Monday, March 18, 2013

Robin Haase on Testing Protocol

Robin Haase gave an interview last week about the anti-doping program in tennis (in Dutch). He made a curious remark (Translation courtesy of a Dutch-speaking reader):
"It's remarkable how few tests are done in non-western countries. I know players from eastern Europe who either barely get tested at all, or don't fill out things correctly. They receive a telephone call from the testers before being tested, because the testers don't want to show up at an empty house. The whole system is not put together very well, because the tests are limited to just a few players."
Haase is saying that some athletes are essentially getting tipped off by testers. If true, it implies there are serious breaches of "no advance notice" testing protocol occurring. Needless to say, Haase's statements haven't received any attention.

What does the ITF think of Haase's remarks? Paging Dr. Stuart Miller...

13 comments:

  1. Let's state the obvious just based on this interview:
    1. Haase suspects "Eastern European" players of doping.
    2. The ITF is covering up missed tests by using their "range" function.
    3. There don't seem to be any consequences if the testers arrive at an "empty house."

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    1. How about people that run off to their little island in 'Western' Europe ;) ?

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    2. How about 'em? It looks to me like players from some countries have impunity and some in others have to create their own impunity.

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    3. What about those people who run off to 'panic rooms' when the testers come knocking?

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    4. Obviously he is implying that he believes the current testing is a joke.

      But he also defended Contador when he tested positive. And he's still one of the ones who moans about being woken up at 6AM to take a drug test.

      Overall, he raises some serious issues and at least he is talking openly about the issue. I think the testers calling ahead is clearly the most intriguing topic he brought up. I've never heard that one before but for some reason I'm not surprised.

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    5. Remember, Haase also made some pointed observations about Murray's physique and strength at the AO. At this rate, he may be acquiring a reputation in the locker room. Or he may also represent a journeyman view that there are players who are somehow gaining an advantage, and the ITF isn't doing much to prevent it.

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    6. The main issue it raises is the problems with the contract anti-doping officers in various countries. Given how inept the ITF is, it seems like they only pay the contractor for a collected sample. Why else would a contractor call the house to make sure someone is there? The most obvious reason is that he wont get paid unless he collects a sample. Because, all things being equal, I would rather get paid for knocking on a door and having no one answer rather than having to watch someone take a piss in a cup -- sorry, just not into that sort of thing.

      In terms of "The ITF is covering up missed tests by using their 'range' function," it appears that there is nothing to cover up because there are no missed tests. Simply tell the guy to come on Tuesday when you will be home and all the steroids will have cleared your system. He gets paid, you test clean -- a "win win" as the ITF calls it.

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    7. you make a good point. Assuming the testers are paid to bring back a sample, what's to stop them from peeing in a cup themselves and spending the day on the beach?

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    8. It is pretty clear from the Landis testimony and the USADA evidence that the UCI was tipping off Armstrong as to when he was going to be tested, so the idea that it is only happening in Eastern Europe is laughable.

      There is a nasty hint of xenophobia in what Haase is saying and he seems blind to the problems of doping in Western Europe and North America (where many East European born players live and train)

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  2. Article on "tennisnow" http://www.tennisnow.com/News/Featured-News/In-the-War-on-Doping,-Discourse-Trumps-Bio-Passpor.aspx?utm_source=Newsletter+031813&utm_campaign=Blast+3-18&utm_medium=email

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    1. Thank you. That is an interesting read.

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    2. The article notes "But it appears all passport-related blood tests will be scheduled (i.e. the players know they are coming)." So, the ITF has introduced another IQ test in that only stupid people will fail it.

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  3. The US Open is doubling it's prize money from last year to around $50 million by 2017. $50 million for one tournament, just in prize money!

    Remind me what piffling amount the ITF is spending on its anti-doping programme.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/tennis/8452220/US-Open-tennis-to-double-prize-money

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