Tennis and Anti Doping

The Spin Team

Tennis and Anti Doping.  More and more we should now be convinced that these 2 things do not go together.

First there was the Pamela defence used by Richard Gasquet. In case you forgot, he went to a club, kissed a girl named Pamela and subsequently tested positive for cocaine.  Then we have the “my mother purchased the wrong medication” used by Marin Cilic.  Let us not forget the “I did not check my emails and even if I had checked my emails, it was a different name than the one I am used to  using” defence that was used by Maria Sharapova and the nail in the coffin “my mother’s cancer drug got into the tortellini soup” currently used by Sara Errani.  The excuses being used by tennis players would be funny if it were not so damn serious.

I don’t know what excuse British born xenophobe Dan Evans will use, but knowing him, he will probably blame an immigrant for his cocaine troubles.

The time has come for tennis to take a stand, but unfortunately, that is not going to happen.  The same ITF that granted a player a TUE to take a performance enhancing drug which was later appealed by WADA, is the same ITF which apparently listens to these ridiculous excuses for doping and thinks that they are at the forefront of the anti-doping efforts.

The ITF needs to finally and conclusively let everyone know that their anti doping efforts are a farce, that they will allow any performance enhancing drug to be used, as long as it is not used during competition or perhaps sets a guideline for the use of performance enhancing drugs.  It is foolhardy for any tennis fan with any modicum of intelligence to actually believe that these so called anti doping efforts are to be taken seriously.

How is it possible that athletes, some of whom have whole teams are able to hire lawyers, are able to stand before a tribunal of apparently sensible people and put forward these ridiculous excuses for being caught using banned substances?

We all know that there is a protocol that has been well established for the use of banned substances.  We saw evidence of this during the period when the ITF was hacked.  We saw from the medical information provided that athletes like Venus and Serena Williams followed the proper protocol in establishing the injury and receiving approval to use substances that are otherwise prohibited.

Whether or not the ITF accepted the tortellini defence, the fact that an athlete could actually think that bringing her parents to the ITF hearing, and proffer this defence, speaks to the disdain in which athletes hold the ITF.  The fact that Errani only received a 2 month doping suspension, again speaks volumes.  The fact that her Federation thought it would be a good thing to stand with her on this says everything you need to know about tennis.  As one of my followers on social media pointed out to me, the Italian Federation granted a WC to Errani, knowing she had failed a drug test in February, and allowed another Italian, Francesca Schiavone to not get the opportunity to play in her home tournament this past May.  The fact that the Italian Federation provided 2 wild cards to 2 players who had been caught doping tells you everything you need to know about this particular Federation.  It is disgraceful and an affront to everyone else who is fighting for clean sport.

WTA TV

WTA TV is up and running.  I have provided my thoughts on the service so far.  While I am happy that the subscription service is now up and running, I am hoping that as time goes on, the suggestions for improving the service that many persons have made will be taken into consideration.

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