itf: zahlavova strycova suspended for 6 months for doping violation

Barbora Zahlavova Strycova - 2013 Doping Violation

The ITF announced today that Czech player Barbora Zahlavova Strycova commited a doping violation after testing positive for the stimulant sibutramine in a sample submitted at the BGL BNP Paribas Luxembourg Open in the fall of 2012. Zahlavova Strycova says that she had unknowingly ingested it as part of taking ACAI Berry Thin (for which she did not have a therapeutic use exemption). While the ITF does not dispute BZS’ claims, they’ve doled out a six-month suspension backdated to October 16, 2012 and will be in effect until midnight of April 15, 2013. This suspension will include forfeiture of ranking points and prize money earned  in Luxembourg and at her participation in the ITF Bueschl Open. (RELATED: Other tennis doping incidents)

(Photo Credit: BZS at a U.S. Open event in 2011 by Getty Images)

More: Full Release after the cut…

short balls: robert’s over and out

Next time, just grab a cup of Joe, Robert. American Robert Kendrick was banned by the ITF yesterday for one year’s time for testing positive at the French Open for the banned stimulant methylhexaneamine. Kendrick said the substance was in a capsule that he had taken to combat jet lag. Guess one day of energy equals one year off the tour for the world no. 105. The 31-year-old Kendrick will not be able to play any sanctioned matches until May 22, 2012.

From the Farmers: Tennis.com‘s Steve Tignor is of the belief that the new American-in-residence in the top ten — that’d be Mardy Fish – should set his expectations a little higher. The dude is sort of on a hot streak.

222 of ‘em. TSF contributor Jon Scott brought this vid to our attention on his Daily Spin column on Tennis.com. Yep. 222 winners at Wimbledon for Petra Kvitova. Captured in a almost-seven-minute vid. (Who has such time?!)


short(er) balls: Carmelo Anthony is added to a rather fierce US Open Kids’ Day line-up. Joining Melo is his wife La La, Kim Clijsters, Rafael Nadal and Bradley Cooper. Suffice to say we’re as excited as we’ve ever been for a day meant for the kiddies. | Tignor says that the tennis players are in need of a union. Agree? Might make for better bargaining in the future, eh? | Who is bringing the Tacchini brand back from the brink? That’d be Novak Djokovic, says Marketwatch. And fun fact: Sampras wore the brand early on in his career. | Blake Strode has deferred again from Harvard Law School. He remains in the hunt for a second straight birth into the US Open qualifying tourney via the National Playoffs competition. | Milos Raonic is recovering from shoulder surgery and hopes to be ready in time for the Open. Too bad Canada’s new no. 1 can’t make it to their always-fun Masters event. | We can’t get enough: more reasons to love Heather Watson. | USTA doles out $1.3 million in community tennis grants. It’s called grassroots, y’all. We dig it. | The World TeamTennis season wraps up with the Washington Kastles team ending a perfect season in Charleston, downing the St. Louis finals in the final. | Maria Kirilenko fails to catch the bouquet at Elena Dementieva‘s wedding. No one ever said she was good with her (catching) hands, OK?

(Getty images photo)

yanina wickmayer: you should go read “open”

Belgian Yanina Wickmayer — 13th seed at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells — was the last of her countrywomen to stand ground in the singles draw: wildcard Justine Henin was “upset” in the first round by Gisela Dulko; Kim Clijsters‘ plan to play no matches (save for the BJK Cup) between the Aussie ’til now failed against Alisa Kleybanova; and Kirsten Flipkens couldn’t hold her own against Elena Dementieva, who we’re hoping will take this whole thing.

Yanina fell to the Twitter-unfriendly Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez 6-4, 6-4 in the fourth round. MJMS next faces eighth seed Sam Stosur, who booted (coachless!) defending champion Vera Zvonareva from the tourney. (Draw: Women’s singles)

Wickmayer’s drug-related off-court battles are still in the air; she has an appeal pending with Belgian courts as well as with the Court for Arbitration of Sport. It could be months before rulings are handed down by those institutions. (Speaking of, the president of the ITF has been asked if anything’s going to happen to Andre Agassi after he revealed in his autobiography that he’s used meth during his career and lied to officials about it. Unfortunately, the statute of limitations is eight years and has already expired [just the right timing for publication?]. Thus, he’s off the hook.)

And now for the serious stuff: As usual, Yanina looked good in her Erke get-up, this time using a palette of blue and grey with pops of pink (and some graphics). See some detail shots (including her Nike shoes and her pink gym bag) — all after the cut…

hmm, kolya — is that “flour” in your pastry?

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Powder took some time out during this week’s Estoril Open to learn about a world-famous Portuguese cake: the Pasteis de Nata. Sabine Lisicki joined him for the tutorial.

Watch: Check out the video here.

Scoreline: Currently ranked 11th in the world (oh, how the mighty have fallen!), Davydenko entered the combined tournament as the second seed. He was upset by James Blake 7-6 (3), 6-7 (2), 3-6 in the semis.

And speaking of white powder, Frenchman Richard Gasquet has now confirmed an initial report by L’Equipe that he tested positive for cocaine during a routine drug test at the Sony Ericsson Open in March. He claims innocence and has begun compiling evidence to prove this to the ITF and the World Doping Agency.

We’re hoping he’s innocent and that the case gets dropped; two years of Gasquet-less tennis would just be too much to handle.

(screengrab from ATP)

short balls: maybe tennis should test for valium, sampras feels roger’s woes, help fight a forest fire, etc.

Venus on steroids: As part of yesterday’s presser, Venus Williams was asked to comment on the recent controversy surrounding A-Rod‘s use of performance-enhancing drugs:

“Umm, you know, I think tennis is a completely different sport,” she said.

“You have to hold your nerve, and I don’t know if there’s a drug for that.” Brilliant.

Meanwhile, the guys of the ATP are having a hard time adjusting to tour’s new drug testing protocol, being managed by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

The stringent rules requires anyone in the top 50 to report where they’ll be for one hour a day, making them accessible to drug testers. Miss three pop quizzes in 18 months and you’re slapped with a two-year ban.

Rafael Nadal, among others, has voiced his dislike for the new system, which was adopted in order to keep tennis’ status as an Olympic sport. “They make you feel like a criminal,” he said at the ABN AMRO this week. “Not even my mother knows where I am every day. It is very difficult to know where you are going to be tomorrow especially in a sport like tennis.”

Besides, winning an Olympic medal can’t get you an Aston Martin, right?

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Kick him while he’s down: Don’t put away the Kleenex box just yet, Roger — your former coach, Pete Lungren, is already molding Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov to be better than you. Would you like to talk smack about him, too? But it’s okay, Pete Sampras can feel your pain.

Fanatics can fight fires: Bid on a lot of tennis caps signed by Roger and Rafa — plus a poster signed by all four singles finalists from the 2009 Australian Open — in an auction by Fox Sports Australian that benefits Victorian brushfire victims. Bidding starts Friday; more info here.

BBC’s Wimbledon well dries up: The BBC will tone down its slam-related entertainment in light of the recent economic downturn. Great — the queues at the food stands will be that much longer. (OTB)

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(OT) Paul & Joe: These three tees from Paul & Joe‘s most recent collection are tickling Mr. Squid’s fancy. Pick ‘em up at asos.com.

sa watch: harshin' my melo

Bah. Marcelo Melo received a two-month doping ban after the ITF determined he tested positive for isometheptene at Queen’s Club earlier this spring.

The ban is usually two years long, but was reduced because Melo didn’t take the substance to enhance his sporting performance.

He’ll forfeit prize money and rankings points. Which is sad, since he and partner Andre Sa had a decent run, making the doubles semis at Wimbledon and the quarters at the U.S. Open.

(AP via ESPN)

russians, russian women, women, doping, tiger woods — everyone's getting dissed!

Is Age of Love really still on? My fault for staying home on a Monday night…

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Much ado about nothing: The Russian Roulette, aka Nikolay Davydenko, got an awful losing streak rubbed in his face after $7 million — ten times the average — was wagered in favor of World No. 87 Martin Vassallo Arguello beating him in a second round match at the Orange Prokom Open (Sopot, Poland). And not only that: the sitch has since turned into a big match-fixing scandal that has everyone from ATP Chairman Etienne de Villiers to Kolya supporter Roger Federer chiming in. Fortunately, the ATP follows due process and will allow the top-fiver to play at this week’s Rogers Cup while an investigation is conducted. Bonus round: Click here to read more on the different kinds of tennis sports betting.

From Russia, without love: La Russophobe calls the Soviet success at La Costa a bunch of hogwash.

Rafter d. Roddick: In the hypothetical head-to-head, the more athletic Rafter wins out. (411mania.com)

Unstrung screens at Kalamazoo: The Disney-owned documentary screens at the boys’ tournament. The film follows Tim Neilly, Marcus Fugate, Holden Seguso, Clancy Shields, Gregory Hirshman, Donald Young, and Sam Querrey from the 2004 Orange Bowl in December through the 2005 U.S. Open. (via ZooTennis)

Ok, we’ll bite: A “He said, She said” at North County Times questions what celebrity riff raff is doing to women’s tennis. Of course “he” backs up the glam; aside from the anomaly that is Anna Kournikova (and yes, we’re talking just about singles titles here), all the other model-quality players have proven their match-tough mettle: the always-fashionable Williams sisters have 14 Grand Slam singles trophies between them. Masha has two, and Serbian Ana Ivanovic has two Tier I titles (Berlin, Montreal) under her belt.

“She” calls the endorsements and red carpet appearances distractions. But these cross-promotions are a necessary evil if we want to keep tennis financially viable. Sorry to break it to you, dear. Money is a waaaaaaay bigger factor in professional tennis than what your ideals are letting you believe.

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(OT) Doping laws aren’t dope: Sports law expert Mark Hardie writes about the inadequacies of today’s anti-doping policies in a recent op-ed published in The Times. Those falling through the cracks include tennis players Mariano Puerta and Guillermo Coria.

(OT) Amex drops Tiger: I Want to Be a Sports Agent scratches its head over this latest marketing move.