Archive for November, 2007

US about to clinch Davis Cup title

Friday, November 30th, 2007

So the bad news (for me, at least) is that tickets to the Davis Cup finals in Portland sold out in 30 minutes, so I didn’t manage to get any access to the event this year. :( The good news is that it looks like the US is about to win the event.

James Blake held off feisty Mikhail Youzhny 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-7 (3), 7-6 (3) Friday night to give the United States a 2-0 lead over Russia in the Davis Cup final.

Blake’s victory got the U.S. within one win of its first Davis Cup title since 1995. Earlier, Andy Roddick cruised past Dmitry Tursunov 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 in the opening match on the hard court at Memorial Coliseum. MSNBC.com

In my opinion, it would take a huge upset for the US to not get the one needed victory to clinch the title.



Clement received offer to throw a match

Friday, November 2nd, 2007

French tennis player Arnaud Clement says he has refused money in the past to lose a match, but would not elaborate on Monday.

“It has happened to me, I won’t say where or under what circumstances,” Clement said after losing 6-4, 6-3 to Mikhail Youzhny of Russia in the first round of the Paris Masters.
“There was not a fraction of a second’s hesitation (to refuse the proposal).”

The 2001 Australian Open finalist feared revealing more about the offer could lead to reprisals against him.

“That’s why I don’t want to say too much about it,” Clement said. “And it’s for that reason that I won’t mention either the place or how it happened.”

Clement thinks lower-ranked players struggling to make an impact may be under more pressure to accept such offers.

“The problem is for a player slightly lower in classification (ranking) or in a certain amount of financial difficulty,” he said. “Even if he refuses, this can play on his mind during the match. It can upset him. That’s not the case for me. To accept something like that is to betray the sport.”
FoxSports.com

I’d think that if he didn’t report this in a timely manner, he did a disservice for people like Davydenko, who are now under suspicion.



Sharapova: View “Exhibit B” and lawsuit

Friday, November 2nd, 2007

The well-known lawsuit site The Smoking Gun has the soon-to-be famous “Exhibit B photo” of Maria Sharapova - well, it could be Maria Sharapova.

In case you missed my last post, here’s the summary - follow the link that the end of the snippet to view the actual photo (warning - there isn’t anything outright obscene about the photo since the girl is clearly wearing tennis shorts, but don’t click if you or your employer are easily offended):

A top advertising executive who allegedly enjoyed photographing the crotches of unsuspecting females, snapped a close-up shot of Maria Sharapova’s nether region as the tennis star posed for a Canon camera ad, according to a new lawsuit. In the complaint, filed yesterday in U.S. District Court in New York, Steve Biegel charges that he was fired by Dentsu Holdings, the giant Japanese advertising agency, after complaining about the photographic hobby of Toyo Shigeta, the firm’s CEO, who allegedly distributed the Sharapova photo to subordinates. Included as an exhibit to Biegel’s lawsuit, which alleges a variety of other lewd behavior on the part of Shigeta and other Dentsu executives, is the purported photo of Sharapova, which can be seen below. The image, Biegel contends, was surreptitiously snapped by Shigeta in April 2005 during a break in the filming of a Canon commerical at a tennis center in Key Biscayne, Florida. According to Biegel, a Dentsu creative director who oversaw the Canon ad campaign, Shigeta used a telephoto lens to take the “crotch shot.” In fact, Biegel alleges, Shigeta “proudly” gave him an electronic copy of the Sharapova photo…
thesmokinggun.com



Sharapova “crotch shots” are center of lawsuit

Friday, November 2nd, 2007

What… on… earth…

The head of a Japanese ad agency secretly snapped crotch shots of the tennis icon as she posed for a Canon ad in 2005, according to a federal lawsuit, the New York Daily News reported on its Web site.

Toyo Shigeta, CEO of Dentsu Holdings, snapped the pictures to satisfy his obsession with photographing women’s private parts, according to the suit filed by Dentsu’s fired former creative director, Steve Biegel.

“Taking closeup crotch shots of women is a personal obsession of defendant Shigeta,” Biegel claims in his suit.

Biegel, 44, said the company fired him after he complained about Shigeta’s propensity for pornographic picture-taking.

Biegel also alleges that he was forced to go to a bathhouse and a Prague brothel, where Shigeta urged the married Biegel to have sex with a prostitute.

And the alleged shot of Sharapova’s private area? It’s attached to Biegel’s complaint as Exhibit B.
Foxsports.com



Martina’s Official Statement

Friday, November 2nd, 2007

Throughout my career, I have always been open and honest with you.

I have been accused by an outsource testing company of taking cocaine during the Championships at Wimbledon. I find this accusation so horrendous, so monstrous, that I have decided to confront it head-on by talking to the press.

My weapon on the tennis court is and always was one single thing: the game, the ingenuity on court. And for this style of tennis, there is only one performance enhancer – the love of the game.
They say that cocaine increases self-confidence and creates a type of euphoria. I don’t know. I only know that if I were to try to hit the ball while in any state of euphoria, it simply wouldn’t work. I would think that it would be impossible for anyone to maintain the coordination required to play top class tennis while under the influence of drugs. And I know one other thing – I would personally be terrified of taking drugs.

When I was informed that the A Test I took following my defeat at Wimbledon apparently came back positive for a cocaine metabolite, I was shocked and appalled.

Acting upon the advice of my family and my management, I immediately took the hair test which can prove whether or not someone has taken cocaine. This test of course produced a negative result, the same negative result as all the countless doping tests that I have taken over the last twelve years.
However, the B Test from Wimbledon once again produced the opposite result – positive for a metabolite that apparently stays in the system for some time following cocaine use.

I immediately retained an attorney. Anybody who even attempts to take on this doping machinery alone has no chance.

The attorney and his experts discovered various inconsistencies with the urine sample that was taken during Wimbledon. He is also convinced that the doping officials mishandled the process and would not be able to prove that the urine that was tested for cocaine actually came from me.

However, this attorney and others have also pointed out to me that a case like this one can sometimes take years to resolve, especially if both sides repeatedly appeal the case and take it to the next level.
And this is the reason for my announcement. I have no desire to spend the next several years of my life reduced to fighting against the doping officials.

I am frustrated and angry. I believe that I am absolutely, one hundred percent innocent. The fact is that it is more and more difficult for me, physically, to keep playing at the top of the game. And frankly, accusations such as these don’t exactly provide me with motivation to even make another attempt to do so. I attempted a comeback after a three-year break and succeeded in winning three tournaments, bringing my ranking to 6 in the world. But in the meantime, I’m now 27 years old, and realistically too old to play top class tennis.

So now I’m standing before you, confronting the situation. Today I also informed my sponsors.
And so, considering this situation, my age, and the problems I have been having with my hip, I have decided to no longer play tennis on the Tour.

Upon advice from my attorneys, I’m afraid I am unable to answer any questions. My answers could insult someone and create even more problems for me. Therefore, there is only one more thing for me to do - to thank all of you for many years of goodwill, and also to assure you:

I have never taken drugs.


Hingis accused of using cocaine at Wimbledon; retires

Friday, November 2nd, 2007

Martina Hingis has stated that she reportedly failed a drug test for cocaine at Wimbledon.

“I find this accusation so horrendous, so monstrous that I’ve decided to confront it head-on by talking to the press,” she said Thursday. “I am frustrated and angry. I believe that I am absolutely 100 percent innocent.”

Hingis, 27, is the 1997 Wimbledon champ and a five-time Grand Slam winner. This year, she lost in the third round at Wimbledon to Laura Granville.

She said she was accused of taking cocaine during this year’s Wimbledon by “an outsource testing company.” She says her reaction was “shocked and appalled” when she notified that her urine sample had come back positive.

Hingis said she later arranged a hair test, which came back negative for cocaine. But the official backup “B” sample also tested positive for the drug.

The tennis star says her attorney has found “various inconsistencies” with the urine sample taken during Wimbledon.

As for her retirement, Hingis said: “I have no desire to spend the next several years of my life reduced to fighting against the doping officials. The fact is that it is more and more difficult for me, physically, to keep playing at the top of the game. And frankly, accusations such as these don’t exactly provide me with motivation to even make another attempt to do so.”
People.com

The hair test result is interesting - if all of these tests were performed by accredited labs and consistent with accepted procedures, it does point to a real contradiction that should be explored so that drug testing in sports can be shown reliable (or fixed, if it turns out it is not).