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On Wayne Odesnik: A Thing of the Past

If you haven’t heard the news, the infamous, and now “retired,” American tennis player Wayne Odesnik received a 15-year ban from professional tennis for committing a “second Anti-Doping Rule Violation.” For those of you unfamiliar with the Odesnik story, the polarizing American pleaded guilty to importing human growth hormone into Australia and was banned for two years in March of 2010. The ITF later reduced his ban to one year after striking a deal with the federation and assisting the program.

The hammer came down on Wednesday, with this official decision appearing on the ITF website:

Mr. Odesnik, a 29-year-old player from the USA, provided an out-of-competition urine sample to USADA on 14 December 2014, and further samples to the ITF (on behalf of the Programme) on 17 December 2014 and 12 January 2015. Those samples were sent to WADA-accredited laboratories in Salt Lake City, USA and Montreal, Canada for analysis, and were found to contain one or more of: metabolites of methenolone; metabolites of androst-(2,3)-en-17-one; and GHRP-6. All are Prohibited Substances under the 2014 and 2015 WADA List of Prohibited Substances.

Mr Odesnik’s commission of an Anti-Doping Rule Violation under Article 2.1 of the Programme was confirmed, which was his second such violation, having been sanctioned in 2010 for the possession of human growth hormone. It was, therefore, determined that he is suspended from participation for a period of 15 years, back-dated to commence from 30 January 2015, and so ending at midnight on 29 January 2030. It was also determined that Mr Odesnik’s results at the Happy Valley Challenger event, Australian Open and Maui Challenger event should be disqualified, with forfeiture of the ranking points and prize money that he won at those events. (ITF)

Following the announcement of Odesnik’s suspension, the American released a statement announcing his retirement from ATP World Tour “effective immediately.” Odesnik’s also said that his most recent tests were the result of “unknowingly ingesting a contaminated over-the-counter supplement.”

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Whether this – much like most of what Odesnik’s maintained in his career – is true, we don’t know. Odesnik has obviously not proven himself as a trustworthy individual, so it’s unlikely anyone will quickly be latching on to the validity of these claims.

Odesnik, who had already deceived the tennis world once before and was fortunate to receive a second chance, did it all over again. Clearly, this is a man with zero remorse. The lack of ethics for someone who was given a golden opportunity to rectify his mistakes and undo his past regressions is shocking.

He slighted everyone.

He slighted his opponents, against whom he had an unfair advantage over during matches where they were competing for valuable points and prize money. And it certainly seems they won’t miss him.

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He slighted the fans, who use their hard earned money to watch tennis matches between players who they presume are competing fairly.

He slighted the tournaments around the world that allowed him to make a living playing tennis.

And of course, he slighted the sport of tennis altogether. There’s no way of defending Odesnik and those who attempt to will be deservedly ignored. The last memory – for as long as it lasts, that is – of Odesnik on a tennis court is fitting: a blatant tank in his final professional match.

Odesnik also said “the contaminated product is currently with an independent accredited testing laboratory in California for further testing at my own expense.” Why this needs to happen is beyond me. The ITF already did the appropriate testing, so I’m not sure why Odesnik believes getting the product tested himself will yield different results or change the ITF’s decision.

At this point, we should all be thankful that Odesnik never turned into a great player. We should be grateful that this is a player who only reached a career high ranking of No. 77 in the world. His cheating only took him so far and had he been someone like Lance Armstrong – whose cheating reshaped the entire sport of cycling – the tennis world would look a lot different than it did 24 hours ago.

The fact that Odesnik was likely a player that no kids looked up to should be considered a godsend. The last thing young tennis players around the world need is one of their heroes being revealed as a fraud and a deceiver.

He is a cheater.

He is a liar.

He is a disgrace to professional tennis.

Most importantly, he is a thing of the past.

But what does that mean for the future?

About Nick Nemeroff (66 Articles)
21-year-old NYU student. Passionate about playing tennis, coaching tennis, and writing about tennis. Feel free to contact me at any time!

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