Steroid use and tennis

Worse Than Match-Fixing Is Steroid Abuse In Professional Tennis

The Australian Open is usually a good time for professional tennis players, but this year, there is a black cloud hanging over the tournament. And it’s not just the alleged match fixing rumors buzzing about. It seems that drug use, particularly steroid use is a bigger issue than anyone thought.

According to The Inquisitr, Novak Djokovic reported that in the past, he was offered $200k to throw a tennis match. There is currently an investigation that says that sixteen players in the top 50 in the men’s tour are under investigation. Rodger Federer said he would love to hear the names of those who are throwing matches and available to take payments to lose. Both players, consistently in the top four do not want to be associated with any of these allegations. People want to know how high the corruption goes.

Vanity Fair reported that the bigger problem in tennis, bigger than match-fixing, is drugs in tennis, namely steroids. Tennis is still about finesse, but today’s game is really about power, and like in most sports, steroids give power. Most sports fans thing of steroid users as football and baseball players with thick necks and even thicker biceps, but it makes sense that there have to be some juice heads in tennis. A source close to the tour said that for now, only lower ranked players have been caught, but it’s a matter of time before higher ranked players are called out.

“A number of lower-ranked players have been suspended for steroid use, and in 2013, one marquee name was nailed: Marin Cilic tested positive for a banned stimulant and was suspended for nine months. (The suspension was subsequently reduced to four months after he convinced the Court of Arbitration for Sport that he had taken the substance by accident.) In 2014, Cilic won the U.S. Open.”

Rodger Federer said there should be more testing in tennis.

“I’m always surprised,” he said. “I win a tournament, I walk off the court, and it’s like, ‘Where’s the doping guy?’ Whenever you make the quarterfinals of a tournament, when the points are greater, the money is greater, you should know that you will be tested.”

But it has also been suggested that pro tennis has more to lose, and players higher up on the food chain are protected to protect the sport. Andre Agassi, in his memoir, said he tested positive for crystal meth, and it was covered up by the American Tennis Association.

“ATP kept the test result secret and accepted his claim that he had taken it by accident (not true), allowing him to escape a ban. Crystal meth is not a steroid, but this was clearly a case in which tennis officials decided that safeguarding the sport’s reputation and keeping one of the game’s biggest stars on the court was more important than disclosing the truth. Whether or not tennis does indeed have a major match-fixing problem, the Buzzfeed/BBC claim that tennis authorities have not been nearly as energetic as they should be in policing the game rings true to many observers.”

The Roanoke Times says that more than one player has tested positive for more than one banned substance, and illegal drugs too. Martina Hingis tested positive for cocaine. American player Wayne Odesnik tested positive for steroids.

“Bye bye Wayne — good riddance,” tweeted Andy Murray. Show over, everyone moved on.

French player Richard Gasquet tested positive for cocaine too, but it never seems to be a headline.

It seems that the accusations are just starting in the finger-pointing and accusations of cheating, and even tennis will not be protected.

Do you think there is troublesome steroid use in tennis?

[Photo courtesy of Julian Finney/Getty Images]