Tennis has a Steroid Problem

That’s not an assertion by me, it’s the name of a blog with a pretty straightforward purpose:

After the scandals of baseball, track and field and cycling, no one in charge took any responsibility – Not the athletes nor the “professionals” running each sport. There is an obvious problem in tennis. I first noticed this with women’s tennis, but now see the same with many men. Tennis players do not naturally build up large muscles. I am going to make my case for the fact that steroids (or HGH) are running rampant in professional tennis. Anyone who follows along the posts here and still believes that tennis does not have a steroid problem is kidding themselves.

The vast majority of the posts are pictures of really muscular tennis players, with some historical comps thrown in to show just how huge the players are nowadays. I’m not a big fan of the “look how huge that guys is, he MUST be ‘roiding” school of analysis, but if it’s going to be applied to baseball, I don’t see why tennis isn’t fair game too.

And really, on that basis, I think the pics of ripped tennis players here make a far more compelling case than most of the pics you see of baseball players.

(Thanks to Ethan Stock for the link)

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  1. Jeff Berardi said...

    Is it a sport? Is there a financial incentive to be good at it? Ok, then it has a steroid problem. I mean, really.

  2. MooseinOhio said...

    I think there is a misperceptions that all PEDs cause muscle growth because steroids have typically been used for that reason.  However cycling has been plaqued by PEDs, blood doping or some other form of scientific cheating but most cyclist do not have massive muscles, even leg muscles. 

    From my simple understanding of PEDs, there are a myriad of PEDs for a myriad of physical needs.  For example, cyclists tend to need PEDs that aid in fast recovery so blood doping was/is a common type of cheating whereas offensive lineman in football need power and went for the muscle/strength building steroids.  Customized PEDs lab like Balco tailored their products to the specific need of the athlete.

    So I can easily speculate that tennis players would seek a endurance based PED to allow them to 1) be fresher in the fourth and fifth set and 2) be able to recover faster for next match.  I suspect that many relief pitchers could benefit from a similar PED as they seek the ability to pitch multiple days in a row and to increase innings pitched per year. 

    Developing, producing and distributing PEDs is an industry that exists because there is a market for their services/products as evidenced by the historic testing efforts in track & field and cycling to the newer testing focus of the NFL and MLB and I suspect that all sports, if tested, would reveal a level of PEDs that would shock the purist but seem in line with the times for the realist.

  3. Sara K said...

    Kevin – it seems like Mr. THASP has an unholy obsession with Serena’s physique, thus the “large muscle” reference.  I think that the benefit of added power in tennis is similar to the benefit to pitching.  Without the ability to control the power, it’s useless, but a player with both power and control is going to have the advantage of the player who relies mostly on control. Serve speed, depth and speed of shots, ability to muscle a ball in from a bad angle- all things that strength would facilitate.

    Still, I assume that the bigger advantage of steroids in tennis would be recovery. You’ll hear a lot about whether a player is “match-tough” or “tournament-tough,” whether the player can keep the intensity for the duration. Sure, a lot of it is mental toughness, but having muscles that recover unnaturally quickly has to be quite a confidence booster. You’ll *never* see Nadal run out of gas.

  4. Greg Simons said...

    I admit I just scanned through the linked site, but it seems this blogger thinks no tennis player can have a cut physique without steroids.  Sure, tennis is just as likely as any sport to have PED users, as Jeff Berardi sais so well above, but to assume anyone with muscles is a user goes a bit too far.

  5. johonny said...

    I always wondered about Golf.  Players hit the ball further than ever before.  They are redesigning historic courses to play longer.  It’s the ball, the clubs, the new courses… sounds like the same thing people explained the power surge in baseball in the 90s until the most obvious reason was finally mentioned.  I think it’s funny people jump all over baseball, football and basketball but the more gentlemanly sports are completely ignored even though it’s pretty clear Tennis players and Golfers almost certainly gain an advantage taking performance enhancing drugs too.

  6. Kevin said...

    This is extremely, extremely simple logic, I know, coming from someone who really doesn’t know anything about this at all.  But…doesn’t the sentence, “Tennis players do not naturally build up large muscles” seem to imply that building up these muscles wouldn’t have a significant effect on one’s performance?

  7. Michael said...

    The simple equation endures:

    Young, often still-growing body + advanced nutrition + ubiquitous weight rooms + expert personal trainers + money = muscles.

    Although some athletes do add steroids into that equation, it doesn’t change the rest of the equation.

    This equation was not used before sometime around the late 80s. The vast majority of athletes stuck to sport-specific training and that was it.

    I mean, this is so elementary that it almost makes me crazy wondering how the sports media misses it. Maybe it makes them feel less like a bunch of lazy asses to think you can eat crap and do nothing all day, then poke yourself with a needle before bed and grow muscles in your sleep.

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