From the files of "I thought I have heard it all," comes the story that former world number one Marcelo Rios has received the backing of the Chilean Tennis Federation to request that the ITF investigate Petr Korda for doping during the 1998 Australian Open. While it's almost comical that Rios believes somehow an investigation will result in him being awarded the Grand Slam title after 17 years, it's not close to the absurdity of the excuses by tennis players for positive drug tests.
Let's start with Korda who tested positive during Wimbledon for the banned steroid Nandrolone and told a tribunal he didn't know how it got into his system. He was allowed to play the Australian Open while his case was under review and later explained the drug came from eating too much steroid-fed veal. Since he would have had to eat a veal chop the size of a Buick to test that high, it's unlikely.
Last year's U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic was suspended two years ago for a positive test of the stimulant Nikethamide. He claimed his mother accidentally gave him the drug. I believe his dog also ate his homework.
My favorite excuse for a positive drug test comes from the Frenchman Richard Gasquet who claimed his positive test for cocaine was from kissing a girl at a nightclub. The French do play with flair.
Rios did not a have reputation for being a very nice guy during his playing days.
My hope is that they investigate both players.
Steven Kaplan is the owner and managing director of Bethpage Park Tennis Center, as well as director emeritus of Lacoste Academy for New York City Parks Foundation and executive director and founder of Serve & Return Inc. Steve has coached more than 1,100 nationally-ranked junior players, 16 New York State high school champions, two NCAA Division 1 Singles Champions, and numerous highly-ranked touring professionals. Many of the students Steve has closely mentored have gone to achieve great success as prominent members of the New York financial community, and in other prestigious professions. In 2017, Steve was awarded the Hy Zausner Lifetime Achievement Award by the USTA. He may be reached by e-mail at StevenJKaplan@aol.com.