Christophe Rochus Speaks Out about Doping in Tennis

Q: You were the first to denounce doping in tennis. Did it come back to haunt you?

A: “Oh yes! Notably, I received a threatening letter from the ATP that caused me problems later on, but that’s not a concern. It’s just proof that the system is rotten…”

Q: You saw some “dirty” things regarding that during your career?

A: “Like everyone, I saw some things. For me, it is inconceivable to be able to play five hours in the blazing sun one day, and still run like a rabbit the next day.”

Q: Do you remember a particular example?

A: “Yes, I remember a match against a guy whose name I won’t mention. I won the first set 6-1, very easily. He goes to the bathroom and comes back to the court, like, metamorphosized. He led 5-3 in the second set andd to bleed. I said at the time that this was pretty weird.”

Q: Is doping a taboo subject on Tour?

A: “Yes, it’s like betting. There’s a lot of cheating. Basically, no one likes to talk about it. It doesn’t really upset me. I just want everyone to stop pretending. The hypocrisy is exasperating …”

Q: You would be for legalizing doping?

A: “Well, I wouldn’t be against it. It exists regardless. The people who take these types of products know very well that they’re playing with their health. But it’s a calculated risk because it can allow them to support their entire family. That’s the case with (Guillermo) Canas, for example. I mention his name, because he was caught twice and we can assume that he doped. In the end, he sacrificed himself to support his family for several generations. There’s almost a nobility about his cause …”

Q: How many times were you dope-tested during your career?

A: “I don’t know. I’d say probably 10 to 15 times a year for 10 years.”

Q: There were even rumours about Justine Henin when she retired. Do you think they were unfounded?

say is that I was surprised by the fact that she suddenly stopped competing, without apparent reason. A great champion, generally, announces it several months in advance and does a sort of farewell tour…”

His other pronouncements came about equal prize money for women.

Q: We’ve felt, in the past, that you were irritated by the media aura cast by Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters.

A: “No. Understand me: I have a lot of admiration for the performances of these two players. What bothers me is that people compare the men’s and women’s tour, which have nothing to do with each other. Justine wouldn’t beat the No. 500 player on the ATP. It’s as if we were comparing men’s and women’s soccer …”

Q: To that extent?

A: “With the men, the level is very high from the first round. Even Nadal and Federer can be pushed. With the girls, before the quarterfinals, it’s a joke. The level is distressingly weak and the difference between the top 10 and top 100 is enormous.”

Q: Yes, at Grand Slams, the prize money is identical…”

A: “Yes, and I’m sorry, but that’s not normal. The majority of the players think the way I do, even if they don’t say it out loud. In all objectivity, you can’t compare the amount of effort necessary to reach the second week of a Grand Slam for the men and the women. And I’m not talking just about the matches that are five sets for the men and three sets for the women. Everything is different. All you have to do is look at how easily some players come back after a long break …”

Q: You’re thinking of Kim and Justine?

A: “Not necessarily. Look at the recent performances of Kimiko Date. She stopped for 10 years and she returned to the top at age 40. As if it were nothing. It’s a disgrace. That type of story would never happen on the ATP Tour. The failed comeback of Thomas Muster is the best proof.”

Gotta love Rochus for coming out and saying all this. I have heard some people say it is poor taste from him to do it as he is retiring. But if he does it while he is playing, then the ATP threatens him. So he really had no choice but to wait until he retired. I think it takes balls to speak out when everyone else is being hypocritical, so I like Rochus for doing this. Everyone that says he should have kept his mouth shut are aligning themselves with hypocrisy as well. The more people speaks out about this rotten corruption that is going on in the ATP Tour, the sooner it will end. As far as I’m concerned, every player should do it when they retire, and if possible they must do it while they are still active. But the ATP makes that almost impossible with their threats and cover ups. It’s truly disgusting that this kind of thing exists.

In the second question Rochus talks about playing for five hours in the blazing sun and then coming back the next day to run like a rabbit. You wonder if that is in reference to Nadal at the Australian Open of 2009. I have already referred to that incident as questionable, and I have a feeling that is what Rochus is referring to again here. The match that he played I am not sure about. There are several possibilities here, but no one that really takes the big bucks home. Rochus played a lot on the challenger tour, although he is a very talented player that also pulled off upsets over top players in bigger events. The guy that he was referring to would have been on the challenger tour probably. Here are the possibilities:

L Marsel Ilhan 28/04/2010 1-6 7-5 6-2
L Lukas Dlouhy 07/03/2010 1-6 7-6(3) 7-5
W Stefan Koubek 29/09/2008 6-1 7-5
L Jaroslav Pospisil 26/09/2008 1-6 7-6(4) 6-3
W Roko Karanusic 05/04/2008 6-1 7-5
W Frank Dancevic 14/06/2004 6-1 7-5

If anyone should be allowed to dope it should be these guys outside of the top 100 who basically just survives and are really grinding hard out there. Still, I would never advise it because of the obvious health risks. A person’s health is more important than money or fame if you ask me. I was pretty surprised to see that Rochus was tested 10-15 times a year. I hope they test the top players as much or more, since they are the ones enjoying all the spoils. But somehow I doubt that. I think it is obvious the ATP does everything in their power to protect the very top players. Think about what it would mean to tennis if it came out that Federer or Nadal was doping. I have already said that I’m 99% sure Roger is not doping. As for Nadal, I’d say the chances are very good. I don’t agree with Rochus that doping should be legalized, but that would already be better than the hypocrisy that is going on right now.

The best would be if doping was illegal and the ATP made it impossible for players to dope. It’s not rocket science either. You do completely random out-of-competition testing(no matter what the cost) along with in competition testing, and no matter who gets caught, they get a life time ban. This way no one will dope. And those who do will regret it. Seriously, how hard can it be to have a clean sport? If no one dopes, no one has an unfair advantage, and doping becomes pointless. Perfect right? Only the ATP wants disorder and corruption. That is the only conclusion that there is left to come to, that the ATP is a bunch of greasy, scummy, mafia bastards that condones match fixing and doping. You either do things right or wrong. There is no such thing as a happy medium here.

The ATP has had a million chances to end this corruption, but they have chosen not to. I have already told you how easy it would be to end doping and match fixing, so there should be no doubts about the ATP’s corruption anymore. The ATP is basically the mafia. That’s what it comes down to unfortunately. They are low-life scumbags. Can you imagine what it must be like for an honorable man like Roger to have to function among such a bunch of classless hypocrites? I feel sorry for him. Honest players like him deserves better, and so do honest fans. We are now following a sport where there is always this undercurrent of corruption and dishonesty. No wonder someone like Rochus calls the hypocrisy “exasperating”. This is of course not the first time a player has spoken out. There are many. Here is what Nicolas Escude said:

“To say that tennis today is clean you have to be living in a dream world.

When you’re playing on clay and after 50 shots the guy on the other side of the net is fresh and waiting for you to serve, while you’re in agony, it’s mind-blowing.”

Escude slammed Miles for his passive attitude towards doping, and branded measures taken against those caught as ridiculous.

“What I don’t understand is that, if a company’s accounts show bad results, the boss is always the first one to get fired,” he said.

“So when I hear today that Mark Miles is untouchable, I begin to wonder.”

And he claimed that the top tennis players were keeping a lid on the problem because the ATP has dossiers on them.

“The problem is that the ATP is lead by Americans, while 85 percent of players are Europeans and the money comes from Europe,” he said.

“It’s a mafia that’s in place. If these dossiers were exposed, tennis would be in a bad state for six months. But out of the bad would come some good.”

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/tennis/2027664.stm

Go ahead and read the whole article. The official doctor of the US Open has underscored what Escude said, adding that their are loopholes in the system and that if a player was willing to do whatever it takes, they could get away with it. What do you think the odds are that Nadal is not doping? I’d say it’s pretty slim, although as always I have to add that there is no official proof. But if this is the way the ATP treats their fans, leaving them in the darkness and doubt like this, then I reserve the right to speak out, even if it means speculating. It’s also disturbing to learn that the USA is in control of the ATP, and it makes a lot of sense. That whole greed/corruption thing is often a very American thing. America is all about materialism and profit, and it doesn’t surprise me at all that they are in control of all of this.

Rochus also talks about his fellow countrywoman Justine Henin, who inexplicably took two years off from the tour. I could never understand why Henin would just take off two year from the tour, and Rochus’ theory does make a lot of sense I have to admit. Maybe this is just the way the tennis bodies deals with the top players if they are caught doping, which is just another cover up. They couldn’t do this on the men’s tour though, because if you come back after two years as a men’s player it is that much harder to reach the top again. Personally I think it is a disgrace that someone like Kim Clijsters can play a couple of exho’s and come back to win the US Open. That shows a profound lack of depth in the women’s game. That would be fine if women received less prize money, but they don’t.

They receive the same as men, even though the men’s tennis is of such higher quality than women’s tennis that you may as well call it a different sport. They also play best of five sets in the slams while women plays best of three. There isn’t nearly as much interest in the women’s game either, which means they can’t get as many sponsors as the men’s game. If the women didn’t play certain events at the same venue and time as men, there would be even less interest in the women’s game. That said, I could still tolerate the equal prize money thing, more than I can the doping and match fixing anyway. Call me whatever you like, but I’m just saying the things that many others are thinking anyway. That’s the difference between me and the hypocrites I guess. I couldn’t care less to be ridiculed for speaking the truth.

I have always despised greed, dishonesty, and corruption, and I will always try to expose that kind of thing. You can read more about all the corruption that goes on in tennis here. It is time to speak up an inform. Eventually all will be revealed and the ATP would have no where to run anymore, at which point we will finally have a clean sport. Lets fight the good battle.

Ps. Roger will be playing tomorrow against Janko Tipsarevic at 6 pm local time. Roger leads the head-to-head 2-0.

Roger Federer


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21 Comments

  1. We hardly ever comment on players that are suddenly looking different, suddenly hitting the ball harder etc.
    I´m absolutely disappointed about this, journalist should investigate this.
    If you´re willing to cheat by doping you are willing to cheat by coaching, or abusing of the clock,
    I don´t see Delpo pulling a Kim winning his first GS. he
    enters after his layoff (given his results).Tennis has a steroid problem specially in GS.Is the sport 100%clean?No way
    Corruption in the ATP,Nadal-Puerta 2005,a penalty
    on the innocent player,”singular mistaken”.

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  2. Ru-an, good post. You quoted the interview as a whole which is very important. A lot of commentators take bits and pieces and take things out of context which is very dangerous and misleading. I read about this interview from another source which took only parts of the interview and I didn’t completely like what Rochus said. But after I read your post where you posted Rochus’ sentences in its entirety, I’ve completely changed my opinion. I agree that it is courageous of Rochus. He wasn’t disrespectful. He is honest and I support honesty 100%. I applaud him for speaking so bravely. I hope all the media criticisms on his comments would not discourage other players, retired or not, to speak out. We must fight this dope war by being more vocal and thus putting pubic pressure on ATP to come transparent and clean. It is so unfair and heartbreaking for players who are clean. Also what he said about WTA is very reasonable and reflect truly WTA now.

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  3. Ru-an….I don’t think it’s really smart to try and link Rochous claims to single out Nadal. Rochus is insinuating that lots of players may do it.

    Including Justine Henin (the only player he actually mentions by name)…you know, the small, slightly built Belgian with the graceful backhand who is often refered to as the “Federer of the WTA” for her skilfull and seemingly effortless game. Who would ever look at Henin, with her physique and size, and assume she’s a doper (an accusation that’s ben thrown before at the naturally muscular Serena Williams, who probably is just genetically blessed). Yet at the moment, there seems to be very strong indications that she may have been on something to help her endurance.

    All it goes to show is that it doesn’t matter how big or muscular you are. In tennis, players can dope merely to increase endurance, without becoming any bigger. Thus suspicion falls upon those players who never seem to actually get tired. Nadal may be one of those, but equally you have to say Federer is a guy who never sweats, and never seems to get tired. PLayed the most matches for years, with hardly a hint of exhaustion. Never reitres from matches. Federer, as much as Henin is as likely a canidate to have doped. Fed has as much endurance as Nadal….I sometimes wonder if Federer is either descended from Kenyan marathon runners who never run out of energy, or if he’s been on something.

    The net of suspicion is cast pretty wide. The only ATP player I don’t really think is as suspect is Novak Djokovic, only because he’s always seemed to have stamina issues. But that seems to be changing, so maybe he’s on something as well.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    But Federer plays the most economic style in the history of the sport probably, while Nadal is the exact opposite. Federer stands on the base line and tries to end teh points fast, while Nadal stands 3 meters behind it and wait for the other guy to make a mistake, running himself ragged. Still, he never gets tired.

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  4. Nadal just doesnt wait for his opponents to make errors. He plays alot more agressively then he did in the past. In the USO final, he had more winners then Djokovic. To say that all he does it wait for his opponents to make an error is wrong. All the commentators have said that he plays more agressively now, approaches the net more, and uses the down the line forehand more frequently. And he looked pretty “tired” last year in madrid.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Obviously he has become a more attacking player of late. But still he does a lot of running and defense. And what about all the wear and tear on his body before he became more attacking? Fact is he will always be a naturally defensive player and will always do a lot of running. He cant stand on the base line and smack winners like Roger and never will be able to. He will also never be a natural volleyer. Physical strength and stamina will always be a big part of his game.

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    steve Reply:

    No. What he does is to play a clay-court game using unprecedented levels of power and spin.

    He still spends most of his time way behind the baseline.

    He falls BACKWARDS when he hits his forehand, rather then stepping forward. He does not take the ball early at all (unlike Federer whose anticipation and superb form allow him to attack often and early). And yet he can muscle the ball through the court and hammer clean winners even from way back, when pushed into defensive positions.

    Most defensive players can only get the ball back into play when forced into a defensive position. But Nadal can do more than merely get it back into play, he can hit a powerful winner!

    This takes two things: power and speed. Not skill, really. It does require a certain kind of mechanical mentality, which Nadal has in plenty.

    You can see when Nadal lost to Melzer, his shots were falling way short and he was moonballing. It’s not that he just made more errors–it’s that his shots didn’t have the power on them that he has at his peak.

    The commentators say what they want to say. If they accurately described Nadal’s game style, they would have to explain why no other clay-courter in the history of the game ever played with that kind of power…and that would lead to questions and speculations that they’d prefer to avoid.

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  5. Good on Rochus! Being a relatively small fish means he can be more honest. Players with more to lose will be more cautious.

    It’s important that players be outspoken about doping. Journalists are so afraid of touching the subject because it means they will lose their jobs, and the ATP wants to cover it up.

    It is so blatant that players are doping. And yet they tell us that it’s no problem, the sport is clean, blah blah. If this goes on tennis will become like cycling is today, a joke. Results will be meaningless, determined by who has better access to dope and whose body responds more readily to drugs, not by skill.

    I wonder though if the ATP would retaliate against Rochus’ brother for this. I hope not.

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  6. sorry but steve’s post is increidbly biased. If Nadal “lacked” power against mezler, then how come his serving speed was so good? How can u lack power on groundstrokes but not on your serves? He plays a agressive (but not overly agressive) game, and he does not fall back on his feet while hitting a shot

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  7. I have to take issue with Mike. Tennis strokes have a high technical component. If anything (such as timing) goes awry, there can be a loss of power. Furthermore, the serve (or the forehand, for that matter) can go ‘off’ but other strokes be unaffected. Tennis (a bit like golf) is like that. For a player like Federer, timing – and feel – is everything; that’s where he draws his power and accuracy from. For a player like Nadal, sheer physical strength plays a much bigger role. Sure, sometimes he plays more aggressively than at other times but his game is based around extraordinary defensive skills. This enables him to hit powerful shots as he falls away from the ball while retrieving the shot. That takes enormous arm strength, to hit with such power without forward momentum.

    As an aside, one of the reasons he played more defensively against Melzer was because the German was consistently attacking. So Nadal’s shots started to fall short. But it was also noticeable that as the game progressed Nadal didn’t have the juice in his game – whether it was the serve or the forehand – that he had at the USO. He also appeared to tire – again, unusual for him.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Good comment Neil. Its all about strength for Nadal, while its all about timing for Roger. Talent vs strength.

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    Christopher Reply:

    It’s unfortunate that federer fans do not accept that nadal is talented. Let’s just say bluntly the things we believe. Ruan thinks nadal dopes, Ruan thinks federer is the most talented guy and nadal is just all about strength. Ruan does not believe that Nadal is a supremely fit individual and neither is he talented enough to beat federer. It’s just that he is a bad match up for his idol federer. Now , here’s what i think. Tennis is not all about shot making, it’s a physical form of chess. While you may argue that federer’s physical game is better than nadal but nadal’s athleticism is very hard to match. While you may argue federer can hit winners from all around the park, the fact is he has a losing record to nadal over his entire career. Clay or no clay, if Federer is talented enough surface should be an issue. You can’t have it both ways i.e being the most talented guy and yet “well clay is a different sort of surface etc etc”. It is clear that Nadal is probably one of the strongest players mentally , the most athletic players, the player who puts more revolutions on the ball than anybody else etc. I would be more than glad if you atleast acknowledge Nadal’s achievements rather than adopting the attitude that “Federer is the most talented of all and Nadal is all about strength”. Nadal has the talents which Federer does not, the mental fortitude … the massive revs on the ball … the willingness to improve everyday.

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    Hope Reply:

    Hello!
    I think you forget this is Ruan’s Federer Blog. Any mention of Nadal is incidental!
    If you play tennis you will know that the surface does matter. Sampras never got to a GS final on clay, Lendl never won on grass. Nadal always falls back on his shots instead of meeting the ball. And Rochus is to be commended. It is time the ATP acknowledge what is so blatantly obvious to all of us. Will they wait until a tragedy occurs before they do something about the doping. Tennis will soon lose it’s credibility like cycling has done.

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  8. I refer back to the earlier comments from Rochus, that “it is inconceivable to be able to play five hours in the blazing sun one day, and still run like a rabbit the next day.” If there is a player on the tour who exemplifies that it is Nadal. I have followed tennis and other professional sports for nearly 4 decades. I have never before seen a player with Nadal’s physical qualities. I have to agree with Rochus, that such “talents” are not likely to be natural. I don’t see where Nadal obtains his astonishing reserves of stamina from, I can’t understand why he almost never tires despite the demanding nature of his style of play, that there is virtually no ball that he cannot run down, that he can suddenly boost the power of his serve by about 10mph within a matter of a few weeks, and can incur seriously debilitating injuries that he is able to play through (while winning titles against the very best in the game), and then recover from with treatments like an “injection” – and be stronger than ever. All this is unprecedented in tennis before Nadal – and it is all based on a superhuman physical performance rather than supreme shot-making skills. I just don’t see how it can be done naturally.

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    Sam Reply:

    Neil: People (usually Federer partisans) prefer to ignore or forget, than Nadal has been something of a physical freak since he was a child.

    Nadal beat Pat Rafter (a former Wimbledon CHAMPION) in a competitive exhibition match, where Rafter was originally supposed to play Boris Becker. Nadal was 14 years old……that is insane. Do you think there’s a 14 year old out there today that could even beat Andy Roddick in an exhibition today. 19 year olds can’t even break into the top 100 these days, never mind 14 year olds beating former, relatively young Wimbledon champs.

    Nadal has never been “normal”. He’s always been a freakish physical specimin, with ridiculous levels of strength and stamina. It’s the same reason people aren’t as suspicious as Usain Bolt doping, as they would be for most sprinters. Bolt is a physical freak that was running world class times when he was 16 years old. Unless you want to believe that Nadal has been “doping” since he was 12 or 13 (highly unlikely), it’s pretty obvious that he’s been pulling off ridiculous physical feats since childhood. Like Usain Bolt, Nadal seems to have genetics on his side.

    Having said that, over the years, Nadal has accquired pretty much every shot in the book. His shotmaking and skill is incredible, and people who continue to deny that, are just fooling themselves. His game is nowhere as physical as it was 4 years ago. Nadal combines supreme skill and aptitude, with exceptional physical and mental gifts. Something that’s been obvious since he was a kid.

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    steve Reply:

    You can’t go from having a chronic, incurable, degenerative “career-threatening” knee condition that is aggravated by playing tennis, to being completely cured and moving better than you ever did thanks to a few platelet injections. That’s just not believable, and “genetics” doesn’t explain that.

    There are only two reasonable explanations for his recovery: either his injuries were never as bad as his camp claimed, or he’s doping. Frankly, even the former is hard to swallow. But because I believe in presumption of innocence, I choose to believe that the former is true.

    His shotmaking and skill is incredible

    They’re very good, but if he is slightly lacking in power, or his opponent can hit hard constantly, or can mix it up a lot, then he has problems.

    In the absence of peak physical prowess, whatever shotmaking skills and other options he has are not enough to win against top players. The key to his game, as always, remains power and speed.

    His record against Murray on hardcourts is illustrative of his limitations. Murray’s skills on hardcourt are far superior to his skills on other surfaces; he can use the full variety of his shots on hardcourt.

    But Murray has beaten Nadal four out of their last five meetings on hardcourts, twice in majors. The only loss in that series was on a windy day, when Murray’s game, which relies on subtle variations of pace and spin, became a liability compared to Nadal’s simpler, heavy-topspin game.

    In these losses Nadal does try his best to out-Murray Murray by mixing up his game. He produces some pretty spectacular tennis in the attempt. But it never works. On hard courts Murray can outplay Nadal, mix it up even more, and keep him off-balance.

    It’s due to the fact that Nadal started off with so little in his game besides topspin and mental toughness, that the improvements in his game are disproportionately exaggerated.

    The expectations were so low to begin with, that even a modest improvement will be remarked upon and praised. (To be fair, his improvements have been more than modest).

    It’s true that he can make some pretty skillful shots, but nothing more spectacular than Djokovic or Murray or Roddick can do. Certainly he can’t outdo Federer or Murray in that department. Power and speed remain the central features of his game, without which he can’t win. He will always rely more on that than careful point construction, a la Federer or Djokovic.

    He’s always been a freakish physical specimin, with ridiculous levels of strength and stamina

    There’s no reason he can’t be both a freakish physical specimen AND be using PEDs. PEDs could both prolong his career, allow him to have more success on all surfaces, and enhance his natural physical attributes.

    It’s possible that PEDs could transform a very mentally-tough, physically strong clay-courter into an unstoppable machine who can win on all surfaces. But you can rest easy, because I guess we’ll never really know for sure.

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    Hope Reply:

    And now he claims tendinitis in his shoulder! What will he come up with next? Have you seen pictures of Nadal at 15? He was skinny and scrawny and then suddenly appeared out of nowhere like the incredible hulk!
    By the way Rafter never won Wimbledon. He was runner up twice. He won the US Open twice.

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  9. And yet there’s Roger still going strong aged 34, contending for another major just weeks after dispatching the world #1 and 2 in straights in Cinci. A wonderfully conditioned old gentleman, and unique among high achievers in the game, he seems immune to the effects of ageing…

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  10. Here I am back again, because I’m amazed that nobody is looking closely at Federer, aged 35 now, and dancing his light-footed way through to the quarters of the Oz Open, He took six months off – wisely skipping the heavily tested Olympics? – and he’s back sharp and throwing himself about the court, playing a high powered physically aggressive game, and looking fresher than players ten years younger than him.

    It’s pure mythology to state that Federer “plays the most economic style in the history of the sport probably”, when we know that Federer played his Wimbledon finals mainly from the baseline. To an economic genius like Sampras, a long rally would consist of having to hit a second serve – and yet Federer is rallying from the baseline for years at Wimbledon?

    And as Rafa has shown over the last few years a natural and historically observable rate of physical degeneration, especially among high achievers, Federer has been seemingly immune, making 3 slam finals since Rafa was last in one.

    I’m not saying Rafa is clean, but his details were leaked by the Fancy Bears hackers. What I’m saying is, there’s a bloke who has not just broken all records, but actually smashed them to smithereens, and not just the 17, but all the finals, semis, quarters he reached, coming back week after week on all surfaces, recovering quickly and ageing very slowly, rarely being injured and never missing slams. In any other sport, the light of suspicion would fall squarely on Federer.

    And I’m not saying Federer is doping. No! As far as we know, Federer is clean, and that’s his status now. But ignoring the fact that his fitness and durability have long since gone beyond what’s unprecedented for the sport, while deciding to attack Nadal, whose status is also clean, is unfair. Apply your logic across the sport fairly, and take off the Fedfan goggles. If you do this, you might have to conclude that there’s a case to be made to say they’re all equally suspicious, or all equally clean…

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    Michael Reply:

    I wouldn’t say going for winners and keeping points short is a very physically aggressive compared to grinding out wins by focusing on getting the ball back into play and favouring long rallies. Saying that Federer has an economic style is a myth is also something I don’t agree with , I always saw Federer as having high risk, high reward hence the unforced errors. Nadal’s style is definitely more taxing and his decline has as much to do with his style as his chronic injuries. I do understand where you are coming from though and agree that judgement should be given fairly and Federer should not be exempt.

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  11. I am not a believer in the player who can take six months off supposedly injured, and come back to INSTANTLY play like Superman, winning just about everything at the age of 35, never tiring, even feeling fresher in the final set by his own admission. All achieved, apparently, by ‘thinking young’, getting to grips with a larger racquet and practising lots of backhand to backhand in his time off. Per-lease! It just isn’t physically humanly possible. But he is the ATP cash cow and will never ever be investigated, let alone exposed. Nobody has the b*lls or the will to do it.

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