Scandal good for putting sport on front page
- Sue Mott, The Telegraph
Tennis was in the headlines. We did a double take, but there she was. Martina Hingis in November. And alongside her in the news, a male player who might have been a character in a Dostoyevsky novel for all we had ever heard of him, Nikolay Davydenko.
Neither had won anything. Far from it. The Russian has become infamous for losing, not winning. Already under investigation in conjunction with match-fixing allegations, which he denies, he was trying to account for his complete loss of ability at the overarm serve – quite a staple in modern tennis – which resulted in his early defeat in St Petersburg. His explanation was that he couldn't give one. He is, by the way, ranked fourth in the world.
Hingis was news because she had tested positive for cocaine at Wimbledon. Vast tracts of airtime and acres of print were devoted to a young woman who is normally riding her horses or swishing about on the court in anonymity at this time of year. The tennis administrators who have to deal with the fallout will not be pleased, and she denies taking cocaine, but our awareness of a sport that usually swims back into view come June has been suddenly and violently enhanced.
...Some sports, you feel, cottoned on to this phenomenon years ago. Mentioning no names, Formula One.
TENNIS star Greg Rusedski is in training for the new series of Dancing On Ice, TV Biz can reveal.
Greg, 34, has hired an ice-skating coach and is practising daily – even though the show doesn’t start until January.
His voice disguised, a supposed German tennis player has claimed on public television that at least two German tennis professionals were involved in betting scandals. The accusations have outraged the tennis world.
The anonymous insider, speaking to German public broadcaster WDR, said that some professional tennis players had raked in more cash by engaging in game-rigging than they would have by winning the tournaments.
He also claimed to have been offered a five-figure sum to act as a middleman in a betting affair.
..."It's time people started naming names," said successful German tennis pro Tommy Haas in response to the allegations, which he said may very well be true.
"No one has ever approached me [about fixing a match]," added Haas, who's played professionally for 11 years. "I would have blown their cover. Only relentless openness can shed light on this mess."
[a] You can argue cocaine is a performance-enhancing drug only in theory, given that it's essentially a social drug, most often accompanying a late night of partying... The International Tennis Federation also recently suspended obscure German tennis player Franz Stauder, 30, after he tested positive for metabolites of cannabis. The guy doesn't even have a ranking; his positive test came at a small event, the first he had played in nearly a year. Again, if there's any harm at all, it's only to himself. Where does it stop, really?
[b]...Perhaps Hingis remembers two years ago, when news that popular Russian player Svetlana Kuznetsova had tested positive for ephedrine was unfairly leaked by Belgium's sports minister. Never mind that it was during the offseason, at an exhibition (why were they testing there, anyway?) and that she was perfectly within the rules to take the cold medicine that led to the positive test.
[a] Picky point, but it's not the ITF's choice as such -- they're now committed to following the standard WADA list of banned substances; [b] The Belgian government did the testing there, not the ITF or the WTA
Federer Vs Sampras Showdown Sold Out -
Henin clear favorite at WTA Championships - Matthew Cronin, Foxsports
In her last tournament in Zurich, she retired down 6-0, 3-0 to Patty Schnyder. She's put her yeoman's hat on this fall, traveling to Stuttgart, Moscow and Switzerland to get some necessary work in, but she's been troubled by an adductor strain and may not have the legs to go hard in five matches over six days.
"After what Serena did in Australia, I'll never count her out, but she's not staying in rallies like she did then and has lost some confidence," Austin said. "Still, she'll be motivated to try and get an edge on Henin again, so I expect her to fight hard. But will she be physically up to the weekend test if she has to battle hard in three matches? We'll know by Saturday."
Here's the current state of tennis in a thimble: During a changeover at the Paris Masters last week, a player in the midst of a dismal straight-sets defeat actually found himself being lectured by the chair umpire … on how to serve.
Nicolas Lapentti defeats younger brother Giovanni 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 in the first round of the Guayaquil challenger
Nalbandian's physio Diego Rodriguez tells Argentine website Fue Buena that Nalbandian has turned down the offer to go to Shanghai in case someone pulls out. Nalbandian finished in ninth place in the ATP points race to Shanghai and would have been the next player into the field if one of the 8 qualifiers pulled out. "We talked to Roddick's manager, and he assured us that Roddick will not skip the Masters [Cup]," said Rodriguez, adding that Davydenko's agent indicated Davydenko was also planning to play. "As a result, we don't want David to take physical risks and prefer not to travel... We don't want the same thing to happen to us as in 2006, when because of certain commitments, David was not able to do his pre-season [training]."
...Kim Clijsters' mother Els is also expecting a child, report Belgian news services. "It's not an accident, on the contrary," said Els Vandecaetsbeek, who is 14 weeks pregnant. The father is golf pro Jan Goossens. "We've wanted a baby for a long time. We're very happy." Clijsters is expecting her first child early next year.
...Nieminen will be off the tour for six months while he completes military service in Finland.
Climbing Back: Mashona Washington Returns To Challengers - Tennis Week
. However, while competing against Belgium in a 2006 Fed Cup quarterfinal match, Washington suffered an injury which reversed her good fortune in an instant.
"I was running up to the net full force and broke off cartilage in my left knee when I fell," Washington remembers. "It didn’t hurt too much at the time, but I immediately knew something wasn’t right."
The injury instantly stalled her career. Two days after the incident, Washington visited her doctor in Texas; three days later, she underwent knee surgery to repair the damage. It would be 15 months before Washington returned to professional tennis.
Tennis star Sania Mirza on her
time off is doing more than just relaxing. Sania is to appear in an ad
campaign of her home town Hyderabad's municipal corporation, designed to
motivate voters to seek voter Id cards.
"I've had asthma for a few months now and I felt very bad in New York at the end of the (U.S. Open), so Beijing, I was really concerned about that," Henin said Monday at the Sony Ericsson Championships. "I was pretty disappointed because I wanted to play the (China Open) and get used to the conditions."
..."It's true that Beijing is going to be tough with the Olympic Games with the problem I have," Henin said. "But now it seems that everything is under control, which is important because the Olympic Games remain a very important goal for me in 2008."
Bryan brothers pull out of Tennis Masters Cup - AP
"I am a working man and I do not go back" - SportsYA
When interviewed by Radio del Plata, the Argentinian was somewhat more aggressive to those that had accused him: "There is no proof against Davydenko, myself, or any other player whatsoever, and I am not to judge until there appears such specific proof."
"No one has ever tried to fix that match [the one against British Richard Bloomfield] or any other. I am a working man who lives at his parents-in-law home and who drives over an hour to train. Given the amount of money this issue involves, I would not be contemplating a lease, but I would have my own place," said the seed to Radio del Plata.
>> " I am a working man who lives at his parents-in-law home and who drives over an hour to train." The most convincing alibi yet.
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