An Few Questions.
February 5, 2013
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It’s strange to think that just a few months ago, about the only real coverage or mere mention of doping in tennis came via the long-standing website Tennis Has A Steroid Problem. Though I certainly didn’t agree with everything in it, the site was a must-read because it asked the questions that desperately needed to be asked and discussed what needed to be discussed.
Suddenly, in this unfamiliar post-Armstrong and post-Fuentes world, such questions and discussion on doping have conversely become difficult to avoid. Most recently in the form of an interesting article which touches on an unnamed female Croatian player or resident banned from the tour:
Doctor Luis Garcia del Moral is best known for setting up the doping system for the US Postal cycling team, he also had more than a decade of guiding tennis players at the Spanish TenisVal Academy. A tennis player my former company managed went to train at TenisVal some years ago – breaking her contract to do so. She returned to Croatia leaner, stronger and with notable skin irritations. It came as no surprise that a random drugs test found her to have taken anabolic steroids, amongst other banned drugs. She received a 6 month ban and went back on tour. The governing body of tennis, the ITF, were informed fully of what had happened, yet in the 6 years that have passed nothing has happened.
Naturally, I automatically put on my imaginary detective hat and began perusing t’Internet for Croatian players absent from the tour somewhere around mid-2006 or 2007. The only 2006 year-end top 500 player to fall into this category was actually the one whose name immediately sprung to mind due to the 10 month (initially estimated 6 months) injury break she took in April 2007; everyone’s favourite ball-pummeler (and Marcos Baghdatis’ wife), Karolina Sprem. Still, there is no available information that links Sprem to the TennisVal academy or Moore’s old company, so the player in question could possibly be a non-Croatian national.
Of course, the identity of the player in question is largely irrelevant. What is interesting is that this article touches on a female professional player failing a drugs test, being banned for six months and the ITF being aware of the case. Despite that fact, no Croatian player or resident has been publicly banned in or around this period. It certainly doesn’t appear on their anti-doping page. Who is this player and why hasn’t the ITF released this information?