It's time to, as they say, "move on."
My final thoughts on firestorm my last two posts created are:
I never accused Nadal of anything except skipping one of the year's four preeminent tournaments for reasons that are somewhat baffling (Insoles. Insoles?).
At the same time, I absolutely, 100 percent insist that nobody in tennis is above suspicion these day when it comes to doping. Not Federer, not Roddick, not Nadal. And reserving the right to harbor suspicions is very different from making an accusation. And this isn't my personal crusade; tennis has brought this upon itself. Check out Kamakshi's post in Court Coverage re. Sesil Karatantcheva's "defense" (you have to scroll down to the "websites" header to find it, but stop and sample on the way!).
Here's another thing. I have both a desire and obligation to share with my readers the burning issues of the day in tennis—both in the public arena, and also in the trenches of the game. Trust me. Doping is a hot, hot topic. It is what people are talking about. And you have every right to know that.
On a more personal level, I feel that I owe it to the Doping Argies, on whom I've been relentlessly tough, to make sure that I—or anyone else—doesn't turn them into convenient scapegoats for a sport that may have a far larger and more comprehensive problem.
It's official. Our game is one in which a 16-year-old girl has been busted for taking PEDs . . . . What do you want me to do, make it the Doping Argies and Bulgar and go my merry way?
But let's give it a rest for now, kick back and enjoy the Australian Open. You know I'm going to get some of your noses out of joint in the next few weeks (remember, I'll be blogging live from Melbourne for Week Two of the AO), but don't for a minute think I underestimate how difficult it is for the players—all the players—and how easy it is for the critics, myself included.
So I leave you for now with the quote I like to ponder before the onset of every major event.
It is not the critic who counts, not the one who points out how the strong man stumbled or how the doer of deeds might have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred with sweat and dust and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, if he wins, knows the triumph of high achievement; and who, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.