Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tennis Talk

by Savannah

It wasn't just the meth. It's not just the on court rages. And no it's not the hair piece. Can we forget the hair piece? Now it's admitting that he tanked his 1996 AO semifinal match to Michael Chang so that he wouldn't have to play Boris Becker.

My friend Lucio Lopez provided me with a side by side translation from the Spanish of Marcelo Rios 2004 statements. I like to put the original language in the translation since there are nuances that may not translate well into English. Lucio did this in between performing his regular life duties as a doctor. Thank you Lucio.

http://www.lanacion.com.ar/nota.asp?nota_id=562905
Está claro que el tenis mundial vive un momento de ebullición tras la salida a la luz de los casos de doping del argentino Mariano Puerta y del británico Greg Rusedski. Y más aún luego de las declaraciones de este último, que afirmó que "de los mejores 120 del ranking de la ATP, hay 43 con índices de nandrolona por encima de lo permitido".

It is clear that tennis is going through a boiling point after the doping cases of Argentine Mariano Puerta and British Greg Rusedski have seen the light. Even more so after the latter’s declarations, where he stated that “of the best 120 in the ATP ranking, there are 43 with levels of nandrolone above the permitted”.

Ahora, el chileno Marcelo Ríos alimentó la controversia. En declaraciones publicadas por el diario La Tercera, el Chino disparó contra la ATP. "Yo sé que si le detectan a (Andre) Agassi nandrolona, no lo van a decir. El es un tipo muy fuerte en el tenis y el tenis se vendría abajo si lo agarran con doping. La ATP no lo diría", acusó Ríos.

Now, the Chilean Marcelo Rios has fueled the controversy. En public declarations published by La Tercera newspaper, El Chino fired against the ATP, “I know that if they detect nandrolone in Agassi, they will not say it. He is a very strong person in tennis and tennis would devaluate if they match him with doping. The ATP would not tell.”, accused Rios.

El ex número 1 del mundo se refirió a ciertos "privilegios" que recibirían los tenistas más reconocidos. "Los sudamericanos lo hemos discutido bastante. Es un tema complicado. No tengo problemas en decirlo: siempre nos preguntamos quién te certifica que le hacen el control a Agassi o quién le hace el examen a Sampras...", afirmó Ríos.

The World ex –number referred to certain “privileges” that the more known tennis players would receive. “(We) The South Americans have discussed it a lot. It’s a complicated issue. I have no problems in saying it: we always wonder who certifies that Agassi is controlled or who performs the exam on Sampras…”, stated Rios.

Y contó una anécdota sobre un hecho muy llamativo que involucra directamente a Andre Agassi durante un torneo del circuito. "Hay un caso en Australia donde hubo un control y él (por Agassi) desapareció diciendo que al hijo lo iban a raptar".

And he told an anecdote about a very suspicious event that involves Andre Agassi directly during a tournament in the tour. “There’s a case in Australia where there was a control and him (Agassi) disappeared saying that they were going to kidnap his son.”

http://www.icarito.cl/medio/articulo/0,0,3308_5832_47763787,00.html
Ti, this article status the same things, I’m only translating the new stuff that appears.
El "Chino" profundizó aún más y recordó un hecho en especial: "Hay un caso que hubo en Australia (N de la R: en 2002), donde hubo un control y él (Agassi) desapareció, diciendo que al hijo lo iban a raptar... A mí me encantaría mandar a que le hicieran dóping y yo decir 'oye, yo quiero ver y certificar que se lo están haciendo'. Porque no sé quién manda, quién decide a quién se lo hacen".
(the bolded part is the Australia anecdote again, what follows after the bold is new):
“… I would love to have him tested and say “hey, I want to see and certify that he’s being tested”. Because I don’t know who’s in charge, who decides who is tested.”.

yo sé que si le pillan a Agassi nandrolona, no lo van a decir. El es un tipo muy fuerte en el tenis, y el tenis se vendría abajo si le pillan un dóping. El ATP no lo diría. Son organizaciones tan fuertes que Agassi sería un problema si sale positivo
(same MO, this one adds to the ATP keeping silent if Agassi were to be caught comment)
“…They are such strong organizations that Agassi would be a problem were he to test positive.”
(I assume that Rios refers to Andre as an organization)

En Pontevedra, Florida, donde está el cuartel general de la ATP, no reaccionaron muy agradados ante los dichos de Ríos, pero la respuesta fue más técnica que pasional: "Los procedimientos son muy básicos y están claramente especificados para todo el mundo en nuestra página web (www.atptennis.com) y se demuestra cuántas veces se le han hecho controles a los jugadores... Nosotros no tenemos favoritos y tampoco tenemos algo contra los sudamericanos", di-jo a La Tercera Greg Sharko, director de Comunicaciones de la ATP, quien además no cree que por estas declaraciones el "Chino" pueda recibir una sanción.

Más al oeste, en las oficinas de Agassi Enterprises, en Las Vegas, evitaron realizar cualquier comentario hasta que Perry Rogers, representante del tenista, regrese de un viaje de negocios en Los Angeles.

In Pontevedra, Florida, where the ATP headquarters lie, Rios’ comments did not sit very well, but the answer was more technical than passionate: “The procedures are very basic and are clearly specified for everyone a tour website (ATPtennis.com) and it shows how many times the players have been tested… We don’t have favorites and neither do we have anything against the South Americans.” said to La Tercera Greg Sharko, director of ATP Communications, who Besides doesn’t believe that “El Chino” could be sanctioned for his statements.

Further to the West, in the offices of Agassi Enterprises, in Las Vegas, they avoided any commentary until Perry Rogers, his manager, returns from a business trip in LA.

http://www.clarin.com/diario/2004/01/14/d-05204.htm
Nuestro deporte está a la cabeza en los controles antidóping", opinó el estadounidense Agassi. "El tenis está limpio", añadió su compatriota Roddick. Rusedski denunció días atrás que más de 40 jugadores controlados por la ATP dieron positivo por nandrolona, como él, e insinuó que este esteroide está ampliamente difundido en el circuito. Sin embargo, la Asociación dijo que 36 tenistas presentaron niveles elevados de la sustancia, pero que estaban debajo del nivel considerado dóping (dos nanogramos por mililitro). A las críticas del inglés se les sumaron las del chileno Marcelo Ríos, ex número uno del mundo. "Son organizaciones tan fuertes que Agassi sería un problema si sale positivo. La ATP no lo diría", declaró Ríos.

“Our sport is at the head in antidoping controls.” expressed the American Agassi. “Tennis is clean.” (present tense) , added his compatriot Roddick. Rusedski denounced in recent days that more than 40 players controlled by the ATP came back positive for nandrolone, as him, and insinuated that this steroid is spreaded amply in the tour. However, the Asociation said that 36 players presented high levels of this substance, but that they were below the level considered as doping (two nanograms per milimeter). Former world number one, Chilean Marcelo Rios, added to the British’s critiques. “They are such strong organizations that Agassi would be a problem were he to test positive. The ATP would not tell.”, declared Rios.


Then there are these comments by Nicolas Escude of France made in 2002. Emphasis mine.

Drug Testing Under Fire

Nicolas Escudé, along with several top French players, harshly criticized the ATP for its drug-testing program in interviews with Le Parisien, a French publication. Escudé was quoted as saying, ''To say tennis is clean, that's wishful thinking.'' Also criticizing the tour's chief executive, Mark Miles, Escudé added: ''They tell me there are files that can't be opened. What can they be, if not files on doping? If these files exploded, tennis would be in bad shape for six months. But it would be a bad thing for a good cause.''

ATP Tour officials defended themselves by citing the intense testing scrutiny the players are under. Last year, in ATP events alone, there were 542 in-competition tests and 50 out-of-competition screenings. The top 10 players were tested an average of 3.8 times each.

This year, the Tour has increased testing in competition by 20 percent and out of competition by 100 percent, David Higdon, a Tour spokesman, said.

The majors also conduct drug testing of players. In the past year, only one player, Argentina's Guillermo Coria, has violated the Tennis Anti-Doping Program. He tested positive for metabolites of nandrolone, which he said he unknowingly consumed while taking a contaminated nutritional supplement. But as rigid as the Tour's testing is, there is no screening process in place for EPO, a banned endurance booster.

''We're always looking for ways to stay ahead of the curve,'' Miles said.

Last month, the ATP switched from a United States-based testing company to a Swedish firm, in part because of its advanced blood-testing capabilities. Soon, the ATP hopes to incorporate an EPO test into its Tennis Anti-Doping Program.


In the same Tennis Notebook NY Times reporter Selena Roberts reports the following:

Juan Carlos Ferrero was concocting a devilish blend of drop shots and forehand winners in a cold drizzle when Andre Agassi ended the young Spaniard's assault with the crook of his finger.

Agassi motioned to the chair umpire, who summoned the French Open referee, Stefan Fransson, to the court. After a few words with Agassi, and a nod toward a baffled Ferrero, Fransson suspended the men's quarterfinal match around 7 p.m. even though play on the outside courts continued.

Call it the perks of superstardom and the trickle-down effect of star power. That's how the annoyed Spaniards saw it. Thirteen minutes into the resumption of play, after a five-hour rain delay that had halted the match in the sixth game of the first set, Agassi had lost two of the first three games.

Down by 6-3, 1-0 and with Ferrero locked in on his shots, it was to Agassi's advantage for his opponent to sleep on his hot start. Who knows if Ferrero can replicate the same flawlessness on Thursday?

Visibly upset after the match was suspended for the day, Ferrero said, ''I didn't say anything'' when Fransson came onto the court at Agassi's request. One person from Ferrero's camp added: ''Andre canceled the match. No one asked Juan Carlos.''

Although he could not explain why the juniors kept playing on the outside courts today, Fransson dismissed the notion that Agassi influenced his decision to end play on center court. ''I can't do much about the perception,'' he said.

Agassi did not stick around to discuss the matter. Wearing a ski cap on his head, but still in his tennis shorts, Agassi hustled out of the building 15 minutes after the match was suspended.

In his wake, there was anger. Not only did the decision to suspend Agassi's match disrupt the 22-year-old Ferrero's groove, it also meant that Alex Corretja's rain-delayed quarterfinal from Tuesday had no chance to be completed, either. If it was too dismal on center court for one match, it was too dismal for Corretja's.

''Yesterday, he played until 9:45 p.m., to when you couldn't see,'' said Corretja's coach, Javier Duarte. ''Tonight, it's early. Why now? I don't like it.''

Corretja wouldn't have needed much daylight to win his quarterfinal against Andrei Pavel. It would have been no contest. After Corretja left the court with a lead of 7-6 (5), 7-5, 4-5 on Tuesday night, Pavel left Paris today to be by his wife's side for the birth of their baby.

''I've been here all day,'' Corretja said. ''I've been waiting and now I don't know what to say.''

He'll have to wait for Thursday. So will Ferrero. Perhaps seeking a turn in momentum, hoping to ice Ferrero overnight, Agassi managed to end the day early with the crook of his finger.


Maybe this answers some of the questions about why no one is really rallying around Agassi. And this is just what is known publicly.

I'll end with Marat Safin's comment.

"How they will escape this situation -- this is the ATP's and Agassi's problem."

Miscellany

Despite being diagnosed with H1N1 Tommy Haas expects to play Bercy.

Serena Williams now holds the WTA 2009 earnings record. Her winnings totalled $6.5 million.

There are people trying to talk up an ATP version of Bali. My first response is no. So is my second.

I hope you enjoyed the pictures from Bali.

14 comments:

Karen said...

Whew, this makes for very interesting reading. My goodness girl you should be a journalist. Where do you get all this stuff? It is making my head spin. It is like where was all this information before?
Marion Bartoli is so beautiful when she is not playing tennis.
These excerpts are just too much. One of the things that I have noticed in the Adidas Player Development Programme is the high number of those athletes who are getting injured and whose bodies are now so bulked up it is not funny. When you look at all the athletes who have been to the "Bunny Rancy" out in Vegas, you have to wonder what it is that they are doing to those people out there. Look at Reyes with those man boobs. Verdasco, injured, CWoz injured, Sabine, injured. Almost everyone. They go there, get bulked up, get injured.

Karen said...

In addition why does every athlete think that they need to have bodies and muscles of steel in order to play tennis. Look at Federer. He looks wimpy as hell with that left stick arm and yet he has a very strong core and hits the ball as hard as anyone else on the Tour. Same thing with Sharapova. Rail thin, but hits the ball so hard and has so much core strength. Why?

Craig Hickman said...

Marion and Sabine are gorgeous in those photos.

Maru said...

here's the deal Savannah, I just don't get why people seem to think this is just a problem for Agassi, that it happened a long time ago and that it's not relevant or important now.
What's relevant and shocking to me it's not that an individual was doing drugs, it's that an organization like the ATP, who we suppose runs a SPORT condones (and by doing so, supports) this behavior.
So I'm actually impressed that the ATP is not getting more heat from this issue.

dearg said...

Sorry to keep on but really Bodo is the gift that keeps on giving!
http://tennisworld.typepad.com/tennisworld/2009/11/tk.html#comments

dearg said...

Peter is so slow, yes he can't be prosecuted that doesn't mean he's a good guy now, does it?! Or maybe that's OK in Vegas, or maybe Peter has gone all priestly and given him absolution!

Savannah said...

Maru it's not just Agassi's problem. It's the ATP's problem and that is why it's so disingenuous for a tennis writer to say that that discussion has to be put off for now. The game plan seems to be to focus on all the other stuff AA throws against the wall in that book so that people will "forget" that the ATP in effect allowed a player to dictate to it in terms of his failed drug test. That is not going to go away unless we fans allow it to.

As Marat says it's the ATP's and Agassi's problem now isn't it?

Savannah said...

Dearg that is one amazing piece of drivel isn't it?

Maru said...

obviously you only see the world in black and white, learn to be a good boy/girl and do as uncle Pete says and see the beauty of gray.
Agh! I hate people sometimes.

And well about Marat, I can't be objective about him, and he's too candid (hence the this is Agassi/ATP problem comment) but I didn't like the whole "you'll never see such confessions coming from me" thing. It sounded to me like players should be grateful about everything that tennis has given them and keep their mouths shot, I may being paranoid and reading too much into it, but I didn't like it.
I must be going against the rules of deeply fangirling by saying that but I tent to be candid myself =P

Savannah said...

Maru you raise a valid point that goes to all sports authorities not just the ATP.

From the time a youngster shows talent in a given sport everything is done to maximize that talent. It can include everything from making sure the young person has classes that make sure he or she will not have academic problems that preclude them from playing to covering up any and everything the young person does that could cause ineligibility or inability to play competitively.

As we know tennis is an individual sport and the young people leave school at an early age. Now they talk about "home schooling" but no one takes that seriously.

I think what Marat is saying is that the ATP has protected AA and that he owes some loyalty to it and should be grateful. He is echoing what others have said, that by coming "clean" he has hurt the ATP and professional tennis. He is not going to reveal any thing he's done because of that loyalty to the organization.

I'm not saying it's the right attitude but it is an athlete's attitude.

Maru said...

I know I'm too naive/idealist and I totally appreciate the idea of loyalty, it's not right to bite the hand that feeds you, so in that sense I understant where the players are coming from, I do, but if it was to human selfishness/interest were would we be? If we must stay quiet to injustice and wrong doing just because it doesn't affect us or it would hurt our interests where would be right now?
The so-called evolution that MrBodo talks about can't happen if players keep protecting the ATP wrong doings out of loyalty. I may be silly but I dont need the pity party that's going on about Andre, and how he must be judge by what he did on court and what he has done off court, I understand that he (and players in general) are as flawed and weak as any other person but this is not about an individual, this is about the wrong doing of an organization.
Someone might say the ATP needs to protect its business. I'm not saying that they aren't running a business but running a business doesn't necessarily means doing wrong things to guarante its survival.

Savannah said...

Most of the Europeans initial comments said that this was a major blow to the ATP and that by extension it hurt all the players.

I don't think anyone can argue against that.

And it's not naive to feel the way you do.

Maru said...

And by the way I don't think for a minute that what AA did was to help clean the sport, he had a book to sell or was trying to protect himself by telling his story before others told it for him. In that sense he was being selfish and not following
everyone else athlete loyalty mentality.
I meant to say like 3 posts ago that those are really beautiful pics, not the selling-sex kind of WTA pics.

Karen said...

Another excerpt from the Agassi book. You just cannot make this stuff up. I think I may actually watch 60 minutes this Sunday: http://sports.espn.go.com/espnmag/reillygofish
Here is another excerpt from the book