Fernando Gonzalez drinks his worries away

Fernando Gonzalez has had a tough road back since his right hip surgery back in October of 2010. He was a 2003 finalist at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic, but he has yet to take home the title. Could he do it this year? Possibly, but don’t bet on it.


He had an intense two-and-a-half hour practice in the brutal Sunday afternoon heat, en route smashing three, count them, 3 racquets beyond repair. He was visibly frustrated with himself, his movement, and his overall form, and he took it out on his racquets. His coach was on him like glue during water breaks, telling him to change his placement or go for more on his shots. Jurgen Melzer in the court next to him even glanced over a few times in surprise, checking to see if everything was alright.

Although he is a former world #5, he is looking irritated and fragile on court. He is slated to take on another player coming back from right hip surgery as well, German Tommy Haas, in the first round on Tuesday.

At the Chef’s Challenge, a special event hosted by Rums of Puerto Rico, Gonzalez chatted up attendees and enjoyed the delicious Latin dishes. And then I caught him indulging in something else: alcohol. Does he seem to be washing down his frustration by getting his drink on? You decide.

Drink 1

Drink 2

Before his practice on Saturday afternoon, he couldn’t even get onto the court. The side door was deadlocked. The guy just can’t catch a break, can he?

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Loathsome Secrets Of The Come Back Kid – Agassi’s Confessions Trembles The World Of Tennis

I have been reading up on the the Agassi hype revolving his drug abuse.  I found it slightly entertaining to say the least. Please understand this: I don’t agree with drug abuse , but I don’t condone it either. To each his own.

One of the articles I have read asked the question as to why Agassi used drugs. Well there is only answer to that: Because it makes you feel good. It makes you feel that you are  above the other people. It gives you a feeling of superiority, euphoria and it lifts a heavy weight from your shoulders. That’s why people use drugs on such a large scale.  Yes, I included alcohol too. Simply because alcohol is a drug. A hard drug too. Even though it’s more socially accepted.

Was it really wrong to have Andre come out and tell people that he has used crystal meth? And that he wants people to learn from his mistakes? Hm, now that’s a tough question.  I would say yes but I have to partially agree with Greg Couch from Tennis Fanhouse.  Agassi indeed fails the trust test. And he fails it miserably.  In no other interviews he shows any remorse of ever using crystal meth. Now how is he trying to make up for his past mistakes? What are we supposed to learn from his confessions? And that’s where the PR comes in: You want to know? Buy the book. They are hyping it up a lot.

One particular sentence from the article by Greg reminded me of The Godfather scene where Michael Corleone offers the Bishop 600 million dollars for shares in Immobiliare.  But it only took 5 million dollars for Agassi to confess his sins. He sold himself out. A guy who has more money than he can ever spend in this lifetime. Hey, he’s got money for two or three generations.  And he sold himself out. That’s shameful. Especially with the world in deep economical recession. There are lots of things that can be done with 5 million bucks! So many people that can be helped.

If he wanted to clear his soul, to confess to his sins, then why did he need be paid $5 million to do it. – Greg Couch

But it doesn’t end here.

Many players , like  for instance Rafael Nadal, who are currently playing on the tour are saying that Andre’s confessions are damaging the sport.

All it shows, in my view, is the weakness of the doping checks from back then. The vulnerabilities of the system that were fully exploited. If you can get away with a silly and simple excuse like “They spiked my drink” then it only shows how easy it is to get away with drug abuse. No double checking, no extra verification, just a simple letter and you are off the hook.

Agassi admitted today that he used crystal meth for about a year or so. Or so? He doesn’t remember clearly but how do you get away with that?  How many doping checks are there on an annual basis? Or did he simply write more letters to the ATP Tour saying that his assistant Slim kept changing glasses when Andre went to the bathroom or so? You know, just for fun.

Perhaps they just took a hair sample from his wig to see how much drugs there was left in his body. Who knows?

Question remains:  Did the ATP Tour cover this up? Were they affraid to lose one of their main attractions ?  If so then the ATP Tour as an organisation has also failed miserably and managed to singlehandedly castrate the integrity of the sport all by themselves.

The ATP however released a statement that they can’t take any responsibility for a doping case.  Only an independant tribunal has that kind of power.

Reading the confessions , I think it’s good that he did what he did.  It shows that he is just as vulnerable and susceptible as the next guy.  He is, after all a human being and not just a poster boy for philantropy and tennis.

Cut Richard Gasquet Some Slack

 As you know by now, French player Richard Gasquet has been suspended for testing positive for cocaine back in Miami this spring.  I am by no means suggesting drug use is appropriate, only that this punishment seems a little harsh for him.

How many athletes use drugs or alcohol off season when they aren’t being tested, when they are away from the public eye?  That’s right.  You can claim they probably don’t.  Honestly, you don’t know what people, these role models, are doing around the end of tournament season.  All we know of these players is how they conduct themselves at press conferences.

Worse, why is there a double standard in sports that partying with alcohol is given a “cool” pass while drugs are “bad?”  For anyone wanting to make the argument about being a good role model for kids, I want to hear your side on why overdoing alcohol is acceptable for NBA and MLB stars at the same time when Michael Phelps gets grilled in the media over one pot incident, possibly losing huge sponsors.

Hollywood actors can make comebacks after a few stints in rehab and if Britney can return with a concert tour, come on, give Richard Gasquet a chance.  I personally would have banned the guy from a few tournaments until he cleans up his act.  Keep in mind, this is a young man who probably spends most of his life not acting his age to become a top player.  Cut him a break and see if he can keep his promises.  If by then, he is still doing drugs, that is when you need to think about long term bans.