Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Heard Around

by Savannah

L'Equipe reports that former French Open Champion Gaston Gaudio has asked for a WC into the French Open. Link is in French

Spain has passed a law saying that drug testing of athletes cannot take place between the hours of 11p and 8a. The decree applies to foreign athletes resident or training in the country.

The AELTC held a press conference this morning announcing the following:

  • Prize money has been increased 13.3% to £850,000 for both the men's and women's champion. Total prize money is now £12,550,000..

  • The new roof will take 8-10 mins to close. 20-30 minutes will be needed to produce right indoor climate.

  • Day will start with roof open. Decision to close the roof will be made 45 minutes before play is scheduled to start.

  • Refs will have the option of covering the court as opposed to closing the roof.

  • The old "Graveyard" Court #2 is now Court #3. There is a new Court 2.

  • Ground capacity has increased from 36,500 to 40,000.

  • There will now be no fixed end of play factored into the schedule according to this BBC Report

Here are some images of the new roof released by the AELTC

Ian Ritchie CEO of the AELTC

Eddie Seaward Head Groundsman

I may criticize the AELTC for some of their actions but they get nothing but praise from me for how they handle their media and their live streaming. They're the best in the business.
The last image I posted got me thinking. The USTA has said that it will be very difficult to put a roof on Arthur Ashe stadium. Let's not forget the British started this project a couple of years ago knowing the rainy weather could cause difficult scheduling problems. With the financial world in turmoil I don't doubt that its hard to raise capital to finance the building of a roof on Ashe but that isn't the reason being cited. It's being said that because of the size of Ashe it would be hard to cover the outsized stadium. It has also been said the shape could be a deterrent. Look at that last image again. I'm just sayin'.

Gael Monfils may miss the French Open due to his ongoing knee problems.


Salmon said...

I don't have much of a clue as to why these roofs all have to be so elaborate and fancy. Just get a big tarp.

Love your show, Amie :)

Savannah said...

Hi Salmon. Welcome. And LOL. I'm not an architect but I understand they have to make sure all the support is there so that the roof won't fall and the stadium isn't damaged.

Karen said...

I am speechless at this law that Spain has passed. In this increasing world of doping in sports, and the innuendoes, whether real or imagined that permeate the sport, why would Spain, a country that is now a powerhouse in terms of sports, choose to enact this piece of legislation. I am a bit worried by this. With the new doping rules in effect by WADA, this law basically spits in the face of WADA by saying, ok you want to test my players at all hours of the day or night, well if they are in Spain you cannot touch them. Does not look good at all. Also does not look good when one of the faces of sport in Spain has lashed out against the doping requirements of WADA.

Savannah said...

Does it make a difference if an athlete is hauled out of bed at 4a or tested at 10a if he/she is using a performance enhancing substance?

Spain is known for it's nocturnal way of life so more than likely Spaniards of all stripes would be out and about.

Karen said...

Savannah, I doubt that professional sports persons would be up all hours of the night, nocturnal nightlife notwithstanding. Frankly speaking I think the WADA rules are effective as well. What is the sense of having a set time for an athlete to be tested. I have seen too many situations where athletes have basically thumbed their noses at me the fan by continuing to cheat their way to victories. I dont care whether my faves get caught or not. If you are cheating, then you should be caught. For my money, I think anti-doping officials should be able to test whenever and however they want to. Notwithstanding the money that is to be made by being a professional athlete, children look up to some of these individuals as role models - someone to emulate (whether that is right or wrong is another discussion), but how would it look if Serena Williams a champion of the game, the epitomizer of fair play on the court, is caught cheating at drugs because they did a test on her at 2:00 am. in the morning. My response, well Serena, you should not have taken that thing because your body is how you make your living. I am sorry but this move by Spain is similar to the move done by George Bush when he said that people should be tortured in order to get information. It is wrong on both counts.

Savannah said...

I should clarify what I mean by nocturnal lifestyle.

There is a big break in the afternoon and then everything, business included, starts again in the evening. It's not uncommon in Spain or France for people to go out to dinner about 10p or 11p. American visitors to Spain always talk about living in reverse to the way we're used to.

That said these substances don't wash out of the body easily or quickly and evidence of their use would still be around later in the day.

Karen said...

Savannah, to this day, if Marion Jones had not confessed, she would still be competing in track and field because she has never tested positive for any banned substances. All the track and field stars of yesteryear who are now being accused and who have been banned from the sport never tested positive for a doping offence. What does that tell you? There are ways and means of not only beating a dope test, but that just as how the doping officials are trying their hardest to make sports clean, you have someone in a labatory somewhere cooking up something to make an athlete, stronger and faster. It is not fair to those who train diligiently and who put in the hours of work to finally be able to win at something, and then you have someone come and cheat their way to a win. I say test them 24 hours per day until they get so sick of it, that they will decide not to use.

Pheasant Plucker said...

Karen, while I agree that doping is very very not OK, Waking an athlete up in the middle of the night just because you can isn't OK either. If they dope, it'll still be there at 8 am. They can test as soon as the clock ticks over if they want. Athletes are people too, and the current WADA rules allow far too many innocent people to have their privacy invaded in the middle of the night. The law will NOT allow more dopers to get away with it.

As for Marion Jones, the issue is not what time you are testd, but whether the substance taken will show up at all. The science is var more complex and difficult than many realise, especially with new drugs and endogenous substances like steroids (which is what she took). At the time, the substance she took simply didn't show up in the tests because they didn't know to test for it. Nothing to do with testing at 3am.

Karen said...

Pheasant Plucker, I really do not think that the doping officials are going to turn up at people's houses at 3 in the morning, but at least athletes will be of the view, that hey if I take this stuff, someone may come and test me, so let me rethink this - maybe it is a preventative measure - I just dont see how a law that bans testing between certain hours helps anyone

Helen W said...

I duuno Karen -- didn't someone bang on Andy Murray's door at 7:00 am and demand a test?

If WADA could show cause -- i.e. that banned substances can be taken and not detected if testing is delayed for 9 hours (or whatever the window Spain's law mandates) then I would sympathize. But if they can't, (and so far they haven't, AFAIK) I see nothing wrong with limiting them from arriving in the middle of the night.

oddman said...

Karen, PED's (usually steroids of some form) are not short-acting. They stay in the body for hours, if not days. And you can't take one dose and expect it to work on your system over the next 4 months or whatever. You need to be on a course of them, over a period of time (months) for their properties to be useful (muscle building, endurance). Jones and others were taking a combination of drugs that were very new, thus the detection labs at that time had no test available to indicate they were using PED's. This is one of WADA's biggest problems (and they know it) - new chemical combinations come out with the same enhancing properties, and no tests yet developed to find them in an athlete's system. BUT! An athlete taking PED's at 11:01 pm would definitely have the metabolites in the blood and/or urine at 8 the next morning. I think the law Spain passed is reasonable.

Karen said...

guys, I will defer to your reasoning, but I still think it looks fishy. At a time when doping officials are trying their hardest to catch drug cheats, having a country enact legislation that prevents that from happening (whether by putting time limits on testing) is to my mind trying to circumvent doping officials. Countries should do all in their power to assist doping officals. Why could they not have enacted legislation that said something to this effect "testing will be allowed outside of regular working hours, with prior appointments" or something like that. I know someone will say well is that not what WADA is doing now, but as I think Oddman said, the reason why Jones et al were not caught, was because what they were using could not be detected at the time with the tests that the officals had. Perhaps it is the same thing now - what if there is a drug out there that has a different rate of metabolizing - I dont know these things are a bit technical to me, but I just believe that countries should think long and hard before enacting legislation - the very appearance of this piece of legislation at this time, does not put Spain and/or its athletes in a good light. You will recall that separate and apart from Rafa, the winner of last year's Tour de France is also Spanish, and we all know the rumours that have surrounded cycling since Lance Armstrong and the needles. No sport needs that. Last year during the Olympics we Jamaicans had to listen to insinuations about our athletes and why they were running so fast. This year at our regular boys and girls championships we had so many journalists from all over the world who actually came to see what these junior championships were all about and if really the talent that we speak of regarding Asafa and Usain was always there. There is a cloud that covers professional sports right now and it behoves countries as well as athletes to ensure that sports at every level remain clean and drug free. It just does nothing for Spain and/or its athletes when I am sure they did it with the best of intentions enacted this piece of legislation.

oddman said...

Karen, you don't have to tell me, Canadian here, and old enough to remember our nation's embarassment during the Seoul Olympics (Ben Johnson, anyone?) - however, I've always been annoyed by that 'where there's smoke, there's fire' mentality. Having one problem doesn't always presuppose the other, imho.