Roger Federer on Doping

Federer on doping Sept 2009.

“I’d like a sport without doping, but it’s an illusion. There’s so much money involved, this pushes people to take drugs. I am convinced that doping doesn’t help tennis. Only a minority think differently. We can be submitted to checks at any moment and I believe that it’s the right thing to do. I prefer to know that I am playing against a clean opponent. Unfortunately it’s not always so.”

http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=289856

Thanks to Maeve for posting this comment on my blog. It comes from an old interview, but it’s interesting nonetheless. For one thing they ask him about religion, which is a question I’ve never heard him answer. But the more pressing issue is the one about doping. What Roger says here pretty much sums up everything we’ve been talking about. It should be obvious now that there is doping in tennis. The shocking thing is that the majority thinks it is OK. I get the feeling there is this kind of unspoken rule that it is OK to dope, as long as you don’t get caught. That’s the only conclusion to come to when you look at how laid back the testing is. If they really didn’t want doping then they would do random unexpected tests all the time, not this half-assed excuse for a testing program. This quote by Roger raises new questions for me about Nadal.

Nadal used to have an inexplicably dumb playing schedule. He kept getting injured yet he kept playing every event in sight. This only points to one thing – money. Players like Nadal and Roger get obscene amounts in appearance fees. I stand corrected but I think Nadal received $1.5 mil just for showing up in Bangkok last week. We have always known Roger’s stance about this. He has always put his own health above money. If he doesn’t feel rested he will skip an event no matter how much money they throw at him. Nadal on the other hand can’t resist. Only after repeatedly getting injured did he finally start changing his playing schedule. Yet even now he still does it, as he is playing three events in three weeks in Asia. It’s called greed. And greedy people will do anything for money. They don’t care if they damage themselves, the people around them, or the environment.

It reminds me of that picture of the guy with dollar signs as pupils. Greed is truly the disease of mankind that has us on the brink of extinction. It is a terrible, destructive epidemic, and it threatens to destroy tennis now. Can you imagine if Nadal is in fact doping and it ever came out? It would basically destroy tennis. And as far as I’m concerned the possibility is now very good. I always thought it’s possible that Nadal played a lot of events because that is the way he stayed in form. But the fact that he has played less tournaments of late and did better than ever, shows me it was purely about greed and money. And considering what Roger said, this makes Nadal a prime suspect. He strikes me as the guy who would do anything to win and to get more money. This is now going beyond mere speculation. The more I think about it the more suspect this becomes.

I have followed Roger for a long time now and his main rival Nadal as well. I am more sure than ever that Roger is not doping, and I more sure than ever that Nadal is doping. Of course there is no hard proof still, but as far as I’m concerned my mind is now all but made up. Just look at the world around you. You have corruption everywhere. You have to look no further than world governments and corrupt politicians. It starts at the top and rots all the way down to the bottom. But it’s , mostly people who already have a lot of power that is corrupt. Or trhey have gotten to where they are through corruption. As they say, power corrupts. I have no doubt that tennis is corrupt as well, and it’s truly sad. You have a guy like Roger who is totally in love with the game and would never do anything to bring it into disrepute, but he has to play against guys who cheats.

It’s just not fair. Yet still he beats these guys. Suppose Nadal is in fact doping. This would mean he damaged Roger’s legacy forever by cheating. Do you think the ATP would make it public if they caught Nadal doping? If not it wouldn’t be the first time. We already know of at least one guy(Agassi) who the ATP kept quiet, and there is almost certainly more. All of this basically makes me lose interest in tennis. If I ever find out Nadal is doping it would make me sick to my very stomach. It would mean Roger could already have 2 calender year grand slams and 22 slams, making him the GOAT by far. OK that’s enough. It makes me sick to even think about it.

Roger Federer


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30 Comments

  1. I think of this differently than you, I suppose. IF it ever comes out that Nadal is/was/has ever been doping, I don’t think that I’d be surprised because it has crossed my mind from time to time for years. I do agree that it would be awful for the other players who lost to him to always have to think “what if”. However, I am far more appalled when I think about this…what is Roger Federer is a doper? Let me state first that I do NOT believe that his is. However, I would feel more sick if the latter ever were proven true because then his legacy would be tarnished;the man who I supported and cheered for for so many years would, in fact, not be who I always assumed him to be, a naturally talented tennis phenom. And being a Fed fan, that would hurt far more than finding out ANY other player was doping, even if that did mean that Federer was robbed of titles by an opponent having some type of unfair advantage. What do you think? What would be more heart wrenching, finding out Nadal is doping or Federer? Of course, that’s just a hypothetical question because I’m pretty confident that Roger is as clean as a whistle :-)

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    Ru-an Reply:

    You honestly think Roger could bullshitting in that quote? Its one thing to keep an open mind, but you gotta ask yourself whether you are being a loyal fan here.

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  2. It’s the cost of principle in a corrupt world. If the price is that Roger doesn’t win as many majors as he could have won, so be it.

    Still Federer could be using. I don’t believe he is, but I honestly don’t know for sure.

    The sad thing is, even if he’s not, and if someone very prominent is ever caught doping, especially if it’s Nadal, there will always be some rabid haters who think that just because their favorite is doing it means everyone else (in particular, Federer) is too. And you can’t prove a negative.

    The entire image of the sport will be tarnished, not just the doper who was caught. Everyone’s achievements will be called into question–and Federer’s above all, because he has achieved so much and in such a spectacular fashion.

    Nadal has shown on many occasions that he thinks only of himself and his personal advantage, never about the community of which he is a part. If he is doping (and I continue to accord him the benefit of the doubt, because there is no proof that he is), I doubt he’s reflected on the consequences for tennis as a whole. Whatever works for him is good, even if it’s against the rules: on-court coaching, wasting his opponents’ time in pre-match rituals, or violating the time limit during serving. If the cost of his victories is that the entire sport of tennis is dragged down into the mud along with him, I don’t believe he would give that a second thought.

    Anyhow, Federer has given us so much already, I treat every appearance on court as a bonus. I will still enjoy watching him even if he were to never win another title (and I believe he will win many more before he’s done).

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Hi Steve, im surprised you think Roger could be doping. I go on my gut feel cos its usually right.

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  3. Loving Nadal´s pic, it speaks one´s mind.Nothing more to speak of.Ruan=genious!!!
    Doping controversies:Nadal-Puerta 2005.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I wish ;-)

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  4. I really don’t think he is. But I don’t know for sure, that’s all I’m saying.

    I think it’s really, really unlikely, given how conscientious he is about the sport as a whole.

    He is also very old-fashioned. He dislikes the Hawkeye instant replay technology because he trusts his own eyes. For years he disdained the drop shot because he felt it was a “panic shot.” Someone so stubborn and set in his ways doesn’t seem like he would adopt modern doping methods–which are, in addition to being newfangled, against the rules.

    My gut says he’s not, but like I said, we can’t be absolutely sure.

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    steve Reply:

    this was supposed to be a reply to Ru-an’s comment.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Ok. I just thought with all the good things youve been saying about Roger you wouldnt seriously consider that he dopes.

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  5. Of course I’m a loyal fan and of course I don’t think Roger is doping, I thought I stated that, pretty clearly. My point, to restate it, is that I WOULD NOT BE surprised, I WOULD NOT feel sick to my stomach (as you would) if I learned that Nadal or anyone else was doping. But I feel that it would be catastrophic to find out that Roger was a doper. Of course I DON’T THINK Roger is bullshitting in the quote and I don’t think I said anything to make you or anyone else believe that I do. MY POINT was that it would bother me far more to find out Fed was doping because I DO BELIEVE THAT HE IS CLEAN. I said to ask yourself how’d you feel if you found out he wasn’t, not to assume that he is and to accuse me of not being a true fan because I made a point that you think is absolutely impossible, because if we’re being honest here, it is a possibility. Its a possibility for every athlete in the entire world, like it or not. That is the reality of professional sports.

    So again, in summary, I do not believe that Federer ever has or ever would use banned substances. But it would be far more crushing to learn that he had than any other ever player on the tour, ever. Why? Because I am a true Fed fan. Period.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Ok then i misunderstood you. I just thought the point you made here were too obvious for it to be your real point. Of course it would be more disappointing if Roger was doping.

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  6. One thing is for sure, Federer is one of the most moral players out there. He wouldn’t dream of doping, he wouldn’t dream of accepting any excuses for doping.
    So, I have to wonder, if he thought Nadal was doping, do you think he would respect him?
    It’s so obvious that those two guys not only respect each other deeply, but also like each other. (Remember the giggling video?).
    I don’t think Roger would be able to disguise his contempt for Nadal if he thought Nadal was cheating. And Roger is also very intelligent and very perceptive.
    My conclusion is that Roger doesn’t think Nadal is cheating, his sense of honour would forbid him to be friends with a cheater. (Remember how he dropped Tiger Woods?).
    Roger has to know more than we mere mortals.
    So I think we should accept Roger’s verdict and consider Nadal innocent until proven guilty. I trust Federer.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Possibly. But Roger has been naive when it comes to Nadal. I think he shows him too much respect, or else he would not have been dominated the way he is.

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    MS Reply:

    Roger did not drop Tiger Woods ! I was surprised to see Roger still refer to Woods as his friend (post scandal) in some of his interviews (bringing up the name himself, not when prompted by a question on Woods). The fact that he didn’t shun Woods even when it would be perfectly justifiable to do so, speaks a lot of Roger’s class.
    Anyway, I don’t think there is a realistic chance for Roger to know for sure , with proof, that so-and-so is doping. He can only suspect like the rest of us, going by his quote above. Would a player who dopes take injections in the locker room or player’s lounge ?

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    TennisFan Reply:

    But Roger HAS accused Uncle Toni of coaching and Rafa of timewasting and he got a TON of flack for it. I think the Roger/Rafa “friendship” is pure PR. Same as the Sampras/Agassi friendship. We have already seen that Agassi can’t stand Sampras.

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  7. Let me add another word on my views on Federer.

    You know in this world most people are not what they appear to be. It’s very rare to find someone who is what he or she appears to be. To do that requires great strength of character and purity of heart, because in life there is constant pressure to put forward a false image of yourself in order to gain an advantage. You must really know yourself very well in order to not fall into that temptation.

    I believe that Roger Federer is one of those very rare individuals who is what he appears to be. In that case if he says he’s against doping he means it because he’s clean and you can trust his word.

    Because we can never be 100% sure of anything, it’s still possible that he is, like nearly everyone else, pretending to be something he’s not. I would be very disappointed if that turned out to be the case.

    But I really do think he is one of those precious few people who are what they appears to be.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    It would indeed be a damn shame if he was doping. Everything we love about him would be a lie. But like you say, its highly unlikely.

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  8. Ruan, if you ever found out that Nadal was infact innocent, would you feel bad for doubting him?

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Sure. But how can we know?

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  9. The ATP and the WTA don’t like air their dirty laundry in front of the news, and many things I’ve read about “secret penalties” convinced me that they might exist. Learning about the history of official cases and hearing retrospective confessions (McEnroe, Agassi, etc.) puts things in a differently perspective. The tests conducted by the ITF are shockingly lame and biased. It’s an explosive cocktail. And a scandal like a number 1 in the world doping would kill the image of tennis. A sacrificial lamb is offered now and then to the media (Karol Beck, Bohdan Ulihrach, Mariano Puerta, etc.) but there is no war on drugs going on within the ATP & WTA. As long as no independant organism is allowed to really test the players, no big name will be thrown to the dogs unless they do so themselves once their career is over. We will never know, at least nothing of importance. You can only make up your mind with what you consider evidence, because no official press release will bring any to you for many years to come.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Great comment. Youve pretty much summed it up in a nutshell. We will never know the truth because of the cover ups, so all we are left with is our own observations. To think there is no doping and cover ups is naive. And because they will never reveal the big names to protect tennis, we have no other choice but to make up our own minds.

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  10. instead of making up our own minds, we have a right to question things. But atleast we can give the players the benefit of the doubt for now

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yes, we can give the players the benefit of the doubt, but the officials.

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  11. Here’s another good reason to believe Roger is clean. He contacted the ITF to have doping samples saved for 8 years. Here’s a translation of a Swedish article:

    “Federer calls for tougher measures against doping
    Published: October 22, 2009, 10:13

    World number one Roger Federer calls for tougher measures against doping. The Swiss, want the International Tennis Federation (ITF) will save doping samples for eight years instead of current three months.

    SvD can today announce that Roger Federer contacted the ITF to get the organization to exercise the option of saving doping samples for eight years.

    As yet, the International Association of Athletics Federations, the only specialized associations that follow the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for example.

    “It is a question of cost and space, but more are showing interest in Federal saving samples for eight years,” said WADA’s vice-president Arne Ljungqvist.

    –That a person who Federer is making efforts to get a change to a position in tennis is an important signal, like Ljungqvist.”

    http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=sv&u=http://www.svd.se/sportspel/nyheter/federer-kraver-tuffare-tag-mot-dopning_3687813.svd&ei=Z9CvTIGqIMP7lwfpz9XmDw&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBUQ7gEwAA&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dhttp://www.svd.se/sportspel/nyheter/artikel_3687813.svd%26hl%3Den%26biw%3D1280%26bih%3D587

    There’s no way a doped up athlete would want his own urine and blood samples saved up to be retested when better methods became available. So the fact that Roger did this is pretty promising. One can also conclude that he believes some of his rivals ARE doping.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Tennisfan this is good to know.

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    TennisFan Reply:

    You’re welcome!

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  12. Of course Federer is clean, that is the reason we are proud to be Federists.

    On the other hand it’s impossible to run for 5 hours as fast as you can to later do it again the next day against Fed in a final!!

    It’s all fault of ToniGreed, that asshole corrupting our sport. I mean i can no longer watch tennis…it feels worse than the WWF.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Bahahaha ToniGreed, nice to see you superslam :-)

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  13. Once again there is a lot of assuming going on here and no evidence. One of your lines of reasoning about Rafa I particularly had some issue with:
    “He kept getting injured yet he kept playing every event in sight. This only points to one thing – money.”

    I must disagree. While greed is a possible explanation, it is NOT the “only” thing that could drive Rafa to enter in as many tournaments as he has:
    1. Competitive spirit: Rafa loves to compete, I don’t think anyone can argue with that. As Rafa & others have said, he enjoys the ‘fight to win’ more than the actual winning itself. This kind of competitive spirit could easily lead one to play in a lot of tournaments.

    2. Being the Best: This is kind of the same thing, but I must point out that Rafa has been questioned on his playing schedule countless times and as he always says “If you want to be in the top position you cannot play less tennis.” Rafa has a drive to be the best at everything he does and the best way he knows how to do this is practice as often as possible. This seems much more possible to me than him being greedy (a personal quality that his mannerisms or acquaintances have never so much as hinted at).

    I can’t really talk about the rest of your post, as it was all based on the assumption that Rafa is some evil manifestation of greed, and as I must say, it is easy to raise conspiracy theories about Rafa’s character without offering any concrete proof.

    [Reply]

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