Monday, June 9, 2014

Off The Ball

The Irish sports radio show Off The Ball talked tennis tonight, including some discussion about the anti-doping program.

Part 1: Listen starting at 53:15.

Part 2: The first 3 minutes.

155 comments:

  1. Hey THASP you got honorable mention there. That should increase readership. If I heard correctly the fellow on the phone was Luke Jensen who was a doubles player. I don't know anything about him except what I just read on the ATP site but if he thinks Nadal is clean his opinion doesn't mean that much to me. Of course a former pro is going to defend the players, without any hard proof. But the way he went on and on about how Nadal is such a warrior. Was he even listening to what he was saying? I'm sure considering Nadal's career and incredible record at Roland Garros, Jensen is just in awe of him. Just like all the comms, journalists and fangirls.

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    2. no actually I don't. I'm not American and he's a little before my time. But why am I even bothering to answer such a moron? Go away! Are you Boreman by any chance?

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  2. Don't forget the omerta factor. Remember how former players who dared to talk honestly about doping in tennis have been trashed by their peers... The only insiders that may talk will be the those who don't want to work in tennis world any more. Nicolas Escudé for instance had to apologize for what he said, though he only said the truth as we discovered some time later...

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  3. Ask a dope smoker or self-described 'party animal', a dumb question and you get a dumb reply.

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    1. Are you talking about Jensen? Is that his reputation? I know nothing about him. Never even heard of him before.

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  4. It is extremely unlikely that a tour insider will speak out. Why? If they are not a doper themselves then they are essentially basing their views on speculation (however well-informed), suspicion and talk - much as we are here. The dopers are unlikely to declare themselves to other players. The only authoritative source of doping on the tour is someone who has actually doped (like Tyler or Landis in cycling) who decides to talk (to make a deal) or someone linked to a high profile doper as part of their support team. Since they are not in the firing line I wouldn't bet on them blowing the whistle.

    As for commentators like Jensen and co - they are simply part of the PR network of pro tennis. Whatever they think privately it's not going to be in their interest to say publicly.

    Conclusion: nothing will happen unless detection and testing improve.

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    1. x-players who are still in the business (i.e commentators) will not talk. The money still beats working as a club pro.
      Your average sports writer cannot risk losing the job either.
      Someone with solid proof and deep pockets will have to step up.

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  5. Why couldn't some prominent non-dopers (Federer, etc.) simply start paying for their own voluntary testing before and after key matches? Other clean players could join in as a way to prove that they're clean, and this sort of public action might force the dopers into at least talking about the issue, if only to explain why they don't join in. Another advantage is that this tactic wouldn't violate omerta - no overt accusations are being made (though the meaning is clear).

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    1. We don't know for sure that Federer is clean or was clean through his dominant period, even though his performance curve seems to indicate that he is going through a natural decline, and his game never was as punishing as Nadal's. I'd like to believe so, but I can't be 100% sure.

      And even though Federer may be clean, he is still heavily tied to the corporate business magnet that professional tennis now is. Maybe it isn't in his best interests to voluntary get tested as an example for everyone to follow.

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    2. Both Federer and Nadal are part of the Nike franchise (as are Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova). I doubt Federer will ever be able to make waves as long as that relationship exists.

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  7. Can someone ban jeff afe please? He is clearly diverting the attention from Nadal's spectacular wins.

    Has anyone seen this? http://www.tennis.com/pro-game/2014/06/nadals-quick-shift-from-french-open-to-wimbledon/51715/#.U5faZPmSyQA

    From the article:

    ''I want to try to play well again in Wimbledon,'' the No. 1-ranked Nadal declared Sunday night after beating No. 2 Novak Djokovic 3-6, 7-5, 6-2, 6-4 in the French Open final to improve to 66-1 at the clay-court tournament. ''I'm healthy. That's the most important thing, I feel.''

    Also:

    Home Pro Game News
    Rafa looks ahead to Wimbledon after Roland Garros title
    MONDAY, JUNE 09, 2014 /BY AP
    TAGS:2014 French OpenRafael NadalPrint

    AP Photo
    AP Photo
    PARIS (AP) -- His ninth French Open title behind him, Rafael Nadal already is thinking ahead to what's next: Wimbledon.

    That's why he planned to waste no time and go directly from France to Germany on Monday to get ready to play in a grass-court tuneup tournament.

    Nadal's collection of 14 Grand Slam titles, only three shy of Roger Federer's record for men, includes two championships at the All England Club. But the most recent came in 2010, and Nadal's past two trips to Wimbledon were quite brief: He lost in the second round in 2012, and the first round in 2013.

    ''I want to try to play well again in Wimbledon,'' the No. 1-ranked Nadal declared Sunday night after beating No. 2 Novak Djokovic 3-6, 7-5, 6-2, 6-4 in the French Open final to improve to 66-1 at the clay-court tournament. ''I'm healthy. That's the most important thing, I feel.''

    The big question about Nadal always was longevity, and whether his 6-foot-1 (1.85-meter), 188-pound (85-kilogram) body would hold up to the constant pounding from his relentless style.

    Well, now he is the only man with at least one Grand Slam title in 10 consecutive years. And having turned 28 last week, the Spaniard is roughly two months older than Federer was when he got his 14th major.

    But Nadal was slowed by a bad back during a loss in January's Australian Open final. Of more concern: his knees. He decided not to defend his Wimbledon title in 2009, then was sidelined for the last half of 2012 because of a problem with his left knee.

    ''I hope my knee will have the positive feeling on grass, because I feel my knee (is) better than last year in the rest of the surfaces,'' Nadal said. ''Grass always was a little bit harder for me after the injury.''

    This, to me is ominous. No. 15 beckons on the grass.

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    1. I will speculate that Nadal's goal is to hit 18 slams and retire immediately.
      15 Wimbledon 2014
      16 FO 2015
      17 AO 2016
      18 FO 2016 and DONE
      If he gets to 18 just by winning FOs, it will be 13 FOs for him which would look ridiculous to the most ignorant observer out there.

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    2. He is probably in a rush to beat Feder's total before getting caught. Imo, he will hit 18 slams end 2015 already. He and his team will then have all the inter season time to make up a career ending injury and retired definitely as the GOAT just before the AO 2016.

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    3. But of course if by some divine miracle Federer wins one or more other slam in the meantime, you can be absolutely sure that Nadal will delay his retirement

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    4. I doubt Nadal has retirement on his mind at this time. He seems to have the desire to be the best of the best by a long distance. 22-25 slams is probably his target.

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    5. all this talk about Nadals retirement is pointless

      with help of PRP therapy alone he can go for 5 years easy (with few mounts breaks here and there as usual )

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  10. In my opinion, Cristiano Ronaldo is for soccer what Nadal is for tennis. The Portuguese is an extraordinary athlete who overpowers his opponents on the field, has incredible stamina, and so on. My question is: is he the only guy in soccer who dopes?

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    1. Unfortunately or not, your seemingly rhetorical question makes no sense at all, I'm afraid. "In my opinion", that is.

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    2. I haven't watched the sport in a while, but there is nothing "overpowering" about CR9. At all.

      Potentially on HGH or EPO or the like.

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    3. FIFA is FAR more corrupt than the ITF.

      The Spanish national team has team doping doctors, as does Barcelona, Real, and many others.

      Football doesn't follow the WADA code, tennis does.

      Fuentes said "If I talk, Espana would have to return the World cup, and European cup"

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    4. Melchekzanikhar, you're right - what I wrote is obviously confusing. My point is that both Nadal and Ronaldo are born great athletes. And assuming that it is not just Ronaldo among football players who dopes, but still Cristiano being faster, stronger, etc., then what makes you Fed fans think that all of Nadal's success is based just on doping? It is simple for me - they all dope (big guns in tennis and football), however, guys like Ronaldo and Rafa still stand out.........

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    5. Well, it's not that simple to me as it is for you, Georgi, - I mean that 'they all dope' (big guns or little). To have it that simple, I'd have to turn off my observation mode, and turn on my worldly-wise one, you see. But I agree, though, about Ronaldo and Rafa standing out. Cheers.

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    6. I don't think that CR is so unbelievable, that doping is very likely. He is fast. So what?

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    7. Ilchev Georgi, all the big guns in cycling were doping too but Armstrong stood out in a very big way. According to your logic its because he was an amazing athlete,right? This is the usual excuse the worst cheaters in the history of sport use.

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  11. And for the guy who mocked me for insinuating that Nadal isn't more powerful than Murray: you didn't refute shit, brother. Nadal may have power, but it isn't anywhere close to Murray's. Look at Murray's LEGS. His frame. It's like comparing a Cruiserweight to a Light Heavyweight.

    Murray getting bullied around by Nadal doesn't mean he was overpowered. He was tired, couldn't hit the ball with authority and Nadal's spin was disgusting. Angles and so forth.

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    1. Hey, why would anyone want to mock YOU?!

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    2. And for the guy who mocked me for insinuating that Nadal isn't more powerful than Murray: you didn't refute shit
      -

      From one of Nadal’s doctors who has been accused of doping footballers:

      The main accusations concerning doping fall on the Spanish doctor Julio Tous Fajardo, trainer of Juventus and the famous Spanish tennis player Rafa Nadal. Suspicion of doping starts to emerge since when the first allegations of doping for the same Nadal . Julio Tous Fajardo, linked to the tennis player who he has occupied several times, said:

      "Rafael Nadal is an extraordinary athlete. Rafa is simply TWO times more powerful than any soccer player, let alone tennis. "

      http://it.ibtimes.com/articles/36616/20121002/doping-juventus-julio-tous-fajardo-fuentes-nadal-spagna.htm#ixzz34QdkfAeZ

      http://calcio.attualissimo.it/julio-tous-fajardo-doping-juventus/

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    3. I'm not familiar with that doctor. How long has he been working with Nadal again and how close is he to him? I'm surprised that someone on Nadal's team would be so brash and proclaim Nadal were "twice as strong" as other players. Saying something like that is basically admitting the guy is juicing.

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    4. I did find this about him though it doesn't state how long: http://www.novaelitesports.com/en/novaelite-staff-curriculum-julio-tous-fajardo.html

      Seems he's also worked with Moya and Kuznetsova.

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    5. "Rafa is simply TWO times more powerful than any soccer player"

      John Mensah.

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  12. Nadal beaten easily in straight sets by a nobody at the first round of Halle. But guess who will be a totally different player two weeks from now in Wimbledon?
    This juicing phoenix is really one of a kind

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    1. The tournament director looked like he wanted to shoot Nadal for that performance. Nadal signed a three year contract in Halle and lost his 2nd match (the QF) in 2012, pulled out last year and now has lost his first match this year. All the while collecting his fee from the tournament. What a joke this guy is. Such a poor example of how a sportsman should behave. He doesn't even pretend he cares.

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    2. Like clockwork! Nadal is just amazing isn't he?

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    3. History just keeps repeating itself with Nadal. Wonder when the next career threatening injury followed by another miracle comeback will occur.

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  14. Halle: Dustin "Dreddy" Brown breadsticks Rafael Nadal 6-4 6-1 LoL

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  15. A lot of people here don't think Murray is doping but I have to say, an early round loss by both he and Nadal this week looks suspicious to me. They are both eyeing that Wimbledon crown.

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    1. Well I don't know about Murray. His explosion in size was suspicious but I think you can do the same with supplements that are legal; and his performances haven't been amazing of late for a player who dopes. For me, he is similar to Djokovic, someone who perhaps doped (I think Djokovic in 2011 was more suspicious) but has toned down or stopped.

      But you may be on to something. Wimbledon is a big deal for Murray, and he performed particularly well last year. I do hope he ends up in the same half as Nadal because that would be particularly interesting.

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    2. I think Djokovic is still suspicious, but Murray, less so.

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    3. It's interesting to note that all four FO semi-finalists are now either out of their respective tourneys or on the beach in Ibiza as in Djoke's case. So probably we can attribute the early exits in some cases to genuine fatigue and poor ATP scheduling as much as anything.

      Re. Djokovic - although 2011 stands out, lets not forget 2013 Aussie Open where he endured the marathon 4th round Wawrinka match (3rd longest in Aussie Open history) and then went on to sweep past 3 top ten players (Berdych, Ferrer & Murray) to claim the title as if it were the first week. So if he has toned down its only recently.

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    4. Nadal never gets tired.

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    5. Whatever Murray and Djokovic may take or have taken in the past, they will obviously never ever be on the same league as Nadal.
      And as usual with him in slams, his draw will be softer than his main opponents. It means he will probably have Wawrinka and Ferrer in his half when Djokovic will get Federer and Murray.

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    6. There's been very little mention of this, but Djokovic threw up on the court during the French Open final. Whether it was heat, food poisoning, or nerves, I don't see how anyone can accurately judge his doping status based on that match. He clearly wasn't firing on all cylinders. (Even Nadal looked a little off, particularly when he blew that 4-2 lead in the second set.) True, Djokovic also lost to Wawrinka at Australia, but a number of commenters on this site thought Wawrinka was juicing big time for that one. I think it's reasonable to assume Djokovic has cut back since 2011, but it's still exceedingly rare to see him looking downright tired. I think the French final was just an anomaly.

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    7. "There's been very little mention of this, but Djokovic threw up on the court during the French Open final. Whether it was heat, food poisoning, or nerves, I don't see how anyone can accurately judge his doping status based on that match. He clearly wasn't firing on all cylinders."

      I only saw the last set of the French Open final, but there were already rumors that Djokovic was ill after his semifinal match. Looks like those rumors were true...

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    8. I think Djokovic was just as doped as Nadal was around 2011-2012. How else did he outlast him so often?

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    9. Murray outlasted Djokovic in the USO final 2012 and beat him easily in straight sets in the Wimbledon final 2013. Does it prove anything against Murray? I don't think so, then why each victory of the Djoker against Nadal must be suspect?
      He is obviously more talented than Nadal, as Murray is, so imo its when Nadal wins against those guys that we should be suspicious.

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    10. Murray has been very suspicious IMO as well, but unlike Nadal, Murray seems to juice up only specific tourneys. Nadal does it throughout the year with emphasis on clay court season without fail otherwise he would lose #1 ranking. And Murray's back problems seem legit unlike Nadoosh back complaints.

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    11. The word "talent" is often thrown around, but I'm never quite sure how that is being defined. Here's how I'd characterize Nadal, Djokovic, and Murray:

      All three are very fast and defend extremely well. Djokovic and Murray return better than Nadal. All of them serve effectively but not brilliantly, with Nadal's being the weakest in terms of outright speed (though the lefty slice out wide has its advantages). I'd give Nadal a slight edge over Djokovic on volleys and overheads, with Murray perhaps in the middle. All of them can hit a mean drop shot and a decent slice backhand. Djokovic has a definite edge in flexibility. Nadal seems to have a significant edge over the other two when it comes to mental focus.

      The main difference with Nadal is that he generates his power on groundstrokes through arm strength and by torquing the trunk of his body. His legs don't come into play nearly as much as with most other players (during the actual stroke), so he's not able to hit as many easy winners from behind the baseline, and his shots have a tendency to land short when he's not playing with confidence. The extreme spin he generates, however, does give him more margin on his shots and also helps draw errors from his opponents (particularly those with one-handed backhands). His extreme conditioning and fitness (obtained through whatever means) allows him to stay in points even when his shots are not penetrating, but if his opponent is on and going for broke, he's vulnerable. This happens frequently against Djokovic.

      Several of Nadal's strengths could be a direct result of PEDs, particularly his defending and the RPMs he gets on his forehand. Perhaps even his mental focus (as someone who plays, I know how hard it is to think when you're tired). Still, I'm not sure I agree that he lacks talent. Maybe I'm making too fine a point, but it seems like he's actually got quite a lot of talent, it's just that his game has developed around his physicality (again, obtained through whatever means). If he had learned to hit more conventional groundstrokes, he might have been successful without such a bulked up left arm and the endless energy reserves.

      Ultimately, that question will have to remain unanswered. As to how he became so much fitter than everyone else, hopefully we'll find that out someday.

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    12. There are so many questions concerning Nadal which can be answer by the same explanation. His mostly much easier draws at slams are even more worrying since it implies worst than the usual passive complicity of the ITF in favor of Nadal..

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    13. > His mostly much easier draws at slams...

      That claim could use some backing up. Nadal did have a pretty easy draw at the French this year, though part of that was do to Murray just not showing up (probably because he played too many long matches leading up to Nadal). Otherwise, I just don't see it:

      French Open 2013: Nadal and Djokovic were in the same half as each other. Murray didn't play. Federer and Ferrer were in the same half.

      Wimbledon 2013: Nadal was in the same half as Murray and Federer. Djokovic was in the same half as Ferrer and Del Potro.

      US Open 2013: Nadal was in the same half as Federer, Ferrer, and Gasquet. Djokovic was in the same half as Murray, Del Potro, and Berdych.

      Australian Open 2014: Nadal was in the same half as Murray and Federer. Djokovic was in the same half as Ferrer and Berdych (and Wawrinka, of course, but he was only the 8th seed).

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    14. I guess we all go with the traditional definition of talent; most of which has to do with aesthetics of stroke play. I do believe there is correlation to talent and the physicality required ( a negative one) but hey its a very subjective thing.

      I did forget the Australian Open 2013, but the performances before that in 2012 and after it since then have been quite a let down for Djokovic's standards that I just don't think he dopes as much as, or as efficiently as he used to before the AO 2012.

      As for Murray, my opinion is reserved. More suspicious than say a Federer, but I'm not entirely as convinced.

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    15. @DanM I think you proved Julien B.' s point. Nadal always wants Federer in his half, especially in 2013 when Federer was playing with a bad back all season. In 3 of those 4 slams he got Federer. And at the USO: Federer (injured), Ferrer and Gasquet? LOL. Nadal is 12-0 against Gasquet. Face it, the guy constantly gets cakewalks.

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    16. @Lopi, If Federer were in Djokovic's half, you'd still say it was unfair, because the three players have a rock-paper-scissors arrangement (Nadal is rock, Djokovic is paper, Federer is scissors). Also, even though Nadal has been consistently beating Federer for a while, I don't he considers him a "cakewalk". Also, Nadal was in the same half as Murray twice, Djokovic was only in the same half as Murray once. Besides the French this year, Murray is one of the toughest opponents for Nadal. I just don't see anything systematic here.

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    17. DanM, at this year's Wimbledon the toughest possible half will be with Federer and Murray in it, do you agree with it?
      Well I can't be sure of course but I wouldn't be surprised the least that this half will be for Djokovic when Nadal will have to face the likes of Wawrinka and Ferrer. And with the possible exception of the AO which is the least prestigious of the slams, Djokovic have almost always the toughest half considering the players form of the moment'.

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    18. @Julien B., I believe there's only a 50% chance Federer and Murray would even be in the same half of the draw, so this requires a big "we'll see". The only thing we know for sure is that Djokovic and Nadal will be in opposite halves and that Wawrinka and Federer will be in opposite halves. Also, are we talking about the same Wawrinka who beat Nadal, Djokovic, and Berdych in the same tournament? Is he now easy pickings because his only clay court achievement this year was winning the Monte Carlo masters?

      Bottom line, I'm still waiting for some kind evidence that Nadal is getting consistently easier draws than Djokovic.

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    20. Wimbledon has its own seedings system based partly on grass performance over last 2 seasons. Murray will be bumped up to 3rd seed with Fed at 4, so Murray and Fed can't be on same half of draw.

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    21. Personally I don't think the draws have anything to do with rigging of tournaments. They all even out over time. Stan won his Slam in fair fashion. If you beat Djokovich, Berdych, and Nadal in consecutive matches then you deserve to win more than most deserve to win slams. He did more than Nadal did to win the French, that's for sure. I look forward to the USO, I hope Wawrinka and Djok are in the same half off the draw. A!: I would not bet against Stan winning.

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    22. "Murray outlasted Djokovic in the USO final 2012 and beat him easily in straight sets in the Wimbledon final 2013."

      The first one had nothing to do with stamina but with ability to play off pace and the second one OBVIOUSLY has nothing to do with stamina.

      Djokovic genuinely outlasted Nadal at Miami 2011 and AO 2012 with sheer physicality.

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    23. @Northwestcircus, good point about Wimbledon draws not strictly following the rankings. I forgot about that. Anyway, you'd think they'd actually bump Nadal down a couple slots due to his dismal results in '12 and '13.

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    24. I think Nadal drops to second seed.

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    25. "The first one had nothing to do with stamina but with ability to play off pace" Its your point of view, as usual with you against Djokovic against whom you are obviously very biased. To affirm that a match which lasted so long has NOTHING to do with stamina as you pretend doesn't make any sens imo.

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    1. Hey, Boreman, long time no read! Although, I might be wrong (about the length of time, that is), seeing some other new names lately, sporting the same 'style', i.e., mentality.
      Be as it may, your new nickname, albeit a stupid giveaway, is a downright killer. Such creativity!

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  18. You guys seen this opinion on whether Nadal dopes?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Eps8Lx1ki4

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    1. I've seen it and wondered if it was someone posting on here. He seems to know some facts.

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    2. Here's another: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qVwrr3g44XY As always, Nadal's name comes up, even with Djokovic etc around. There is no doubt that he is the face of possible doping in tennis.

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    3. I just love that guys sarcasm.

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    4. "It can turn a donkey into a racehorse"

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    6. Yes. And in some cases, dope extends beyond donkeys to groundhogs.

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    7. don't you mean capybaras?

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  20. http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2013/may/10/spanish-doping-doctor-reveal-sports

    Eufemiano Fuentes will sell sordid details of cheating in high-level football, athletics and the Olympics to highest bidder

    Did he reveal anything or did the highest bidder ask him to keep quiet ?

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  21. Good discussion on Djoko above. Personally I think that post 2012 AO he has not been on the juice nearly as much. And this tournament may have been a 'hangover' from the previous year. At the 2013 AO he was playing without tiredness, he thrashed Ferrer and as I remember, had to answer serious questions about his recovery, even being forced to state that he did what was 'legal' in order to recover. This was when the Armstrong saga was at its height.

    Still, if Djoko was at his doped up peak, would he have had to have gone to 5 sets against Stan? Only father Zeus knows. He did, he won the tourney, the rest is history.

    One thing is for sure. He beat Stan hat day. He beat him at the USO 2013 in 5 sets! And he lost in 5 at the AO 2014.

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    1. Yes his answers were quite rubbish though - referring to ice baths et al. I do have a question though and I wonder if someone will be able to answer this.

      Hypothetically, imagine Djokovic at the peak of his doping powers at the 2012 AO. If he did cut back on the juicing after that, wouldn't the physical advantage he gained previously by doping still serve him in good stead for a while? He should still be at an advantage in comparison to someone like Wawrinka, who definitely does not move as well as a match gets longer and more physical.

      Or would the fact that he is not on the juice be so detrimental to his performance that there is no way he could produce the sort of performance he did at the AO 2013.

      For the record, I do think AO 2013 vs Wawrinka was the superior match to AO 2012 vs Nadal because of the superior shotmaking. And I have zero doubt in the fact that the match against Nadal would have been considerably more tiring because of two factors:

      1. The defense of Nadal forces you to run more, play more aggressively. With Wawrinka, ending points is easier and you can use his pace to defend, although you wont get to more balls.

      2. Nadal's weight of shot requires a lot more strength to counter.

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  22. http://www.tennis.com/pro-game/2014/06/dimitrov-upsets-top-seeded-wawrinka-at-queens/51761/#.U5xmnhbF_wI

    Seems Dimitrov has entered in the juice market.

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    1. Yes because physical fitness is literally the ONLY factor in tennis. He also never ever had such a performance against a top player. (Nadal multiple times, beat Djokovic) /sarcasm off

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    2. Given that Wawrinka has not been setting the world on fire of late, and isn't a physical player, and that grass can be a crapshoot, I don't see how Dimitrov's win shows he is on the juice. Unless you can point out specific instances in the match that look suspicious.

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    3. It looks like Dimitrov is putting in lot of work to improve his physical conditioning and take his game to the next level. He has no other choice.

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    4. I have to say that was an enjoyable final. Lopez is one of few players left with serve/volley style. And the shotmaking was quality tennis. It was nice to see a final where running around endlessly on court from any position hitting unbelievable shots was not a factor in winning. U could see Lopez pacing himself & using breathing techniques to conserve energy. Dimitrov didn't look suspect to me in this match. Not saying he or feliciano have never doped, but this match looked like natural grass court tennis.

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    5. I was referring to the picture in that article - showing a fitter Dimitrov - not the Wawrinka beatdown. xD

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  23. Well well well, Federer wins a 7th Halle tittle, and surprise surprise, no comments in the blog??

    I think it is worth a little note at least (Dimitrov, mentioned above after Queens is only 10 years younger that Fed!!).

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    1. Well, if Federer wins a title bigger than Halle beating opponents of a bigger standing, sure why not? I asked the question on this forum when Federer won his 7th Wimbledon because it seemed like an unlikely result.

      However, his case does not seem as dubious as Nadal's or 2011 Djokovic. I don't think he is above suspicion because it is wholly possible that he doped during his dominant years and toned down/stopped for whatever personal reason, but examine the facts side by side and tell me if you think Federer is on the same level in terms of suspicion.

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  24. Not that I have anything against the maestro, who is indeed a very talented player, but as a Nadal fan, I find it a bit annoying that Fed escapes from any suspicion so to celebrate the win at 32, I have done a bit of research...

    I was particularly surprised when in the year of super Novak, this happened...

    http://www.tenniscanada.com/index.php?title=Li-and-Schiavone-for-the-Womens-Title&pid=1802
    “I really wanted to make it as physical as possible, which I was able to make happen,” Federer said afterward about the match.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/tennis/frenchopen/8556037/French-Open-2011-Roger-Federer-destroys-Novak-Djokovics-run-of-victories-to-surge-into-final.html

    Federer was asked if he might just have played the best match of tennis anyone has seen since the 2008 Wimbledon final. “Possibly,” he smiled. “But I haven’t disappeared since. I’ve made some sacrifices (to keep improving). I wasn’t lying on the beach.”

    ReplyDelete
  25. And a year later he took back from Djokovic the N1 in the world!! (well I admit he can play tennis too)

    http://www.10sballs.com/2011/05/29/federer%E2%80%99s-improved-fitness-key-to-french-open-success/
    http://sports.nationalpost.com/2011/08/29/federer-still-dangerous-at-30/

    NEW YORK — First came the end of Roger Federer’s remarkable run of reaching a record 10 consecutive Grand Slam finals.
    Then he failed to make it to a major semi-final after a record 23 in a row.
    “I have almost played a thousand matches on tour and that takes its toll, but I'm very professional when it comes to massages, stretching, diet, sleep, all of that stuff. That's why I'm confident I can still play for many more years to come at the highest of levels.”

    ReplyDelete
  26. I also found this interesting

    http://tennisdailynews.net/tennis-articles/roger-federer-tennis-exercise-and-diet-plan-2/

    The Roger Federer Tennis Exercise and Diet Plan is one of the key components behind the athletic brilliance of the amazing 16 times Grand Slam champion. Not only is his form and fitness the result of acute dedication, but also the product of his partnership with Pierre Paganini.

    Before a major tournament or when the Swiss star needs to continue to stay fit during the off-season, Paganini continues his coaching by working out with him over 10 hours each week.
    With the ambition to return to No. 1 ATP ranking, his exercise goals are only half of this two-prong strategy. Well-designed dietary tactics are vital in keeping this tennis dynamo in shape.

    http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/Specials/Roger_Federer/Analysis/Why_age_is_no_barrier_for_Roger_Federer.html?mobileTopicId=29626382&cid=30280846

    On the eve of the Roland Garros tournament in Paris, Pierre Paganini, Federer’s physical trainer, tells swissinfo.ch that the holder of a record 16 grand slam titles is still at the peak of his form and reveals some of the reasons why he has succeeded for so long.
    Paganini, 53, has toned the muscles and legs of 29-year-old Federer for more than ten years.

    ReplyDelete
  27. And this is also curious...

    http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/Home/Archive/Swiss_tennis_serves_warning_over_doping_threat.html?cid=3738424

    The world of tennis has been rocked by a series of doping scandals, with a number of players testing positive for the banned steroid, nandrolone.
    Earlier this month Britain’s Greg Rusedski joined the list, prompting Switzerland’s tennis federation to issue fresh warnings about the risks associated with banned substances.
    Speaking last week at the Australian Open, Switzerland’s Roger Federer was clearly irritated about the effect the scandals were having on players’ morale.

“We can’t go on like this if, every time we take a nutritional supplement or an energy drink, we could be putting our health and our reputation at risk,” he said in Melbourne.

    Pierre Paganini, one of Swiss team’s trainers, has spent a lot of time trying to convince young players not to use creatine.

    “It’s all about educating players,” he said. “I tell them they shouldn’t use creatine, even if it is legal.”

    Paganini, who oversees the Davis Cup players’ physical preparation, believes there is no need to use doping substances to get to the top.

    “You can become an incredibly good athlete simply through hard work,” he told swissinfo.

    ReplyDelete
  28. And interestingly, although it might be a coincidence..

    https://www.credit-suisse.com/ch/en/about-us/sponsorship/roger-federer/news/off-court.article.html/article/pwp/news-and-expertise/2011/10/en/the-musicians-son-who-tunes-roger-federers-body.html

    Soon he established some contacts in tennis and began to concentrate more and more on that sport. Among his first clients were Marc Rosset, the gold medal winner from the 1992 Olympics with whom he worked for 17 years, the Maleeva sisters Manuela and Magdalena, both of them world-class players, and later Ana Ivanovic.


    Ana started preparations for the new season Nov 22nd 2005
    Ana is back in Switzerland where she started preparations for the new season. Ana is doing fitness training for two weeks with Pierre Paganini. They started in Lausanne, Switzerland’s fifth biggest city, situated on the banks of Lake Geneva and the home of the Olympic Museum. Ana is working on a combination of strength and endurance work, circuit training and running.
    Next week, Ana and Pierre will be joined by Zoltan Kuharsky in Biel, Swiss national tennis centre. This is where Ana will start practicing her tennis and continuing to work on a wide range of fitness exercises.
    Ivanovic has won the following awards:[50]
    Sony Ericsson WTA Tour most Improved player (2005)

    2006: Major breakthrough

    ReplyDelete
  29. Anyway, lets see what 2014 brings!!

    Long live long tennis careers!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. this is the best you could come up with?

      As a self-proclaimed Nadal fan, I am suprised that you perceive as suspicious any of the banal examples you suggested... The truth is Federer barely edged out a journeyman clay courter on his surface of choice today. On top of that, he almost lost in his first match and benefited from a walkover... hardly a world beating performance for him in Halle. THIS is the reason nobody commented on Federer today; if he were starting tournaments slowly and improving the longer tournaments and matches went like Nadal does seemingly everytime, we would raise an eyebrow. Otherwise, Federer is surviving these days by guts and instincts; matches used to be on his racquet at all times but it is not so these days.

      Delete
    2. Federer is a lousy doper. In his prime he used to have players like Falla for breakfast. Everything looks like a struggle for him now - even on his possibly best surface.He certainly doesn't win grand slams after exhibiting his worst ever form in the lead up tournaments - as does doping's poster boy.

      Delete
    3. Federer can still win the small, best of 3 set tournaments. But he's not the same player in best of 5 set matches.

      Delete
    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    5. Exactly: he has been pretty much terrible in the last two years in best of 5 matches (especially in regards to his lofty standards of 2004-2008ish). Also, he is pretty much guaranteed to lose every five-setter he plays against younger opponents as he looks gassed out all the time. Mother Nature has catched up to him in a major way. Then again, even in his prime, he was generally worst (more fatigued) in fifth sets, whereas Nadal from 2008 onwards has been a machine picking up steam as matches and tournaments progressed. And as Richrd said, even routine matches against average players are a struggle for him now. He is noticeably slower as well. At least from my perspective...

      Delete
    6. Pretty sure he beat Tsonga in AO2013.

      Delete
    7. Wrong. 2014 was in 3, the year before was in 5.

      Delete
    8. So Federer is getting better as he gets older? Duh.

      Delete
  30. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KzKuv4j67aw

    Spot the Greatest Athlete in the History of This Sport in the making. No? Neither could I.

    Only 4 years later, armed with the biggest guns in tennis, he would win his first grand slam. From this clip you would be forgiven for thinking it was Gasquet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Steroids are a hell of a drug.

      Uncle Toni should be inquired about for corruption of youth. He must have started systematic doping regimens very early. (I'm also surprised that there has never really been an in depth look into the Uncle Toni character from Western media; I mean, one would think such a powerful figure behind the sport's number player since he was a wee lad would be an interesting topic, but no we know basically nothing about the guy.)

      Anyhow, there is NO WAY that 13 year-old Nadal could have become what he is today without resorting to PEDs.

      Delete
    2. well he was grunting in that video but I don't see the water bottles. And no on-court tics or picking of body parts. The OCD must have shown up with the PEDs.

      Delete
    3. I fully agree. The systematic doping program must have started very early in Nadal's case. I can't think of any other Tennis player past and present who had such a phenomenal physical transformation. The extent is such that he is hardly recognizable. A real metamorphose.

      Delete
    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    5. ttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQ2SitjqBd0

      Safin at 14 years is perfectly recognizable. I am sure we could find similar stuff for Murray, Djokovic or Federer. Nadal on the other hand became like another person between 13/14 years and 17 years old. How can his numerous fans ignore such a suspicious fact?

      Delete
    6. It is hard to believe that the Safin shown in this clip was only a year older, at 14, than Nadal in the earlier clip. The 14 year old Safin is clearly only a less physically developed and mature version of the player he was to later become - but is recognisably the same player. The young and rather puny looking Nadal, on the other hand, bears almost no resemblance to the incredible physical specimen he morphed into within only 4 years. The comparison is telling. Only one of these players is natural.

      Delete
    7. Andy Murray aged 14… Also very recognisable with 115 mph serves.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQDb_exOaSk

      Delete
    8. Here's a photo of Murray aged 17 with Sergiy Stakhovsky who beat Fed at Wimbledon last year - basically still kids.

      http://im.ft-static.com/content/images/bb32d613-8d2e-4a76-8a5e-828fcf0a1b6b.img

      Meanwhile, here's Nadal aged 17 in 2004. Having busted out of his puny child frame like the incredible hulk in just 3/4 years.

      http://images4.fanpop.com/image/photos/16600000/Rafa-sexy-smile-in-2004-rafael-nadal-16634601-1024-1363.jpg

      Delete
    9. Agassi's book also mentioned (you know, besides the meth confession) that teenagers were 'forced' to dope by their coaches or parents and that it was a pretty common thing to find.

      Delete
    10. As Picassowhat suggested, it would be extremely interesting to make an in depth and detailed inquiry about the very enigmatic "coach Toni". This guy never coached any tennis player except his nephew, never was a professional player. In short an outsider who got more success than any other coaches in Tennis history. There is definitely something that sounds wrong in his story.

      Delete
    11. Ignore the fact that nadal seems to have groan at astonishing rate( but this could be natural!) it is his size and power combined with endurance which is unexplainable. You don't have to be igronat or knowledgeable to know that the more mass you have, the quicker you will go but will slow down faster in human biology. However, its not just the running but also the continues hitting of the ball( without any decrease of power) which raises the most obvious question; how do the commentators live with thierselves?

      Delete
  31. Apparently Ferrer has pulled out of 's-Hertogenbosch with "stomach problems". How vague is that? He's off to see his doctor in Spain. LOL.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh and he was the top seed there.

      Delete
    2. I'm hesitant to treat photos as any sort of evidence of PEDs -- but Ferrer is looking more like a 'shredded' bodybuilder than a tennis player. Even his non-dominant arm is looking pretty puffed up:

      http://i2.cdn.turner.com/si/dam/assets/140616163440-david-ferrer-withdraws-top-shelf-open-wimbledon-single-image-cut.jpg

      Delete
    3. Ferrer is positively puny. I know people who wouldn't sniff at a victory in an amateur BB contest that are more muscular than him.

      Delete
    4. So tennis and body-building have the same objectives? Lance A was no body-builder. PED's like HGH don't mean you will resemble Schwarzenegger. But there is no way a 33 year old who is only 5'9" gets to number 3 in the world and is "puny". Dream on.

      Delete
    5. Now Ferrer has tweeted that he's on his way to London. Apparently he wasn't that sick after all. Just sick enough to withdraw from a tournament, fly to Spain, see his doctor and fly to London in time for Wimbledon.

      Delete
    6. At the end of 2009, Ferrer was ranked 17th showing signs of a 27 y old.

      http://www.coretennis.net/tennis-player/david-ferrer/260/ranking.html

      He started 2014 ranked #3

      Delete
    7. "So tennis and body-building have the same objectives?"

      "but Ferrer is looking more like a 'shredded' bodybuilder than a tennis player."

      Factually inaccurate.

      Delete
    8. Yes, you generally are. It has escaped you that the first point is a question. Basic grammar eludes you.

      Delete
    9. I never claimed that they have the same objectives you idiot. But claiming that Ferrer resembles a body builder is like claiming that John Isner resembles a gymnast.

      Delete
    10. Or like you claiming to have an intellect. Equally absurd. But you did claim that Ferrer was "puny". No evidence for that, either - like most of your assertions.

      Delete
  32. Possible Wimbledon Withdrawal for Stan Wawrinka

    ReplyDelete
  33. So the country's doping footballers have had an early exit, let's hope Spain's other biggest doper will be out early next week. Fingers crossed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. somehow I think this year he (and his uncle) intend to stick around a little longer. He's been humiliated two years in a row. I think this year he wants to prove that he can still win Wimbly, Hopefully he gets some tough customers in the early rounds.

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      Delete
    3. I bet you that Murray and most of the players dangerous in grass will be in Djokovic half.

      Delete
    4. And you're absolutely right, Julien. I have just seen the draw. Djokovic and Ferrer are on the upper half . The serbian will face the likes of Youzhny, Tsonga, Gulbis, Verdasco, Cilic and Berdych on a quarter. Ferrer can meet Dolgopolov, Dmitrov, Fognini, Bautista Agut and Murray on a quarter. Nadal and Wawrinka are on the botton half. Stan will face Tursunov, Lopez, Isner, Janowicz, Robredo, Granollers and Federer on a quarter. Nadal will face Karlovic, Monfils, Gasquet, Nishikori, Kohlschreiber, Garcia-Lopez and Raonic on a quarter.

      Delete
    5. All those players are the top seeds, of course, on each half. So we may have Djokovic facing Ferrer/Murray on one semi and Wawrinka/Federer facing Nadal on the other.

      Delete
    6. I hoped to be wrong but once again in the 3 big slams Nadal gets "lucky" with the draw. Almost each time the big 4 have the first 4 seeds, Djokovic gets Murray when Nadal gets aging Federer, at the exception of the much less prestigious AO. It can't be a coincidence.

      Delete
    7. Here are all the seeded players, by quarter of the draw:

      Novak Djokovic (SRB) [1]
      Vasek Pospisil (CAN) [31]
      Mikhail Youzhny (RUS) [17]
      Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) [14]
      Ernests Gulbis (LAT) [12]
      Fernando Verdasco (ESP) [18]
      Marin Cilic (CRO) [26]
      Tomas Berdych (CZE) [6]

      Andy Murray (GBR) [3]
      Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) [27]
      Kevin Anderson (RSA) [20]
      Fabio Fognini (ITA) [16]
      Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) [11]
      Alexandr Dolgopolov (UKR) [21]
      Andreas Seppi (ITA) [25]
      David Ferrer (ESP) [7]

      Stan Wawrinka (SUI) [5]
      Dmitry Tursunov (RUS) [32]
      Feliciano Lopez (ESP) [19]
      John Isner (USA) [9]
      Jerzy Janowicz (POL) [15]
      Tommy Robredo (ESP) [23]
      Marcel Granollers (ESP) [30]
      Roger Federer (SUI) [4]

      Milos Raonic (CAN) [8]
      Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (ESP) [28]
      Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) [22]
      Kei Nishikori (JPN) [10]
      Richard Gasquet (FRA) [13]
      Gael Monfils (FRA) [24]
      Ivo Karlovic (CRO) [29]
      Rafael Nadal (ESP) [2]

      The big questions I have:

      1. Which Nadal will show up?
      2. Which Wawrinka will show up?
      3. Which Tsonga will show up?
      4. How much of in impact will the big servers have (Isner, Raonic, Karlovic, Janowicz, etc.)?

      I agree Nadal is lucky to be in the same half as Federer rather than Murray, though Federer is playing *much* better grass court tennis than last year, so I don't think he'll be easy for anyone.

      Delete
    8. " though Federer is playing *much* better grass court tennis than last year" : Federer won Halle last year too and in a more convincing way.

      Delete
  34. I am wondering what you guys think of the case of Tommy Haas? The guy had some of his best results well over 30 and often comes back very strongly after long injuries. I have just read that, injured once again, he plans to come back in 2015, he will be 37 then!
    He said " I always managed to come back, I know what is in store for me now and I will cope with this new challenge"
    In my view Haas is one of the most suspicious players on the tour now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Definitely. He's also based in Miami and we all know who are based there and have been linked to tennis players...

      Delete
    2. Haas was injured in his prime. That's why his results eclipse his past ones.

      Delete
    3. Why you wrote only in his prime? He keeps being injured quite often and somehow manages to always come back quickly and strongly

      Delete
    4. He will be still playing some of his best tennis at 40. And someone who calls himself Tommy Hass (can't spell either) will still be defending him.

      Delete
    5. That was intentional you moron.

      Delete
    6. Your misspelling? Or your dumb assertions?

      Delete
  35. There was something interesting during this world cup: All the African players seem to be particularly muscular even though they don't dope. I wonder why but I have my idea.
    Serena Williams is a strong black woman

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So is Venus Williams. Or Sloane Stephens for that matter. None of them look as ridiculous as Serena. Hell, Serena herself didn't look as ridiculous as Serena, given how she looked in her peak.

      I wouldn't necessarily believe that Serena is on the juice if it wasn't for the panic rooms incident.

      Delete
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