2017 Indian Wells This and That

by Savannah

The big guns will begin play over the weekend at the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, California. Women’s Main Draw play began March 8th and the men began play March 9th. Despite this being early in the tournament there’s been enough news to keep tennis fans not only busy but scratching their heads.

Let’s start with the Wild Card situation. The following players all received WC’s into the Main Draw:

Frances Tiafoe
Stefan Kozlov
Taylor Fritz
Reilly Opelka
Bjorn Fratangelo
Bethanie Mattek-Sands
Nicole Gibbs
Taylor Townsend
Danielle Collins
Irina Falconi
Kayla Day
Jennifer Brady
Donna Vekic

The only two who made it through are Bjorn Fratangelo who played a very disinterested  Bernard Tomic, and Donna Vekic, the only non American to receive a WC and the only one to make it to round two in what I assume was a competitive match. By that I mean her opponent was trying her best to win.

And yes it does seem as if she and her boyfriend are a package deal at majors these days. There were signs of relief from some tennis professionals when she made it through to the next round. I guess they were sick of the word “undeserved” being thrown around when she was mentioned.

I’ve been a tennis fan a long time, longer than I’ve been blogging. I’ve also been in the corporate world where a lot of underhanded shady shit goes on. That said I’m well aware that a Federation can grant WC’s to whomever it wants. We saw the same thing in Australia in January where only local talent got Main Draw Wild Cards (MDWC’S). That’s fine. Just don’t bitch and moan when your players are shut out at events in Europe. Sadly, most US players right now are cannon fodder for the top players. Their one dimensional games just don’t cut it against players who can actually strategize and construct points during a match. Let me take a minute to discuss one WC, Danielle Collins.

I’m sure she’s a nice person. She’s easy on the eyes and wears a kit that puts all of her assets on display. She’s been a NCAA champion two times. Sorry USTA, she’s not ready for prime time. Monica Puig made her look like a ball kid getting a hit with a pro player. She had no business in the MD of a tournament this big.

To be fair I did see some of Reilly Opelka’s match. He’s got a hell of a serve.

Random Thoughts

Usually it’s the WTA that’s getting dragged for it’s horrible draws. It seems that like everything else these days the WTA has been out done in that department by the ATP. By now you’ve all seen the mens singles draw. Speaking as someone who’s seen some cakewalks given to Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic the one Andy Murray just got beats all of them. Federer must be green with envy. What the hell were they thinking? I know, I know they want Murray to win here. Shouldn’t he have to play some tennis on the way to the Final though? Whoever comes out of the bottom part of the draw will be match tough. Sometimes that’s better than la-de-dahing your way to a Final. We’ll see.

What is the ATP to do about Tomic? Some commentators hinted that ATP brass was court side observing his effort, or lack thereof, against Fratangelo Thursday. I don’t think he gave a fuck. He roused himself to look as if he were trying in what turned out to be the last game of the match and made Fratangelo need five match points to win it. He gave himself away when a shot he made was called out and he challenged just for the hell of it. When it was called in he was visibly annoyed and put his hands on his hips and hung his head. That was the only part of the match I saw. Two things have to happen: Tennis Australia has to stop giving him money and the ATP needs to heavily fine him and start denying him appearance fees if he gets them. The only language he understands is money. He can live large all he wants as long as he does the work that his job requires. Will anything be done? I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Thanks to Alizé Cornet the WTA had to remove it’s horrible Tweet regarding an article that supposedly showcased how happy WTA players are to see a convicted doper descend from the heavens back onto the Main Tour. It’s bad enough that the headline bore no resemblane to what was really being said in the article. The WTA was forced to take the tweet, and the article down. Ms Cornet, who is out injured, also deleted her tweet. Of course nothing ever dies in cyberspace so if you didn’t see the exchange here’s a screen shot:

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Right now the doper and her team, along with WTA head Steve Simon, are trying to strong arm the FFT (French Tennis Federation) into granting her a WC into the French Open main draw. More WTA players are ignoring the gag order the WTA imposed and speaking out. Even Angelique Kerber said something against the doper being shoehorned into Stuttgart. ATP players have joined in the fray. They may get what they want but it’s not going to be pretty.

By the way Steve where’s that WTA streaming platform we were promised? Maybe less time should be spent trying to rehab the image of a doper and more time spent making sure your product is visible to the fans you still have? Fans shouldn’t have to resort to low quality betting sites to see women’s tennis. Fans shouldn’t have to miss almost all of women’s play except for one match featuring one of the Blonde Brigade from Canada. What a joke.

Also, don’t think we’ve forgotten that post congratulating Kerber on regaining the number one ranking while Serena Williams is still in place at the top. It was unseemly. Uncalled for. Disrespectful. But hey, keep pushing that doper!

End Note

Francesa Schiavone was never considered marketable by the WTA. She’s not blonde. She’s got an aggressive on court demeanor. Her on court noise was not considered that of a competitor like another players. Until recently, she’s been one of the top ranked players. Age has seen her performance level drop. But fans, including this one, watch her matches. After all the nonsense yesterday this was the saddest thing I read, and a testimony to how low the WTA has fallen and how badly it treats it’s players.

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Many of us tweeted our support to Franny. Let’s see what her tour does.

The Asian Swing 2016

by Savannah

Both the ATP and the WTA are winding up their sojourns in Asia. The WTA will return for it’s end of year events in Zuhai and Singapore while the ATP will end it’s year on indoor courts in Europe.

We’re several years into what is now called the Asian Swing, enough time to evaluate the growth of the sport especially in China. Japan has had high level women’s and men’s tournaments for awhile as evidenced by it’s “Prince of Tennis” anime cartoon. It’s the addition of China, and that country’s stated goal of adding a fifth Slam to the tennis calendar. As we know the Australian Open has rebranded itself the Asian Pacific Slam and it’s my opinion that the Australian Open isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Will Beijing, Shanghai or maybe Wuhan be upgraded? That remains to be seen. Of the three only Beijing brings both tours to one place. It’s also questionable whether a Slam so soon after the US Open is feasible. Travel stress would affect the players and the time differences will affect the number of viewers in countries that are outside of the Asia Pacific rim.

The other problem that stares you in the face is the lack of butts in the seats. The venues themselves are beautiful. Shanghai’s lotus style main court is architecturally beautiful and is my personal favorite but all of the tennis venues in China have their own “specialness”. The only thing missing is fans. These are huge stadiums and the visuals are horrible when the camera pans the venue and the fans are maybe two to three rows deep around the edge of the court, if that. It’s also obvious that the problem isn’t unique to one tour. Both tours have had their best playing to empty stadiums.

When thinking about tennis lackluster performance in China so far I remind myself about how the Chinese dealt with ice skating. Their first athletes in the sport were pretty bad but now they’re at the pinnacle of the sport. Right now it appears that the women are progressing ahead of the men but there doesn’t seem to be any one ready to make the break through yet. Time will tell. Until that happens I think things will stay as they are with crowds in Japan and to a lesser extent in South Korea but low attendance in China.

This and That

Not one, but two British newspapers weighed in on the shameful displays put on by World Team Tennis in regards to Maria Sharapova . If you haven’t read either article here are the links.

The first is by US based sports writer Andrew Jerell Jones.

The second is by a British bases sports writer Oliver Brown.

Not one US sports outlet found it in his or her best interests to call the event what it really was – a blot on the sport of tennis and a slap in the face to clean athletes everywhere.

Tennis Channel acted as if the suspended doper was coming back from an injury related sabbatical and not still serving a doping suspension.

Despite the disgraceful behavior by the USTA, the WTA and Head there is an individual who if it wasn’t for her status as the mother of women’s tennis would’ve been raked mercilessly over the coals by fans. I have no idea why she, or anyone involved thought this was the best thing to do for the sport they love. I just hope they all wnet home and scrubbed the dirt off when the event was over.

It’s one thing when a fan site high handedly bans all discussion of the subject. It’s another when the pro’s, who know better, try to help a doper sweep her offenses away.

©2016 Savannahs World All Rights Reserved

The Verdict Part 2

by Savannah

There’s a reason long legal documents should be read over a period of time. For a non legally trained mind the task becomes tedious – either you fall asleep or you get distracted by the latest foible of a favorite actor or singer, or immersed in a new television show.

Yes I’m copping a plea. I totally missed the tidbit of information buried in Paragraph 93 Section C of the CAS Report on one Maria Sharapova. I’m opting to post the whole of Paragraph 93.

93. In addition, the Panel notes that:
a. There had been no significantly publicized case of a Meldonium positive in
Olympic sports and no prior case at all in tennis;
b. The Player took a public position acknowledging that she took Meldonium
and that she accepted responsibility therefor, and she did so in a very public
way, calling a press conference, on her own, that brought worldwide
publicity to her case and to the use of Meldonium going forward;
c. The Panel gives no weight to the fact that the ITF later rejected her
application for a TUE to use Mildronate; that action in part precipitated her
appeal of the charges in this case, and so it could not be used as a basis to
justify a longer sanction as requested by the ITF.

Interesting isn’t it? Section C seems to say that Ms Sharapova tried to get what would be a post dated TUE for the ailments she claimed to be suffering from and the ITF wasn’t having it. It was after that rejection that the decision was taken by Sharapova and her team to appeal the ITF’s final decision.

I’ve also noticed that the CAS reached it’s decision based what can only be called bold faced lies. To the ITF Sharapova said that she failed to read the emails, the cards, or the notifications by RUSADA, her tennis federation. According to the CAS report no one tried to notify her leaving she and her agent (who was allegedly in charge of keeping her anti doping regimen up to date) in the dark. She’s now taking the position that she is a victim of an ITF vendetta aimed not only at her but all Eastern Europeans.

So where do we go from here? Despite the PR blitz by her and her fans she is still suspended and will have to serve out the remaining months of her now 15 month suspension. Will she be able to go back to using meldonium? If she does it’s my understanding that to do so would subject her to a second doping violation since the drug is still banned by WADA. Will she find a doctor to confirm her need of angina medication in the States and apply for a TUE based on his or her diagnosis of her health? Or will she compete PED free to avoid another ADRV?

There are more questions. Will the WTA fight to get her favorable draws? I think that’s a given. Will the ITF be intimidated by Sharapova’s threat to sue the organization?

There’s no doubt that the WTA still thinks of her as the face of women’s tennis. The fact that the WTA almost immediately issued a statement that basically said “order restored” while it still hasn’t let fans know where women’s tennis will be streamed in 2017? Talk about priorities.

It’s just amazing to me that an athlete, currently under suspension for a doping offense, is being treated like a queen by tennis media. Tennis, and the thousands of clean athletes who play at the pro level, deserve better.

The Verdict – And The Arrogance

by Savannah

These amazing paragraphs appear towards the end of the CAS Report on the appeal by Maria Sharapova of her two year ban due to doping by the ITF.

100. The Panel wishes to emphasize that based on the evidence, the Player did not endeavour to mask or hide her use of Mildronate and was in fact open about it to many in her entourage and based on a doctor’s recommendation, that she took the substance with the good faith belief that it was appropriate and compliant with the relevant rules and her anti-doping obligations, as it was over a long period of her career, and that she was not clearly informed by the relevant anti-doping authorities of the change in the rules. After
its de novo review here, the Panel has determined it does not agree with many of the conclusions of the Tribunal, except as otherwise specifically indicated herein.

1 01. Finally, the Panel wishes to point out that the case it heard, and the award it renders, was not about an athlete who cheated. It was only about the degree of fault that can be imputed to a player for her failure to make sure that the substance contained in a product she had been legally taking over a long period, and for most of the time on the basis of a doctor’s prescription, remained in compliance with the TADP and WADC.
No question of intent to violate the TADP or W ADC was before this Panel: under no circumstances, therefore, can the Player be considered to be an “intentional doper”.

The report is 28 pages long but I think that a reader can get the gist of things just by reading these words.

Let’s break down what is being said here.

The Panel wishes to emphasize that based on the evidence, the Player did not endeavour to mask or hide her use of Mildronate and was in fact open about it to many in her entourage and based on a doctor’s recommendation, that she took the substance with the good faith belief that it was appropriate and compliant with the relevant rules and her anti-doping obligations, as it was over a long period of her career, and that she was not clearly informed by the relevant anti-doping authorities of the change in the rules.

Word for word that sounds like the argument that the ITF rejected as unbelievable. Who are the “many in her entourage” who knew? Her nutritionist? Her coaches? Her doctors based in the United States? WTA medical staff? If anyone read the initial report it was clear that the only person who knew about her doping was her father. Sure her agent has fallen on his sword and taken the weight for not advising his client due to “personal issues” but the ITF panel saw that for the ruse it was and is. I wonder if he does the drug checking for his other clients?

If she felt meldonium was nothing more than aspirin why didn’t she list it on her medical forms? Why not tell your coaches and the medical staff you hired (or used in the case of the WTA staff) that you were taking this drug? Why didn’t you have a doctor in the country where you reside, the United States, assess your physical condition? In the original report it’s clearly stated that she relied on a prescription written in 2006 by a Russian doctor. No medical doctor worth his or her salt would allow an athlete to rely on a prescription that old without doing their own examination and assessment of the athlete. Hell, no competent doctor would allow anyone to self medicate for that long a period of time without the proper medical tests being performed. But here we have the man in charge of this hearing saying that “many” in her entourage knew. It’s a blatant lie.

They stick to the lie by saying that the case was not about an athlete who cheated but about the “degree of fault” that can be ascribed to a player. To quote:

“It was only about the degree of fault that can be imputed to a player for her failure to make sure that the substance contained in a product she had been legally taking over a long period, and for most of the time on the basis of a doctor’s prescription, remained in compliance with the TADP and WADC.”

Stunningly myopic is one way to put it. A blatant lie is what I will call it.

And yet they didn’t exonerate her. Instead they reduced the ban to 15 months. Some were hoping for her to be completely cleared. Some thought she’d should get a year because it “wasn’t her fault”. The hell it wasn’t her fault. Her PR machine created the image of a woman who was hands on in every aspect of her career, a woman who would make sure that unless she was being paid to drink water would remove the tag. A woman who called WADA when she was changing a vitamin regimen. But somehow this “strong woman” turned her most important career choice, what drugs she could legally take, over to her agent who has no medical training whatsoever and who became distracted by personal issues and din’t read the WADA notifications that began in September 2015. Talk about dereliction of duty!

The other amazing thing is that WADA is called out for not making a special effort to reach out to Eastern Europeans who took the stuff like candy. Really? Wouldn’t that be discriminatory? Why should one group get favored treatment over another? That this argument was accepted by the CAS is setting an amazing precedent. Going forward can’t an athlete say that he or she didn’t understand the notices because they weren’t given a special outreach due to some circumstance or another?

I suggest that everyone read both reports.

The ITF should’ve given her the four years they wanted to.

Oh, and what does the woman who benefitted from the mental gymnastics seen in the CAS report? Did she express her gratitude and ask that everyone move forward? No.

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Yeah. I’d call that arrogance.

©Copyright Savannahs World 2016 All Rights Reserved

Bethanie Mattek-Sands and DHEA – A Love Story

by Savannah

TUE-Gate is still going on. So far three top African American females and one lesbian WNBA player’s record releases have gooten the most coverage from the media. That said media obviously doesn’t understand what “out of competition” means or that an opiate (think heroin, morphine, oxy) would give no in competition advantage to anyone their mewlings can be dismissed out of hand.
What is interesting is that the press, with one exception, has ignored a much bigger story. It involves the US tennis player Bethanie Mattek-Sands and her attempts to get a TUE for her use of male synthetic hormone (testosterone) due to the imminent collapse of her adrenal system (kidneys).

Yesterday on a fan site someone calling themselves “Marlene” released a heavily redacted CAS hearing result on an athlete. We know it was a woman due to the conclusions drawn. We know it was an United States citizen because the doctor involved resides in Arizona. It soon became obvious who the athlete was since the TUE she requested had been made public.

The CAS report is a sobering read on how an athlete can try and game the system and how in the end, the system of checks and balances did work. The report is seventeen pages long so I will excerpt from the conclusions only.

6.15 In her submissions as part of the TUE application process and this proceeding, both Dr.
Serrano and Dr. Larrimer attributed the Appellant’s symptoms to hypopituitarism. Dr.
Serrano, in his August 17, 2014 letter to the 1TF TUEC wrote “{mjy initial opinion was
and still is that of hypopituitarism,” while Dr. Larrimer concluded in his July 25, 2014
letter, “Ida believe she has Hypopituitarism, “1

6.16 The Respondent challenged the accuracy of that diagnosis in its Answer and at the hearing, on a number of grounds, including submitting evidence that:
• Hypopituitarism is a malfunction between the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland. The
relationship between the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland plays a critical role in the
secretion of several hormones in the body, including the production of Cortisol through the
adrenal gland. If this relationship was malfunctioning, one would expect that secretion of
all, or at least several, of these hormones would be inhibited. The inhibited productions
would be demonstrable in blood tests. However, in the blood tests collected closest in time
to the Appellant’s doctors’ diagnosis of hypopituitarism, nothing indicates that any of the
hormones that rely on the pituitary gland, other than Cortisol, which as discussed appeared
depleted beginning in 2013, were at all deficient This is inconsistent with hypopituitarism,
• The effect of hypopituitarism would be that the adrenal gland could not function without
lifetime treatment. This is paradoxical to the Appellant’s doctors’ assertions that, under
the proper supervision and circumstances, the Athlete could been weaned off of
hydrocortisone or other Cortisol supplementation.
6.17 At the heaving, Dr. Serrano acknowledged that he was not an expert in endocrinology, but
conceded a number of the criticisms levied by the Respondent. He also seemingly
attempted to backtrack from his own diagnosis of hypopituitarism by suggesting that his diagnosis was based on Dr. Larrimer’s diagnosis of the same. Two troubling aspects of this position are that (i) it is at odds with his contemporaneous submission in which he
stated that his initial opinion, presumably dating back to 2012, was that the Appellant
suffered from hypopituitarism, and (ii) despite apparent rehance Dr. Larrimer’s diagnosis, he was Unable to offer any insight into how Dr. Larrimer came to his conclusion.3
6.18 Accordingly, there is serious doubt that hypopituitarism could be the proper diagnosis of the Appellant’s adrenal insufficiency, regardless of when said deficiency manifested itself, meaning that the Appellant has likely still not yet been properly diagnosed.4

C. DHEA and Symptoms

6.19 Finally, one matter that raises doubts about the appropriateness of DHEA specifically as a treatment for the Appellant, that has yet to be adequately explained by the Appellant or her expert, is the juxtaposition of the timing of the manifestation of her symptoms, her DHEA use, and her objective blood and salivary tests.

6.20 By her own account,^ B symptoms began in 2010 and continued on and
off for 2 years before she saw Dr. Serrano and before she was a granted the HC TUE in December 2012.

6.21 But as discussed above, the blood and salivary tests from September and November 2012, the period of time before the Appellant began taking HC, unequivocally show that the Appellant’s Cortisol and DHEA levels were within, or above, the reference range for her demographic. In other words, during one of the periods when the Appellant’s impairments were at their worst, her Cortisol and DHEA levels were not depleted, Without questioning the Appellant’s veracity in stating that she felt better while talcing DHEA, it is difficult then to reconcile the objective evidence with her doctors’ recommendations that simply increasing her DHEA levels back to normal level today should cure her symptoms (notwithstanding any other potentially beneficial medical reasons to do so).
6.22 Considering all of these points, the Sole Arbitrator must conclude that the lack of a clear diagnosis of an existing medical condition is fatal to the Appellant’s appeal.

6.23 Because the failure to adequately identify a medical condition in itself precludes the granting of a TUE, there is no need to address the remaining standards at this time. But nothing in this opinion should be interpreted to suggest that, should the Appellant undergo further examination and receive a verifiable diagnosis – which the Sole Arbitrator strongly
advises her to do – any treatment options are precluded, as the Appellant’s health is obviously of Critical importance.
6.24 In this connection, the Parties agreed that an abrupt termination of the Appellant’s HC treatment could adversely affect her health. As a result, she must be given some time to reduce her current intake of HC and replace it by a treatment that addresses her properly diagnosed indication, subject to the cumulative conditions for granting a TUE set forth in Article 4.1(a)-(d) of the International Standard. The Sole Arbitrator considers that the
Appellant would have sufficient time to achieve this by April 30.2015.
6.25 The Appellant must therefore be authorized to continue to take HC, at levels no higher than permitted in the Appealed Decision until the Appellant is granted a new TUE by the ITF TUEC, based on a proper medical diagnosis but in any event no later than April 30. 2015. For the avoidance of doubt, the Appealed Decision’s revocation of the DHEA TUE is confirmed.

If that is too much for you here’s my summary:

The unnamed athlete went to her governing body, the ITF, and presented documentation that showed she had serious adrenal issues and that she needed hydrocortisone to stop the deterioration of her physical condition. The athlete and her doctor then said that the HC was not sufficient and he recommended adding DHEA to her course of treatment. The ITF approved the diagnosis and proposed treatment and routinely sent the information to WADA where cooler heads prevailed and the addition of DHEA was denied. Further investigation showed that the original doctors statements were contradictory and the conclusion was reached that the athlete had still not received a proper diagnosis of what the root cause of her stated symptoms were. The CAS also asked for the athlete to pay for all costs associated with her appeal.

There were whispers about who the athlete was (don’t forget this report is from 2015) but no one seemed interested in pursuing the publicly available, non-redacted report until now.

You can like or dislike a journalist but when he/she is doing a public service you have to give him or her credit for what they’ve done.

In his report for the New York Times Ben Rothenberg not only named the athlete, <strong> Bethanie Mattek-Sands </strong> but revealed some information about her doctor. No one has challenged his report. Instead there’s been deafening silence from the ITF, the USTA and the WTA. Despite her TUE being denied Mattek-Sands played for over a year using DHEA, “an endogenous steroid hormone.” WebMD says the following “it functions as a precursor to male and female sex hormones, including testosterone and estrogen.”

Meanwhile the campaign to try and discredit the four women who were first outted by the hack continues unabated.

Tennis fans need answers. How could the ITF grant exemptions in this situation when the medical reports didn’t jibe with any known medical results. It’s very clear. If “A” is happening then so should “B, C or D”. If B, C or D isn’t happening then how can “A” be happening? It’s not rocket science.

Secondly how the hell wasn’t this made public and Mattek-Sands not receive some kind of discipline from her Federation (The USTA) or the WTA tour where she remains a top doubles player. If she was penalized in any way by either organization they’ve been very quiet about it. It’s situations like this that allow internet trolls to push meme’s saying the entire system is rotten in order to make one player’s situation appear normal and not out of the ordinary.

So what about it USTA? What about it ITF? What about it WTA? Are you all running around a room screaming and pulling your hair out by the roots? This report is over a year old and to this fan nothing whatsoever has been done to Ms Mattek-Sands. I wonder if the same “hands off let’s pretend it didn’t happen “attitude would have prevailed if some other athletes had done the same thing.

So far this is the only report that shows how an athlete tried to game the system. That the system worked in the end is small consolation.

©2016 Savannahs World Tennis all rights reserved

 

Why Now?

by Savannah

It’s ironic that three of the athletes who had their personal medical information leaked today were women of color and the one woman who wasn’t a woman of color is a lesbian. Make of that what you will.

Here is the WADA statement.

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Ironically the information released shows all four women: Simone Biles , Serena Williams , Venus Williams and Elena Delle Donne followed the rules and notified anti doping agencies of their prescribed use of substances on the banned list, mostly out of competition. Biles was and is being treated for ADHD and has a TUE (thereputic use exemption). No rules were broken. None of them are guilty of anti doping offenses committed during the recently completed Olympic Games in Rio.

If anything this shows that top competitors follow the rules and perform at the top of their abilities.

I don’t understand why this information has been leaked now.

© 2016 Savannahs World All Rights Reserved

Maria Sharapova Files an Appeal To CAS

by Savannah

During the press conference where she shocked to tennis world saying said she’d “made a mistake” Maria Sharapova indicated she would go along with whatever punishment was meted out.

As with everything else about Ms Sharapova that was a lie too. The world had barely begun reading the report when Ms Sharapova angrily announced that she would appeal the reduced sentence of two years for being unjustly harsh. This morning the Media Release below appeared from the CAS:

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In her appeal Ms Sharapova is asking that the entire ruling be set aside and that she face no ban or one of less than two years. Talk about big brass ones.

Publicly her team is saying much of the same thing they said before: Sharapova is disliked and envied for her fame and fortune and that the tribunal therefore biased against her. A lot of criticism has been directed against the tribunal for delving into her past by those still in her corner as if Ms Sharapova didn’t open that particular door herself. The pattern of lies and deceit is laid out clearly in the report and shows that everything done by her and her father led to her not being aware that her drug of choice was now a banned substance.

I’m not a legal expert and I don’t pretend to understand all the fancy Latin phrases used by that discipline but I can state the following:

  • Sharapova’s lawyer(s) are pinning their hopes on being able to appoint one member of the tribunal. What they don’t say is that they must choose from a list of about 353 people authorized to act in that capacity. These people are also closely monitored so that any attempted hanky panky shouldn’t happen. That said we’ve all read about what’s gone on with FIFA so what shouldn’t happen often does.
  • The “they’re all haters” argument seems to be in play again.
  • If either of Ms Sharapova’s requests in the appeal is granted it would mean the entire anti doping movement would have to start over from square one not only for her but for every athlete on the planet.
  • If she brings up new evidence the panel has the ability to exclude it if it can be shown that it could have been brought up to the initial tribunal before the judgement was rendered.
  • It’s unknown at this time if WADA, the ITF, and the IOC will appeal. They have until the June 27th to do so if they wish.
  • If Ms Sharapova is the only party to appeal the CAS can’t make the suspension longer. The ITF and/or WADA would have to ask for that.

Some are already talking about the breathtaking arrogance in the wording of and the request(s) contained in the media release. Added to the picture you get reading the initial report this is not adding to Ms Sharapova’s image.

Did she have to appeal? Of course she did. The sponsors that began paying her again cited her intent to appeal while touting the panels very narrow finding that her drugging was “unintentional”.

We’ll know the answers to all of our questions by July 18, 2016.

©SavannahsWorld 2016 All Rights reserved