Saturday, May 30, 2009

Targeting Spaniards? (Updated)

Darren Cahill reported three times in the last 48 hours on ESPN that David Ferrer, Tommy Robredo, Fernando Verdasco and Rafael Nadal, were all awakened at their hotel rooms at 7:30 AM a few days ago for doping tests. According to Cahill, Robredo apparently had a match later that day and had his preparation disrupted. Toni Nadal was livid. Ferrer had gone to the bathroom five minutes before the call and had to wait in the lobby of the hotel for two hours until he had to pee again. Maybe that racquet smash had something to do with this.

Cahill said nothing about any other players still in the draw being awakened and tested. He made it seem as though only the Spaniards were targeted in this way.

Make of it what you will.

Oh, and make of this what you will, too.

UPDATE: Ferrer has spoken out. (From the comments. Thanks, oddman)

París, 29 May (EFE).- David Ferrer today joined Rafael Nadal in criticising the surprise antidoping tests, saying it is a dictatorship and the players can hardly do anything, that they scarcely have any privacy.

"In my personal case, they really messed me up because I played a five-set match against Keifer on Wednesday that ended at 9 pm. I finished being treated by my physio at 2 a.m. and at 7 in the morning they were knocking at my door to do an antidoping test," said Ferrer. "I think that is very badly done, because they could have done it as easily in the hotel or at the club. I got only five hours sleep and that really offended me: treating players like that, and even more so at such an important tournament as Roland Garros. It's not an excuse for why I lost today, but it was badly done," he added.

"It's ridiculous because we are subjected to 15 to 20 antidoping tests a year and it's your private life, your privacy, and I can't possibly know every day whether I'm going to be in Valencia, Xavea, Almusafes or Santa Rita, so it's a lottery in other words. It hardly seems possible that these things happen and you can't even have your own privacy... but it's up to them," he went on.

"It's senseless, I've already had two tests here, that one the other day and one right now, and what can I say, it's ridiculous. They don't get anything out of this, except more tension among the players. I don't think they're getting anywhere with this," said Ferrer, who doesn't see any solution to the matter, not even them organising a boycott.

"Let's just wait and see who's got what it takes to tell them he's not playing here. At the beginning of the year, 80% of the players complained, but there's not much we can do: "Put a pistol to their head?", and not playing is not an option, the tournaments are not to blame. They're the ones that ought to stop and speak to the players, because this is like a dictatorship," he said.

27 comments:

Karen said...

When I saw the article, or rather read the quote over at TW, the thought that crossed my mind was that Nadal is too trusting. How can someone test positive for cocaine from kissing a girl. I am one of the few fans out there who is in agreement with WADA regarding the anti-doping control measures. If you have to put up with a little inconvenience to keep your sport clean, then I say go for it. Spain has enacted legislation that prevents anti-doping officials from testing athletes during certain hours. This piece of legislation covers all athletes whether they are Spaniards or not. As long as you are an athlete and are in Spain, whether training etc. anti-doping officials cannot test you. In my view WADA may be upset with Spain for enacting this piece of legislation and as a result the Spaniards are feeling the brunt of WADA. That is not the way to go. I think there must be a meeting of the minds on this issue, because clearly there have been incidents where players have been caught doping, but their names have not been publicised. I recall after last year's USO that Jon Wertheim just mentioned in his article that one of the tests that is now being done is for human growth hormones. I dont know what the solution is to this problem, but I would tennis to remain a clean sport and if inconveniencing players gets the job done, then I am all for it. If someone else has a better idea, I am willing to hear it and perhaps agree with that view.

Craig Hickman said...

When you require players to check in with you to announce your whereabouts for a period of time every single day, you are no more free than a prisoner on parole.

The controls are far too intrusive.

If I have to choose between liberty and an "unclean" sport, I'll choose liberty every single time.

Graf_sampras said...

My view :


there is a larger context in which this "purifying the sport" is set.

it is really about "authorities" dictating what is "pure enough".

this is not about people everywhere generally having the moral or ethical human culture of wanting to see excellence achieved as "purely" as possible or as honestly as possible.

of course that is natural for people to want to see that, as an expression ideals.

however this kind of thing is a subset of a mentality most easily produced under the auspices of bodies of authority (regardless of what the general consensus is which they base their authority upon).

basically - it is the same as a country - such as the USA for example , so frightened of losing its "superpower status" that for the sake of the SECURITY of THAT status-- promoted as "safety of the homeland and the people and property"......


enacts spying on everyone, which leads to communities becoming suspicious of neighbors, leading to "everyone" being a potential "threat"...etc. etc. etc.

until one day -- the VERY REASON for having security:

"the freedoms" is gone forever.


in its own way THIS , in sports, for the sake of keeping the "sport pure and honest" - because some have been caught cheating - is a subset of that behavior which becomes a tyranny.

in the world -- one can not have "absolute security nore safety"

NOR can one have ABSOLUTE honesty or PURITY of "sports".

and to put in place a tyrannous system in order to "purge" the world of "evil things" (which of course depends on one's viewpoint in many ways or what one considers as threatening to ONE's own state which to OTHERS may be itself evil or threatening)

is like trying to go out of one's house everyday expecting that everything is ABSOLUTELY safe before one "lives".

that is STUPID and Cowardly, imo.

Nadal is correct.

in the end - it is left to the conscience of the player if they cheat.

but to "catch a thief" by trying to make EVERYONE a suspect

is craven and IN ITSELF evil.

politics is what it really is.

Did you know that in the original Olympics in ancient greece over 3,000 years ago ...

athletes behaved much the same way as they do today to have "glory?"

and that they would go to all kinds of efforts, training, try to get as much money support from patrons, contributors, family, etc...to devote their lives to the "gymnasium" ...and prepare yearly for the olympics - a mere one week ?

and that they would imbibe every known kind of drug or herbs or whatever the medicine people, or oracles gave them to "get an edge?"

NOTHING was "banned". none at all. it was simply considered part of the quest to find the "glory" -- that was why they also appealed to the gods -- to "get an edge".

Graf_sampras said...

THAT is in modern sports, after all, where OUR own figures of speech and expression - such as "god's gift to the world"

"the olympian hero of baseball"

"the GODS have SMILED upon roger federer"....

"the "godgiven strengths of rafael nadal"....

come from -- the quest for having an edge over competitors.

it doesn't necessarily mean it is GOOD nor BAD..

but THAT depends on the culture of an era.

but the point is:

in a world of drugs and addictions and MUCH OF IT, especially in SOME western nations, particularly the USA - which incidentally also holds MUCH of the DICTATING authority behind these institutions that lay down the "law and rules"...much of that is actually LEGALLY SANCTIONED industries such as the pharmaceutical industry, the tobacco industry, the licquour industry, etc...


Isn't it just a TAD HYPOCRITICAL to talk so much as "banning" substances in sports...while the culture around it PROMOTES

DRUGS and the "benefits" and "edge" they are supposed to give -- so long as they are under the auspices of government/private industry collaboration sanctioned by "laws?" ....

while proscribing the behavior of people, such as athletes taking drugs for enhancement - or say, sick people taking marijuana to alleviate pain?


the world is never perfect for people. people are not perfect. conditions are not perfect.

there is NO such things as ABSOLUTE SAFETY nor SECURITY -

and there is no such thing as a perfect system to ensure no one "cheats".....

and the only way against these things from becoming "respectable" is to continue to promote the Uncheating ideals anywhere - so that people will see what is the difference between HONESTY and CHEATING..and those that cheat will know they ARE cheats .



but trying to stop it by a tyrannous regime does nothing to improve the image of the sport..it only promotes the TYRANNY ITSELF.

that is the same as a nation, such as the USA, pretending to be a democracy and "free" - and in order to SECURE to as nearly absolute as possible its position in the world

goes abroad waging wars trying to slay "monsters and dragons" - mostly of ITS own making --

and then turns around to "ensure" security and safety by putting in place a "big brother in the sky" that knows where everyone is every minute of the day ...and puts in place a system that spies on everyone, and LITERALLY can "see" through one's OWN home's walls....

as a way to make "everyone feel safe".


in both sports and nationhood:


"the Nation the gives up its LIBERTIES - for the sake of SAFETY , no matter how temporary, deserves NEITHER Safety nor Liberty"

Benjamin Franklin.


be careful what you wish for.


EVEN animals in the wild KNOW there is NO such thing as absolute safety

and the same applies to sports...

there is no absolute "safety" FROM cheaters.

you catch them if possible. but you DON"T give up LIBERTIES for the sake of "catching" them. because that is when the "solution" BECOMES the problem in a far , far more dangerous way .

Graf_sampras said...

Craig Hickman said...

When you require players to check in with you to announce your whereabouts for a period of time every single day, you are no more free than a prisoner on parole.

The controls are far too intrusive.

If I have to choose between liberty and an "unclean" sport, I'll choose liberty every single time.

Fri May 29, 10:52:00 PM


==========

SPOKEN like a TRUE american and citizen of the world.

LIBERTY does NOT come with "absolute safety" or "security from threats".

to be FREE MEANS to ACCEPT that the world IS dangerous and that one can not live life thinking that everything "has" to be in place for the sake of one's sense of "safety" and "certainty".


at the very least -- that would be so BORING!

beware what you ask for.

Graf_sampras said...

GIVE ME LIBERTY or GIVE ME DEATH

as Thomas Paine said.

Graf_sampras said...

this is nothing more than the "authorities" USING cheating as the EXCUSE to impose a tighter and tighter tyranny on people.

it just so happens they are in sports...

but the TRULY dangerous context here is the IMPOSITION of TYRANNY by a few "authorities" empowering themselves by their positions --

over PEOPLE.

and when people at large TOLERATE this - they become , gradually, the ENABLERS of THEIR own eventual "domestication" by authorities

because the CULTURE will spread in which authorities can use ANY EXCUSE -- using FEAR --

in this case: "fear of cheating and sullying the sport's integrity"....

to impose what is REALLY their TRUE agenda:

TYRANNY - and to make the rules as THEY please over large swaths of the population.

and by THAT - remove the liberties of people...institution by institution....


because "WE SAID SO".

Graf_sampras said...

this may be "just sports"

but in reality -- because it is being imposed , installed in SPORTS in which the "ethics and morals of honesty" BECOMES A VERY EASY excuse and justification

to PERSUADE the general population about the "effectiveness and RIGHTNESS" of the IMPOSED METHOD of "securing" "honesty".......

it is in THIS manner that it is a VERY VERY DANGEROUS development. more dangerous than people realize who only think this is about "making sports and tennis honest".

If anything = this is of the same SPECIES of "reasoning" that ALL TYRANNIES in history have been imposed.

Graf_sampras said...

Karen -- you don't quite realize the import and repercussions of what you are saying:

For the sake of keeping the "sport clean" by catching the cheaters - it is ok to "inconvenience a few".


THAT is the kind of reasoning that LED to Nazi Germany.

"first they came for the gypsies"...

"then they came for the homosexuals...

"then they came for the foreigners and immigrants...

"then they came for the mentally ill and criminals...

"then they came for the jews....

and each time i said: I am not one of those anyway..it's for everyone ELSE's sake and I am a good german....

"then they came for me...and no one was left to say anything"

that is related in species of reasoning to

"it's OK to INCONVENIENCE ....a FEW (put in ....gypsies, criminals, homos, unpatriotics, threats, "terrorists who want to destroy OUR way of life".....etc..)....

because I'm not ONE of THEM".

Graf_sampras said...

for all you know, ONE DAY -- it might CATCH ROGER FEDERER!!


and we might find out HE -- all along, managed to have such a VERY ADVANCED drug program - virtually UNDECTABLE by ANYTHING known .....


would you like that ? if it came to it?

OR that he was CAUGHT but really was innocent and "inconvenienced?"

with all the repercussions?

oddman said...

'Ferrer se une a Nadal en las críticas contra los controles por sorpresa
EFE - 29/05/2009
http://www.elconfidencial.com/cache/200 ... presa.html

Ferrer joins Nadal in his criticism of surprise antidoping tests

París, 29 May (EFE).- David Ferrer today joined Rafael Nadal in criticising the surprise antidoping tests, saying it is a dictatorship and the players can hardly do anything, that they scarcely have any privacy.

"In my personal case, they really messed me up because I played a five-set match against Keifer on Wednesday that ended at 9 pm. I finished being treated by my physio at 2 a.m. and at 7 in the morning they were knocking at my door to do an antidoping test," said Ferrer. "I think that is very badly done, because they could have done it as easily in the hotel or at the club. I got only five hours sleep and that really offended me: treating players like that, and even more so at such an important tournament as Roland Garros. It's not an excuse for why I lost today, but it was badly done," he added.

"It's ridiculous because we are subjected to 15 to 20 antidoping tests a year and it's your private life, your privacy, and I can't possibly know every day whether I'm going to be in Valencia, Xavea, Almusafes or Santa Rita, so it's a lottery in other words. It hardly seems possible that these things happen and you can't even have your own privacy... but it's up to them," he went on.

"It's senseless, I've already had two tests here, that one the other day and one right now, and what can I say, it's ridiculous. They don't get anything out of this, except more tension among the players. I don't think they're getting anywhere with this," said Ferrer, who doesn't see any solution to the matter, not even them organising a boycott.

"Let's just wait and see who's got what it takes to tell them he's not playing here. At the beginning of the year, 80% of the players complained, but there's not much we can do: "Put a pistol to their head?", and not playing is not an option, the tournaments are not to blame. They're the ones that ought to stop and speak to the players, because this is like a dictatorship," he said.'

- copied from Vamos Brigade, translated.

Matthew said...

Psst, Graf_Sampras...

"Liberty or Death" was Patrick Henry, not Thomas Paine.

Graf_sampras said...

Matthew said...

Psst, Graf_Sampras...

"Liberty or Death" was Patrick Henry, not Thomas Paine.

Sat May 30, 12:26:00 AM

==========


THANK YOU for the Correction , Mathew

i am so fond of these quotes from history -- i now end up mixing up the associations.

Graf_sampras said...

oddman said...

'Ferrer se une a Nadal en las críticas contra los controles por sorpresa
EFE - 29/05/2009
http://www.elconfidencial.com/cache/200 ... presa.html

Ferrer joins Nadal in his criticism of surprise antidoping tests

París, 29 May (EFE).- David Ferrer today joined Rafael Nadal in criticising the surprise antidoping tests, saying it is a dictatorship and the players can hardly do anything, that they scarcely have any privacy.

=======

he says it for what it is -- a DICTATORSHIP.


and this is exactly how dictatorships arrive....

always on wings of "we are doing this for everyone's good...".

Craig Hickman said...

I'm so happy with David Ferrer's remarks. I'd never imagine he was so outspoken. And while he won't claim any excuse, such an interruption in his sleep and preparations, not to mention the stress that it attends, had to have at least contributed to his outrage at his loss to Robin Soderling.

b said...

I must say, I laughed at the kissing quote. Rafa should be careful - there are plenty in the upper reaches who might wish to retaliate against him.

To me this does sound like harassment and Karen I think your retaliation theory is likely correct.

Reasonable to me would be having to declare your whereabouts for 2-4 days each week (at least 2 nonconsecutive...

I've been wondering what happens if someone wishes to go camping or sailing - or any activity that puts them outside of regular civilisation....

sG said...

My personal view is the requirements are draconian and should be retooled. But leaving this aside, if what happened to the top flight Spaniards is retaliatory -- it does have those markings -- it marks one of the best reasons to retool the system. Under this context it is clear abuse of power -- the power to make mischief, to upset and/or harass a player or players someone up in WADA doesn't like for reasons other than doping. They have a problem with the Spanish law? Take it up with their parliament, that's why god made lawyers. Using rules meant to keep the sport clean to enact a grudge strikes me as a violation of the very ethics they are trying to impose. It's a dangerous precedent.

oddman said...

Excellent post, sG. Couldn't have said it better myself.

Craig Hickman said...

Spot on, sG, spot on.

Helen W said...

sG, who said God made lawyers???

sG said...

:small voice: I like lawyers. I wanted to be one.

LOL

Helen W said...

Not to worry, sG! I like to say that everyone loves to hate lawyers until they need one themselves, and then they want the best! As a rule I don't buy into the notion of disliking people according to their professions.

b said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
b said...

OOPS sorry - I thought I was posting on the Open Thread - just read and realised wrong conversation....

I'll repost in correct location

BIG SORRY

Veruca Salt said...

See what happens when a one governing body passes their responsibilty on to another governing body? The ITF is solely to blame for this debacle because they didn't want to put up the money to design their own anti-doping system.
WADA treats all olympic eligible athletes the same whether they are cyclists, skaters, or runners. They don't care about the tennis schedule or the feelings of the players.
If the ITF doesn't want a full fledged revolt on their hands, they need to buck up and get moving on creating their own drug policy that includes: regularly scheduled in competition and out of competition testing, reliable testing procedures, and a valid arbitration process.

Craig Hickman said...

Veruca Salt, you better say it again!

Steve said...

Two words: Operaction Puerto.

Spanish Police raided the offices of a Spanish gynecologist in 2006 and discovered more than 100 bags of blood, doping products and machinery needed to perform blood transfusions - plus a coded client list numbering more than 200 professional athletes. Authorities couldn't bring any charges as there were no laws against organized doping which led the Courts to declare that the seized items could not be used in an investigation or prosecution by any authority (think governing bodies like the ITF) in any country.

The doctor responsible for organizing and conducting the doping operation, Eufemiano Fuentes, later admitted that the athletes included cyclists, footballers and tennis players. After this rumors emerged as to who the 200 athletes were - most being professional cyclists - and while all denied involvement a handful have since come forward and confirmed the rumors as being accurate.

I agree with the sentiments expressed by others above, especially with regard to preserving the players liberties, just as agree I with the actions taken by Spanish authorities and courts (in so far as it upholds the rule of Spanish law), but it would be naive to think doping isn't occurring in tennis when the person responsible for its conduct states it is and all roads lead back to Spain - hence the focus on Spanish tennis players.

I just wish some semblance of journalism would take place and this matter be investigated more vigorously. The cycling press, governing bodies and even the Italian Government are desperately trying to discover who the cheats are (much to their own embarrassment) yet nothing from the tennis or football standpoint - although the latter isn't surprising given that the players rumored to be involved are from FC Barcelona and Real Madrid FC.