Friday, July 17, 2009

Heard Around

by Savannah

Trolling on one of my fave gossip sites I found this post by "entelodent" re the Gasquet situation:

LOL back when I drug-tested people I heard the following excuses for positive results:

They were dusting the top of a cabinet and stirred up some cocaine that somebody else had left up there (unbeknownst to them, of course);

Somebody had put cocaine in their drink, but they thought it would be all right because "alcohol kills cocaine";

and the ever popular, "I don't do coke but my boyfriend does and I gave him a blowjob and swallowed". Multiple people have tried that one, sadly. At least this guy was slightly less shameless.

And it's not only gossip sites that are talking about this. An article appeared in the Brazilian press that said the Gasquet case has serious implications for drug testing in the sports world. This translation was supplied by "Safinafan" over on MensTennisForums

Excellent article in Folha de S. Paulo today, signed by Fernando Itokazu and José Eduardo Martins, shows the disbelief of several experts in the subject. Marco Aurelio Dornelles, from the Brazilian Olympic Committee, described like "impossible" the acquittal, the sport lawyer Luciano Hostins , calls "absurd", and says would be hard to Gasquet keep this verdict in the CAS. The specialist Eduardo de Rose, a great world authority on the issue, believes that Wada has a special eye in this case.

Scientifically, the doctors consulted by Folha says that it is possible the transmission of benzoylecgonine by saliva, but for this the kisser must have much cocaine in your mouth or that the examination made in Gasquet has been extremely sensitive to detect the substance. Worst of all, I believe that this trial may open a dangerous precedent in future appeals on unintentional doping.

There is a hue and cry on all fanboards about Richie's "I kissed a girl" defense that the ITF swallowed whole and the treatment of Martina Hingis. Hell what about Guillermo Canas who had his career taken away during it's prime while Greg Rusedski, in the same situation as Canas, barely got a rap on the knuckles? Canas situation is worse in my opinion because he followed the instructions of an ATP physio not some random dude (or dudette) he met in the street. If I'm him I'm seething right now. If I'm Mariano Puerta I want to appeal as well. He came up with the excuse he drank a banned substance that was in his wife's water or something. No one believed him. I thought his excuse was pretty creative back then.

As for Hingis she chose not to fight her suspension. It didn't come at the height of her power but during a return that had begun to sputtter. Don't get me wrong, I understand the comparisons and feel that they are valid. Martina didn't have the Swiss tennis federation fighting for her though and being left out there on her own I can understand her not wanting to go to the expense involved in fighting the charges. Besides the "known party girl" thing was bubbling through tennis media sources and sometimes it's best to go on about your business instead of fighting anonymous assertions.

As I said a couple of days ago Richie owes the French Tennis Federation big time. They fought for their golden boy and got his possible sentence reduced to time served, time that ironically ended July 15. If he comes back and pulls the stunts he pulled before - the sore throat thing at the US Open, refusing to play during a critical Davis Cup match against the United States, and generally behaving as if he really is just too sexy for tennis then the FFT will have done nothing more than extend the career of a spoiled brat they've invested millions of Euro's in. Will the case go to the CAS where WADA has jurisdiction? Who knows? Monsieur Gasquet's performance over the next few months will be closely watched.

They're Everywhere

Venus Williams and Serena Williams are suddenly everywhere. They're on the Red Carpet at the Espy's. Venus shows up on a late night talk show in a beautiful fuschia cocktail dress. Serena got to meet President Obama at the White House wearing five inch heels the President commented on. So why is it I'm ready to out Venus lights because she did an exhibition for EA sports in the Vancouver area with Duane Howard, my new favorite NBA player and had the nerve to look like she was having fun while doing so? Talk about a charmed life.

Back to the Future ATP Style

Former Wimbledon champion Michael Stich says he will return to the tour after a ten year absence. He plans to partner with Mischa Zverev in Hamburg next week. Didn't he make some pretty controversial statements a few weeks ago? Whatever.

Hold the Anointing Ceremony

Pete Sampras managed to ruffle a few feathers during a presser he did to hype his exhibition match against Marat Safin at the Los Angeles tennis open by throwing fuel on the fire of the GOAT debate and The Monogram. Here's an excerpt.

Q. I listened to your comments after the Wimbledon final. I don't know if you were asked this, how much Federer's record against Nadal affects your opinion? You were widely called the greatest ever by so many different people, had a positive record against your main rival, Andre.

PETE SAMPRAS: Very good question and tough question to answer. I do understand the argument as far as being the best ever. You have to be the man of your generation. He has come up short against Nadal. I can see the point.

It's hard to answer that. I don't know how to answer it. You know, it's not done yet. Roger's career isn't done yet. He's going to play Nadal a number of times over the next number of years, and he has to beat him. He has to beat him in the finals of majors. To be considered the greatest ever, he certainly in my book is. But he has to figure this kid out. He has to beat him. He's lost to him a number of times. You know, you got to be the man of your generation. He certainly is the man of his generation; he just has to figure out Nadal.

Q. Personalize it a little bit. When you retired, if you had that type of record against Andre, had a negative record against him in the majors, would you have been satisfied, been able say I'm going away from this, I have my 14, Andre got the better of me in a lot of my great matches, but no big deal because I won the most titles anyway?

PETE SAMPRAS: Well, God, you're giving it some thought, huh (laughter)?

Q. Yes.

PETE SAMPRAS: It would have bothered me if I had a losing record against Andre in majors. It wouldn't have sat well with me. Did it mean I was the greatest or not the greatest? I don't know. It's the debate of greatest of all time. We so badly want to pin it on someone. With the numbers you have to give it to Roger. His record against Nadal, okay, you might not give it to him.

I mean, if I was 7 15 against Andre and I was done, it's hard to say I was the player of my generation just because he got the best of me. Like I said, the story's not over yet. We have another probably three, four years of these two guys competing against each other. If anything, I think Nadal is going to be hungrier now seeing Roger getting back to No. 1.

It's hard to give you a definitive answer when it's not done yet. I think Roger knows he's got to figure out this kid. It's a tough, tough matchup. Nadal is one of the few guys that believes in himself that he's better than Roger.

Not a big Sampras fan but it's good to hear someone keeping it real. Pete and his wife Bridget talked to each other throughout the entire match and I said then he looked less than enthusiastic about being there but that's just me. If you are a Sampras fan and would like to read the entire interview the good folks at TalkAboutTennis have posted the transcript. It's an interesting read.

Meanwhile the Monogram was present at a ceremony unveiling his addition to the Basel Hall of Fame.

Back off Bitches

Antoni Nadal is stepping out front once again and putting his nephew's health first.

The sage Uncle Toni Nadal tried to dampen expectations, speaking recently over Spanish radio as reported in Marca (google translation.)
“‘The important thing is to go slowly, see how it evolves and recover completely,’ said Toni, who confirmed that Nadal is still not 100%.”
“Asked about the possible pressure that his ward may have to recover the number 1 position he lost to Roger Federer, Toni said that ‘there is no such pressure. Rafa will return with the intention of going step by step, tournament by tournament and adding points.‘”
Toni also thanked fans for “The show of affection received by all. Watching the Davis Cup on television, we saw the signs encouraging Rafa in Marbella. He and I are very grateful for that.”

Thanks to the folks at GoToTennis for the information.

Meanwhile Toni's nephew is busy being twenty three during his injury time out. What young man his age wouldn't want to own a hog like the one in the picture?


The struggling Ana Ivanovic will head to LA the week before the tournament and work with her new coach, Darren Cahill, who has broadcasting duties at the men’s LA Open at UCLA….

Cahill, who lives in Las Vegas, is part of the Adidas coaching team. Will this be a one off or will he drop his other clients, including Sorana Cirstea, to work with Ana who needs massive doses of self confidence right about now?

Five Italian players suspended for gambling offenses by the ATP have filed suit against the mens tennis organization. Federico Luzzi, Giorgio Galimberti, Alessio DiMauro, Potito Starace and Daniele Bracciali have brought an action against the ATP.
Information about the filing can be found HERE. Thanks to @lynnlovestennis for bringing this to my attention.

Fourteen year old Madison Keys defeated Serena Williams in a World Team Tennis event the other night. The youngster has an IMG contract and is being managed by Maria Sharpova's agent. She's fourteen people. Shouldn't her parents be telling the powers that be to slow their roll? Once again I have two words for them - Donald Young.


Karen said...

Very good post Savannah. Good to see the WS getting some good press lately. I cannot wait for Grand Slam Tennis to hit my neck of the woods. I wonder what was happening to Serena why she lost both her matches in WTT. I also heard that Venus lost her matches as well. Too much tennis and not enough down time methinks. For my money I think Pete's comments are a bit of sour grapes. I think he is a bit miffed that Roger has surpassed his mark, and done it in a relatively quick time. I am sure that someone else will come along and break Roger's record in quick time as well. That is why they are there (records that is), they are meant to be broken. I thought it was quite disrespectful of him and his wife to be looking so completely bored during the men's match. A little bit of enthusiasm would have been nice. The fact that he turned up mid-match says it all. I dont particularly care when legends of the game seem to have little or no respect for the game, especially when they are faced with a newer and better model. When you look at the legends who attend for the women's matches, they always seat themselves early and are very enthusiastic about the play. Not hiding behind sunglasses and looking like they want to be anywhere apart from here. And to think that the 2 guys playing their hearts out hold Pete Sampras as one of their heroes. Whatever.

Savannah said...

I'm pretty sure Sampras was dragooned into coming "for the good of the tour" and didn't volunteer his person. If you read the transcript he says something about the flight to London.

I'm sure that someone decided it would be nice to have all these legends present at the match since it was felt Andy would play doormat to Roger.

It gets back to the GOAT argument. It's my opinion that you can be the greatest of your generation but not the greatest of all time. The technology changes too much from year to year let alone generation to generation. Some, me included, would argue that towards the end of his career all Sampras had was his serve and that his record was based on wins on only two surfaces, hard and grass. He hated clay and used to say so.

Sampras seems to have answered honestly and that is all he can do.

love40 said...

The truth is PURE. Federer is not the GOAT if he has a significant losing record against Nadal. Besides, Rafa's just entered his prime, maybe he might wind up as the greatest of his generation. Only time will tell.

Karen said...

I have never subscribed to the GOAT argument (except as to how tasty curried goat is in my neck of the woods). For the record I dont think that any one player can be classifed as GOAT. As you say, different racquets, etc. Whether Pete was dragooned or not into coming to Wimbledon etc., is to my mind not really relevant. What is relevant is that he spent most of the match hiding behind sunglasses and looking bored with his wife, and just looking as if he did not wish to be there. In addition, he has not returned to Wimbledon, the scene of most of his triumphs since he lost there in 2002. That says something about the guy's egos. I am sure that when Roger retires you will perhaps still see him at Wimbledon or at other tour events (if the baby(es) do not keep him away) as he has said how much he loves the game. I have always felt that there are 2 types of tennis players, those who play for the love of the game, and those who do it just because their families pushed them into it. I think Roger and Serena fall into the love of the game category, Pete and Venus fall into the pushed into it category, along with Sharapova and a host of others. I dont sense from a lot of players that they are in the game because they really and truly love the sport. Their passion on the court is just not there. I think that is something that pulls fans to the sport, when you see some athletes who put their all into evertyhing and who react emotionally (some would say with arrogance and lack of class) when they win or lose matches.

love40 said...

Savannah, thanks for the post. This is one of the few sites that respects the purity of the truth. (Plato)

oddman said...

Pete sure stirred up a few Fedfans with those comments. Hey, it's his opinion - so be it.

I think BOYE is better - best of your era - that GOAT. One just can't compare different eras.

Love the Harley. Love Uncle Toni. Can't wait for Rafa to come back and show off his special brand of tennis again. Win or lose.

sG said...

Dwight Howard is the yummy hotness.

As for Fed, it's done. It's over. He's got the title of GOAT as defined by the tennis media and fans. I agree with Savannah -- noone can be the greatest of all time because generation to generation knowledge and technology changes. Thought processes and techniques, once unavailable/unthinkable to previous players, progress. However, I'm more than willing to concede he is GOAT because it means they can stop obsessing over it. It's done. It's over, he's got it. Place it by his name in gold piping. Moving on.

Curried goat is delicious, it's a toss-up between that and lamb. Are you West Indian too, Karen? Well, I'm West Indian by way of my mother, a Trini.

Savannah said...

Place it by his name in gold piping. Moving on.
Let's not give the folks at Nike any ideas sG.

As for Dwight Howard what's that Lady GaGa says about a disco stick?

sG said...

Well, we all know how much he loves that gold piping... I assumed it was coming down the pike, the better to gird myself, LOL.

I don't know what Lady Gaga says about a disco stick... what I do know is while watching the Magic play the Cavs, I kept squealing about the broadness of his shoulders. The man is ridiculously broad, well proportioned... I'll stop before I paint this comment section a shade of purple, hahaha!

Savannah said...

Ha! Google the lyrics to "Love Game".