Now that Andre Agassi has admitted his use of meth went on for "a year or so" the ball is now firmly back in the ATP's court. When all is said and done it is the ATP that has to explain why it accepted the now admitted lie of drinking the wrong glass of soda or whatever and allowed Agassi to avoid drug testing that caused other - dare I say lesser - players to lose their source of income.
I really don't care about the hair or his jealousy because his then wife was doing her job. I refuse to be sidetracked by bullshit. What I do care about is the information given by players while this was all going on. I care what Nicolas Escude and Marcelo Rios said. I care what the ATP didn't say or do. I care about titles that may have been won while a player was "under the influence". I care that the "tennis press" (an oxymoron at this point) seems to have been an active participant in the cover up.
In the final analysis the sport of tennis has been damaged not because of a hair piece. It's been damaged because fans now know that anti drug testing was done on every Spanish player at some ungodly hour of the morning. We know that Belgian players were recently hauled before the anti drug administrators for missing drug tests. We know about Guillermo Canas and Guillermo Coria. We know about Volandri. And heaven knows we know about Richard Gasquet kissing the wrong girl and Mariano Puerta ingesting his wife's meds. And now we know that TPTB may have actively participated in covering up drug use by a man who was at that time one of it's star players. It was a secret only to the fans since players knew what was going on and spoke about it. Because the allegations were in the foreign press the US press could ignore it.
The last thing the ATP wants is for a completely independent look at just what was going on in men's tennis, specifically United States tennis, at that time. Who are the seven players who had positive tests that were ignored? At this time the only two players I'm willing to give a pass to are Pete Sampras and Michael Chang. Everyone else, Borg, Agassi, John McEnroe, is fair game.
The WTA YEC
It's been a strange week. The White Group, which consisted of "the future of women's tennis" has shown that they are really not ready for prime time. Between the tears, playacting, inability to handle the heat of the desert not to mention "fractured" backs that became "unfractured" and you have a soap opera. Meanwhile the "old biddies" of the Maroon Group seem to be doing just fine, nagging injuries and all. Almost all of the women in the Maroon group are pushing thirty and yet we've seen better tennis from them. If the future of women's tennis consists of drama taking the place physical and mental toughness we're in the deep end of the pool kiddies.
Anil John posted the following in the online edition of the Gulf Times.
Dinara Safina may be missing out on a large fan base because many in this part of the world are unaware she is a Muslim or simply don’t care. Both attitudes are based on some serious fault lines.
Now, I know all about keeping religion away from sport and that sports stars should be appreciated for what they do on the court and not on the basis of what faith they belong to. But in Safina’s case I don’t mind sticking my head out and ask some tough questions.
The lack of adulation for Safina is strange and incomprehensible for the simple reason that the Muslim world is so desperately short of women role models.
When Moroccan male tennis players such as Younes el-Aynaoui – a winner in Doha – and Hicham Arazi were regulars at the Qatar Open, fans packed the stands to cheer their every shot. But when Safina plays there’s hardly a ripple of excitement. It’s a question that demands serious answers. Is this because Safina is a woman, one is tempted to ask.
I find this a very odd time for an article like this to appear regarding Dinara Safina and tangentially her brother Marat Safin. With all the other pressure on Dinara right now does she really need a controversial issue like this on her shoulders? It's never really been a secret, their profiles on Wiki clearly state their religion, so my question is why now?
Anne Keothavong gets my "Heroine of the Week" award for asking why everyone is so surprised about Agassi. Once again those pesky foreigners seem to be much more informed than those of us on this side of the Atlantic.
There are actually three men's events taking place this week in Lyon, Wien, and St Petersburg. The results have been interesting to say the least. Add Horatio Zeballos to the top fifty after his performance this week after his breakthrough performance in St Petersburg.
Cara Black and Liezel Huber have secured the number one ranking in women's doubles for the third consecutive year. Congratulations ladies!