Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Agassi - The Fallout

by Savannah

From the BBC

The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) said it could not comment because it withdrew a doping case against him.
An ATP spokesman said it commented on the results of drugs tests only when a violation had occurred.

"Under the tennis anti-doping programme it is, and has always been, an independent panel that makes a decision on whether a doping violation has been found," he stated.

"The ATP has always followed this rule and no executive at the ATP has therefore had the authority or ability to decide the outcome of an anti-doping matter."

BBC Radio 5 live's tennis correspondent Jonathan Overend feels Agassi's legacy could be ruined by the revelations and will also damage tennis's reputation.
"This is sure to severely tarnish the reputation of one of the great champions," said Overend.
"I think it will have underlying implications for the sport in terms of the suspicion about some of the athletes and whether or not they are on drugs.

"The fact that Agassi lied and the authorities believed him has enormous repercussions. How many other cases may there have been like this?"

From ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti

Please find below a statement from ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti concerning the statements made by Andre Agassi:

“The ITF is surprised and disappointed by the remarks made by Andre Agassi in his biography admitting substance abuse in 1997. Such comments in no way reflect the fact that the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme is currently regarded as one of the most rigorous and comprehensive anti-doping programmes in sport. The events in question occurred before the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) was founded in 1999 and during the formative years of anti-doping in tennis when the programme was managed by individual governing bodies. The ITF first signed the WADA Code in 2004, and the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme undergoes constant review and improvement. In 2006, the ITF assumed responsibility for administration of the anti-doping programme on behalf of the ATP and then, in 2007, also on behalf of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. The ITF, Grand Slams, ATP and Sony Ericsson WTA Tour are now unified in their efforts to keep tennis free of drug use, and this should not be overshadowed by an incident that took place over 12 years ago. The statements by Mr. Agassi do, however, provide confirmation that a tough Anti-Doping Programme is needed.”


Following Andre Agassi's revelation that he was let off by the ATP after testing positive for crystal meth in 1997, WADA chief John Fahey says he expects the ATP "to shed light on this allegation"

So far nothing from the Grand Poobah's of American tennis journalism.


cp said...

I am sick and tired of these dopers getting away with it.
Agassi,Gasquet got it from kissing someone. Hingis and possibly Henin. It sucks. How many others are getting away with this?

Savannah said...

The first player I thought about when this broke yesterday was Guillermo Canas and the difference in the way he was treated compared to Greg Rusedski who had committed the same offense. Nothing happened to Rusedski but Canas career was stolen from him. Guillermo Coria fought and won but how much did that take out of him?

What is so galling about this is the cavalier attitude of the ATP towards the positive drug test. AA was allowed to write a letter that blamed everything on some mysterious aide named "Slim" who spiked his soda with meth. After that everything was swept under the carpet so to speak. No investigation was carried out, none.

Gasquet should be lighting candles to his patron saint that this came out after his "I kissed a girl" defense. No way he'd get away with that crap if this was known.

The thing is I don't think the ATP wants to have a serious look at that ATP era. I don't think a lot of things that went on would stand exposure to light.

And I wonder why the tennis media is focusing on the embargo being broken instead of the facts of the situation? How complicit are they in covering this, and other goings on, up? Why does it seem that every tennishead with a brain suspects Henin was on a drug suspension for example but not one of them has even looked in that direction?

There is a lot at stake here for the ATP.

cp said...

Roddick just defended Agassi on Twitter.

Savannah said...

Craig posted this on his blog.

I don't think Andy could say anything else. Anne Keothavong's comment was more intriguing.

Is Agassi's story really that surprising?

cp said...

Anne Keothavong's comment was more intriguing.

ahahaha it sure is!

Matt said...

Has a reporter ever asked Henin THAT question?? If not, would it be LEGAL to ask her about an alleged suspension??

Will be sooooo interesting to see if it emerges next year!!!!!!

Christian said...

I never knew there were any suspicions of drugs with Henin; I was just glad she was gone ;) Would anyone mind telling me more about it and AA's physical changes?

Savannah said...

Christian there were a lot of raised eyebrows when Justine retired the way she did and at the time she did. Some cynics felt that the cavalier way the WTA power structure treated her retirement also hinted at something more than "fatigue" was behind her leaving the sport. Despite Larry Scott's "don't let the door hit you on the way out" comment the hype machine went into overdrive and many fans kept their suspicions to themselves. She was gone 18 months.

I've been surprised at how many fans are openly saying that Henin served a drug suspension as if it was common knowledge. You're not hearing this from the tennis press - the Agassi situation confirms their role in keeping information away from fans not informing them - but when you read these comments on boards normally friendly to Henin it gives you pause.

As for physical changes in Agassi look at how round his face has become. :)

Christian said...

Thank you for answering Savannah!

Matt said...

On the topic of the WTA rankings.....

Savannah, do you remember the system from a few years back - quality points?

I recollect that players were awarded points based on the ranking of the player that they defeated.

I don't recall such ranking anomalies back then..... Perhaps they should revisit this system??

Savannah said...

Matt they got rid of quality points when the WS started beating everyone in sight. In view of what has happened the last few years I think a return to that system should be seriously considered. I don't know how that would affect Roadkill though.