com Says:

[…] Did a Hamlet play break out on the tennis court during the Davis Cup? Investigations are underway that German tennis player Tommy Haas was poisoned before his match against Mikhail Youzhny of Russia! Haas had to leave his match with what looked like a stomach virus, but a German teammate was told by a Russian manager that the illness was due to a poisoning! The ITF will look into this and provide their results, but man, what bonehead would bring this kind of drama to the tennis court?! Please subscribe to our posts to get instant bonehead updates! […]

John (1) Says:

I commented above that: “Yuri’s last name is Sharapov, no “a”. The “a” is for women.”

I just checked WTA rankings. Out of the top 80 Russian women (2 thru 1076), all of them have first names that end in “a”!!!

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