American tennis player Wayne Odesnik pleaded guilty last week to importing eight vials of human growth hormone into Australia before a tournament in January. He has since become a pariah in the tennis community, earning public scoldings from Andy Roddick, James Blake, Mardy Fish and many others for drawing negative attention on a sport with a relatively clean track record when it comes to performance-enhancing drugs.
So, if Odesnik says he's guilty and everyone else knows he's guilty, why on earth is he being allowed to play at the U.S. Clay Court Championships in Houston this week? Because the ITF and ATP are taking a cowardly stance in terms of doping. For two organizations that have done fairly well in keeping tennis PED-free (or keeping up the appearance that it is), this is a disconcerting development.
Jon Wertheim of SI.com asked Barbara Travers of the ITF why Odesnik was still playing this week. She said:
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"Wayne Odesnik is entitled to due process under the Tennis Anti-Doping