Loud cries of innocence to fall on deaf ears in a sceptical world

Greg Rusedski pleads innocent, says that he will fight with every unenhanced fibre to prove it is so. But he will have to understand, as will the legion of his tennis friends and officials who came bursting to his defence last night, that we have learned to be a little sceptical of such declarations.

Greg Rusedski pleads innocent, says that he will fight with every unenhanced fibre to prove it is so. But he will have to understand, as will the legion of his tennis friends and officials who came bursting to his defence last night, that we have learned to be a little sceptical of such declarations.

He says that it is a situation of great complexity but that he will make an unanswerable case for himself at his hearing in Montreal next month.

The problem is the world-weariness that attaches itself to every case of positive testing. Nandrolone can be absorbed into the body through dietary supplements, and it is an argument of defence which was mounted most strongly a few years ago when Linford Christie, the hero of the nation, swore that he too was innocent.

But there was a terrible backlash then from one the great pariahs of world sport, Ben Johnson, who was stripped of his gold medal at the Seoul Olympics when Christie, who had survived a positive test, collected silver. The fury of Johnson was terrible to behold. He said that so much of sport was hyprocritical, and that his greatest crime was to be caught.

After a rash of nandrolone positives, the Canadian authorities, whose Dick Pound is now the head of the world drug testing body, issued a warning that cut through the defence of contamination of supplements and the hazards such aids to fitness presented. The word was hard and serves as an immovable rule of thumb: a sportsman is responsible for his own body - and what he allows to enter it.

Of course the Rusedski affair has the effect of another fire-bomb on the morale of British sport... coming so soon after the positive test of the sprinter Dwain Chambers and the denial of so much of English football in the case of Rio Ferdinand.

At 30 Rusedski has been fighting to rescue his career and recover from injury; the suspicion he must overcome, is that he sought artificial assistance. Tennis must examine his situation with maximum concern because in one man's guilt or innocence a whole sport's credibility can hang.

All of sport is tainted by suspicion and now there may just be some reflection in high-powered football circles about the devastating effect of so much of the reaction to the eight-month banning of Ferdinand for failing to take a drugs test.

Ferdinand's club, Manchester United, called the ban savage and in doing so they confessed to ignorance of the meaning of responsibility in sport. Rusedski can expect a more severe sentence if proven guilty. Until then, he will demand to be regarded as innocent. It is the requirement expected by all who go to trial after failing a test. But over the years, the ears of the world tend to grow deaf.

Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
News
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
people
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
News
i100
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot