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.”
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.