Tennis players shun Spanish doctor

Tennis players shun Spanish doctor

PARIS (AP) The owner of a leading tennis academy in Spain that trained some of the sport's stars says its players have stopped working with a doctor banned by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency for helping riders on Lance Armstrong's cycling team dope.

Pancho Alvarino told The Associated Press the relationship between his TenisVal academy and doctor Luis Garcia del Moral ``started approximately 14-15 years ago.''

That overlaps with del Moral's work for the U.S. Postal Service cycling team. The USADA says del Moral helped to implement a ``team-wide doping program'' as a doctor for USPS from 1999-2003, when Armstrong won the first five of seven Tour de France titles that have been stripped from him for doping.

The USADA handed the doctor a lifetime sports ban in July. Del Moral criticized the agency's proceedings and said he never witnessed organized doping at USPS.

Replying by email to questions from the AP, Alvarino said ``many of our players'' consulted del Moral for preseason blood tests, strength tests and for injuries. He said TenisVal used the information to tailor specific training programs for each player.

If there had been any indication that del Moral was doping academy players, ``I would have denounced the doctor, as well as the player,'' Alvarino said.

He indicated the academy has now severed the link with del Moral. ``After Armstrong's news, no player from TenisVal has (had) contact or any kind of relationship with him,'' he wrote.

Players paid the doctor's clinic directly, Alvarino said, adding that TenisVal coaches always accompanied players on visits to del Moral. TenisVal and del Moral's clinic are both in Valencia, on Spain's east coast.

``Dr. Del Moral has been always a very important personality in sports medicine in Valencia and he has worked with many sports people and sports teams from many countries, as everybody knows,'' wrote Alvarino, a former player, and captain of Spain's first Fed Cup-winning team, in 1991.

Sara Errani of Italy, the losing finalist in women's singles at the 2012 French Open, said in September that del Moral ``was the best doctor in Valencia for everything, so I have been working with him, of course.''

Errani added she would no longer consult him because ``his name is not (a) good name.''

Former top-ranked woman Dinara Safina of Russia also consulted del Moral when she was at TenisVal. Russian website Sport Express last month quoted Safina as saying del Moral ``has the only real clinic in Valencia where athletes can undergo tests before the beginning of the season and at the end. And we underwent the tests in this clinic. We ran on the treadmill, they took blood samples from our ears, and so on.''

``Del Moral gave us no advice whatsoever and did not handle our cases,'' Sport Express quoted Safina as saying. ``I have nothing to be afraid of. I'm clean.''

The manager of the International Tennis Federation's anti-doping program, Stuart Miller, said he investigated del Moral's work in tennis in the wake of the USADA's ban.

The ITF ``interviewed Sara Errani, among others,'' Miller told the AP. Citing confidentiality requirements, he wouldn't reveal details of the investigation or say if the ITF determined whether del Moral helped players to dope.

``If there's a case where somebody has breached the rules, it will be publicly reported,'' Miller said. ``So you can draw what conclusions you like from that.''

Del Moral has disputed the USADA's evidence against him.

In a statement posted last month on the website of the Valencia clinic where he works, he said: ``During the years that I was with the medical team of U.S. Postal I never was witness to doping organized by the team, nor of course any that I (supposedly) facilitated or promoted.''

``Beyond a doubt, I have not participated in any doping ring, nor has it been proven,'' the statement said.

In affidavits, former Armstrong teammates told the USADA that del Moral drew up doping plans, injected them and supplied them with the banned blood-boosting hormone EPO as well as testosterone, human growth hormone and cortisone, and helped extract and re-infuse blood for banned performance-enhancing transfusions.


Associated Press writers Angela Charlton in Paris and Joseph Wilson in Barcelona contributed to this report.

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Need to Know: A good sign for the Redskins’ running game?

Need to Know: A good sign for the Redskins’ running game?

Here is what you need to know on Sunday, August 19, five days before the Washington Redskins host the Broncos in their third preseason game. 

Talking points

A year ago, there was tremendous concern about the Redskins’ rushing game. In their first two preseason games in 2017 when the games were the Redskins’ first-team offense against the other team’s starters on defense, Washington gained 13 yards on 13 carries. In the first halves of those games, which were played mostly with players on both sides who would end up making the roster the total was 21 attempts for 20 yards. 

At the time, the company line was to downplay the problems. 

“I’m just not worried,” said Trent Williams.

“It’s going to take time and it’s going to take plus-one, plus-two, negative-one, then you get a plus-eight. And things to pop. It’s attrition. Nothing’s going to happen just because you want it to.”

As we now know, the Redskins rushing game never really got going. Certainly, injuries to backs Rob Kelley and Chris Thompson and to the entire offensive line contributed heavily to their No. 27 ranking in rushing yards. But a look at the preseason could indicate that the building blocks for an effective rushing game just weren’t in place. 

Things are looking better this year. In two preseason games, the Redskins have rushed for 216 yards. In the first halves of the games, they have 31 attempts for 109 yards. That’s not a great average (3.5 yards per carry) but it is a vast improvement on the sub-one yard per carrying average they had through two games last year. 

Let’s not get carried away here. Preseason numbers aren’t rock-solid indicators by any stretch and even if they were we are looking at a small sample size. Still, the preseason stats are what we have to look at right now. We will see how things develop.  

Bureau of statistics

In 2017 the Redskins averaged 123 rushing yards per game in their first five games. In their last 11 games, they averaged 76 per game. 

On the record

Jay Gruden on the returns of RBs Byron Marshall and Samaje Perine from ankle injuries: "There are no reports really, we'll just wait and see. Every injury is different, and we'll play it by ear and see how long it takes . . . The injury report will come out Week 1 on - when is it, Wednesday? And there you have it."

Comment: Yes, this really was Gruden and not Bill Belichick. The whole organization has been tighter with injury information in general this year. We’re getting a lot of descriptions like “lower leg” rather than ankle or toe. If that’s the way they want to do business that’s fine but be advised as a fan that you are not going to get much information. 

The agenda

Today: Practice at Redskins Park 1:50; Jay Gruden news conference and player availability after practice, approx. 3:00

Upcoming: Preseason Broncos @ Redskins (Aug. 24) 5 days; Final cut (Sept. 1) 13 days; Season opener @ Cardinals (Sept. 9) 21 days

In case you missed it

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, and follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS and on Instagram @RichTandler

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After releasing Martez Carter the Redskins are thin at running back

Associated Press

After releasing Martez Carter the Redskins are thin at running back

The Redskins are very thin at running back right now. 

Today at practice the Redskins had three running backs on the field. Rob Kelley and Kapri Bibbs are fully healthy while Chris Thompson is limited as he recovers from a broken leg he suffered last November. 

Injuries have hit the depth at running back. The most recent casualty was Martez Carter, who was waived with an injury designation. 

The move was surprising since Carter had some good runs against the Jets during their preseason game on Thursday and he did not appear to be injured during the game. 

Coach Jay Gruden did not offer any more details as to what the injury to Carter was, only that he is no longer with the team. 

Also sidelined with lower leg injuries are Samaje Perine and Byron Marshall. According to media reports, Perine will be out one week and Marshall for two to four. Gruden would not confirm the timelines, saying only that they are undergoing treatment and the timetable for their returns in unknown. 

The Redskins will bring in some running backs to try out on Sunday. They will need at least one and probably two in order to get through the upcoming preseason game against the Broncos on Friday. 

In other personnel moves, the Redskins waived linebacker Jeff Knox and defensive end Jalen Wilkerson and signed offensive tackle Kendall Calhoun, defensive back Darius Hillary, and wide receiver Allenzae Staggers. 

More Redskins news

-Redskins vs Jets: Must-see photos from the game
-AnalysisFive Redskins-Jets observations

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, and follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS and on Instagram @RichTandler