Saturday, May 9, 2009

Tennis Talk

by Savannah


French media reports that Richard Gasquet tested positive for a controlled substance after Miami. He faces a three month suspension. The original French is followed by a Google translation that was edited by me.

Le joueur de tennis français a été contrôlé positif à une substance prohibée lors d’un contrôle effectué sur le
Masters 1000 de Miami, fin mars.
Richard Gasquet, 23 ans, a été contrôlé positif à l’occasion du Masters 1000 de Miami, fin mars. La nouvelle
nous a été confirmée par un officiel de la Fédération française de tennis. De source médicale, l'échantillon A du
Français présenterait des traces d'une substance interdite par le code mondial antidopage en compétition, de
type récréatif (cocaïne, cannabis, etc). Le contrôle a été diligenté par l'Agence mondiale antidopage (AMA).

S’agissant d’une première infraction, Gasquet pourrait n’encourir « que » 3 mois de suspension.

French tennis player Richard Gasquet tested positive for a prohibited substance during a check carried out at the M1000 Miami Masters in late March. The news has been confirmed by an official of the French Tennis Federation. Sample A showed traces of a substance banned by the World Anti Doping Code in competition. The substance falls under the category of recreational, cocaine or cannabis.
Since this is a first offense the penalty is "only" a three month suspension. The audit was conducted by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).


L'Equipe is confirming initial report and that the amount in his system would warrant a two year suspension. Again French followed by my edited Google translation.

Des traces de cocaïne ont été retrouvées dans l'échantillon A des urines de Richard Gasquet, contrôlé à
Miami alors qu'il venait de déclarer forfait pour le tournoi. Ces traces, de l'ordre de 1,46 microgramme, soit
supérieures au seuil de sensibilité de 0,5 demandé à tous les laboratoires accrédités, pourraient valoir au
tennisman français, si la contre-expertise corroborait la prime analyse, une suspension de deux ans. En effet,
la cocaïne figure parmi les stimulants majeurs interdits en compétition. Le joueur français, qui nie toute prise
volontaire, n'a pas souhaité réagir à l'information, mais devrait très vite effectuer des analyses capillaires afin
de démontrer qu'il n'est pas consommateur régulier. Enfin, le TEAM Lagardère devrait communiquer très
vite à ce sujet, probablement demain en milieu de l'après-midi.

Traces of cocaine were found in Richard Gasquet's urine sample and he had(?) to forfeit the tournament. The trace level was 1.46 micrograms far above the sensitivity threshold of 0.5 used by accredited laboratories. If this is confirmed Gasquet faces a two year ban. Gasquet denies the charges and has offered to provide a hair sample to show that he is not a regular user of the drug. Team Lagardere is expected to make a statement tomorrow afternoon.

The Rome Champion - and some thoughts
Congratulations to Dinara Safina for her first win of 2009.

Dinara Safina 2009 Rome Champion
I had this long rant prepared about on court coaching especially in view of Dinara Safina's win over Venus Williams at Rome Friday where her coach connected the dots for her down to the last shot but I decided to hold off until today's final against Svetlana Kuznetsova.
I'll admit it. I fell asleep before the end of the first set when it became apparent the entity I call "Bad Sveta" was on the court. I had suspected she'd take control when I read that Sveta, who had been doing just fine coachless, had hired Larisa Savchenko Neiland who was an assistant coach for the Russian Fed Cup team. When I woke up again it was 5-1 Safina. I've read that on match point Zeljko Krajan told Safina what serve to use and Stepford like she did it. If you're up by 5-2 shouldn't you have recent memory of the mental process you used to get to that point?

I'm going to stop now because many of Safina's fans think you're trashing her because you may also belong to a different fandom. Not at all. Safina has shown that she can fight back, that she knows how to think on court. She's done it in the past and that's why I became a fan of hers. I for one don't want to see a replay of
Justine Henin and Carlos Rodriguez relationship where he coached her on every single point. Tennis is about one on one combat - you outthinking the person across the net from you. Some have called what happens on the tennis court a conversation. Remember back in elementary school where someone was egged on in a fight by an interested third party? Is this what women's tennis has become? Is the WTA content with the image of it's athlete's as mindless bots who need constant guidance to get through a match? It's time for the WTA to get rid of on court coaching, and revise it's point system. To twist a current phrase, let the players play.

Speaking of Carlos Rodriguez his latest charge won today at Estoril. Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium defeated New Zealand's Ekaterina Makarova to win her first championship at the Portuguese tournament.

Congratulations to Yanina.

Americans did win on the dirt this weekend. Racquel Kops-Jones and her doubles partner Abigail Spears won the women's doubles crown at Estoril.
Congratulations to you both!


beckcl78 said...

"I've read that on match point Zeljko Krajan told Safina what serve to use and Stepford like she did it. If you're up by 5-2 shouldn't you have recent memory of the mental process you used to get to that point?"

That can't even possibly be true. I haven't seen the second set, so I don't know if she called him down before the last game or not, but she can't call him down in the middle of a game, so the chances that he talked to her just before match point are nil. Unless you mean he signaled to her?

Savannah said...

I should have clarified. Yes he signaled her - so I've read.

sG said...

You write the gospel truth, Savannah. I really, really, really like Safina. She's one of the few female tennis players I actively desire to win matches. So watching her call down her coach to think through the match for her is disappointing to say the least.

Karen said...

Savannah, I was taken to task over at FortyDeuce for saying that Dinara needed to learn to think on her own. If her coach had not come out during that match with Venus, no way would she have won. The girl has what it takes to win matches, but she relies on this fellow to tell her what to do and when. I recall the same thing with AnaI during her IW finals match with Zvonreva. She actually asked her coach where she should serve the ball and where she should stand to receive and return the ball. It would be hilarious if it was not so sad. That is the main reason why there is a strong possibility that these girls will never win majors, because on court coaching is not allowed at ITF events (i.e. the majors) and they have absolutely no idea how to go on instinct. The WTA needs to do away with this coaching thing. Another thing was that during the match yesterday, Corina said it twice - she does not think she could deal with a coach who speaks to her in that way. I agree. It was the same thing I witnessed with Sharapova during her match last year against Serena. Her coach had to basically psych her up. It is ridiculous