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Sin with the “analog” of doping. Djokovic makes a shocking confession before the 2011 US Open

Date: July 18, 2024 Time: 13:32:38

Novak Djokovic, a 23-time Grand Slam champion, is one of the top role models when it comes to athletic longevity. At 36, Novak dominates all young opponents on the court, except for the Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, who is almost the only player who can stop him from time to time.

What is the secret of Djokovic’s success? First of all, in maintaining the motivation to continue rewriting the history of tennis, when he has already achieved what others can only dream of. Plus, Novak is a mental monster who can take the toughest moments on the court. But, of course, it’s not just about that. Physiology is an important element for the longevity of athletes. Novak works hard in training and is constantly in good shape. And pressure chambers, hermetically sealed devices to enhance various body functions, help him regain his strength.

Novak first admitted to using a pressure chamber before the US Open – 2011. Then his statement caused a great resonance, since these devices, according to many scientists, are analogous to doping and give a comparable effect. They are not officially banned, but Djokovic soon had to apologize and explain himself for his words about the pressure chamber. Over time, the commotion has died down, although at that particular moment, 12 years ago, Novak had a hard time.

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Novak Djokovic became a tennis superstar in 2011

Novak Djokovic won his first Grand Slam tournament at the 2008 Australian Open, after which he spent three years in the shadow of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Of course, Djokovic was considered a serious opponent for Roger and Rafa, but something was always missing to reach the same level with them.

Everything changed in 2011. Djokovic won the second “Slam” in Australia, the third in Wimbledon in the summer, and also won the “Masters” in Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid, Rome, Montreal. Novak took almost everything he could get. The only thing missing was the victory at Roland Garros. where he lost to Roger Federer in the semifinals (the Swiss ultimately lost the final to Rafael Nadal) and the Cincinnati title, whose decisive match with Andy Murray the Serb was unable to finish due to injury. Novak decided not to attend another Masters in Monte Carlo to better prepare for other clay tournaments. Rafael Nadal totally dominated there, so there was no particular chance of taking the title. Novak did not fail: he celebrated the victory in Madrid and Rome, beating Nadal in the final. In fact, he declassifies the King of Clay on his favorite surface.

Novak Djokovic in 2011

Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

It was in 2011 that Novak became a full member of the Big Three, joining Federer and Nadal. In addition, the Serb played so convincingly that Roger and Rafa for a while looked very pale against the background of him.

Djokovic, 24, arrived at the US Open for his fourth “Slam” as the first racket in the world and the undisputed favorite of the tournament. Novak bathed in glory. He became a true tennis superstar. Perhaps that is why Djokovic relaxed and decided to be too frank in the press conference prior to the start of the tournament. When asked about his latest successes, the Serb said that the use of a pressure chamber played an important role.

“I think the pressure chamber helps me a lot. Not muscles, but in general, general recovery after hard matches. It looks like a spaceship. Very interesting technology,” Djokovic said.

Djokovic said that during the US Open he stayed in New Jersey with former tennis player Gordon Eweling, whose house has a pressure chamber, which he likes to use. Novak had no idea that his seemingly hackneyed words about the recovery process would become a shocking sensation and headline news.

pressure chamber

Photo: Fake Images

The use of a compression device to artificially create increased barometric pressure (in other words, a pressure chamber) in the early 2010s was not considered normal in the sport. Yes, WADA does not prohibit pressure chambers. But the scientists argued that they are analogous to doping and produce a comparable effect. The AMA representatives stated that the use of this device is contrary to the spirit of sportsmanship.

The manufacturers of pressure chambers advertised their product saying that as little as three 20-minute sessions per week can improve athletes’ performance by stimulating blood circulation, increasing the efficiency of red blood cells, removing lactic acid from the body, and increasing energy efficiency. stem cell production.

According to CVAC Systems CEO Allen Ruzkowski, this technology allows the body to absorb oxygen twice as efficiently as the then-banned “blood doping”: a blood transfusion. According to Ruzkowski, many athletes use pressure chambers because they realize it gives them a competitive advantage. Probably, many really used it, they just did not boastfully admit it, as Novak did without thinking.

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The scandal of the pressure chamber at the US Open is quickly silenced

Accusations that Djokovic was cheating and achieving results using not entirely correct methods immediately hit the media. Particularly painful were the words of the little-known American tennis player Geoff Grant, who missed the stars in the sky, who had not even entered the top 100 of the ATP ranking, had long retired and was not risking anything. But Novak’s reputation was damaged by his sentence.

“It’s like a drug. Something very unusual, something from the future,” Grant described his feelings while using the pressure chamber.

The organizers of the US Open had to make a special statement. USTA General Manager Patrick McEnroe defended Novak.

“I don’t take these things seriously. Perhaps this same pressure chamber helped Djokovic in psychological terms. But it should be noted that he won his first Grand Slam tournament before he even started using it. He didn’t need a pressure chamber to beat Federer,” McEnroe said.

Novak Djokovic at a press conference during the US Open – 2011

Photo: Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Then Novak himself began to explain himself.

“All I can say is that I used this method a couple of times last year, nothing more. This is a very interesting technology, but I don’t know how effective it is. This has nothing to do with my progress over the past 10 months. They say that I have been using the pressure chamber in the last few days? It would be great if this plane had wings and would fly with me during all the tournaments. Where are you? In New Jersey, at one of the sports complexes,” Djokovic said.

No one tried to clarify the contradictions in Djokovic’s statements. At first he claimed that he regularly uses the pressure chamber and for this he was housed with Gordon Eweling in New Jersey. And after the stir that had arisen, he said that he had not used the device for about a year and, in general, he knew little about it, did not consider it some kind of effective tool.

In general, the subject of Djokovic’s pressure chambers was hushed up. The US Open management may have used his influence in the media to stop actively talking about it. Above all a solid position. What is not prohibited is allowed. This common truth also applies to pressure chambers in sports. The ethical aspect in this case goes to the background.

The situation with the pressure chamber did not worry Djokovic. Novak continued his spectacular performance on the court and won the 2011 US Open. In the semifinals, the Serb delivered a resounding victory over third seed Roger Federer (6:7, 4:6, 6:3, 6:2 , 7:5), and resolved it in the final with the second Rafael Nadal (6:2, 6:4, 6:7, 6:1). Rafa has terrible nightmares about personal meetings with Novak in 2011: defeats in the finals of Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid, Rome, Wimbledon and the US Open. This series carried over to the deciding match of the 2012 Australian Open, after which Nadal took, if not equivalent to, but a kind of revenge, beating Djokovic three times in a row in the clay finals of Monte Carlo, Rome and Roland Garros.

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic after the 2011 US Open final

Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Now Djokovic does not hide the use of pressure chambers

Time passed, and attitudes toward the use of pressure chambers in sports changed. Legendary figures such as soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo, swimmer Michael Phelps, golfer Tiger Woods, basketball player LeBron James, and NFL legend Tom Brady have been recognized for their use. James, 38, continues to play at the highest level in the NBA, leading the Los Angeles Lakers. Various physiological procedures, including a pressure chamber, helped him become perhaps the foremost symbol of longevity among all active athletes.

Tom Brady, 46, who won a record seven Super Bowl titles and only retired in February of this year, is a close friend of Djokovic’s. Tom sat in Novak’s box at the recent Roland Garros final alongside his wife Elena, and later congratulated the tennis player on winning a record 23 majors. Djokovic has admitted to following Brady’s advice on athletic longevity. The discussion about the effectiveness of the pressure chamber must have become the topic of conversation.

Tom Brady in Novak Djokovic’s match

Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Now Djokovic has several pressure chambers of his own, which he bought for $75,000 each. In Europe there are some difficulties with access to the devices and there are still concerns that the pressure chamber gives athletes an unfair advantage, so during tournaments it is only used in the US and Australia. In any case, Novak is not hiding anything, there is no further conviction against him.

“Unfortunately, I don’t have access to pressure chambers everywhere I go. In Europe, this is still a rather sensitive issue. But I try to use them whenever possible. Many prominent players also use it. Normally we breathe 20% oxygen, but in high pressure conditions we breathe 100% pure oxygen. Of course, it is very beneficial for the body, cells and muscles. The pressure chamber is a great thing. I think there should be more of them. And not just for athletes,” Djokovic said during the 2016 Australian Open.

The inhalation of pure oxygen really helps to better withstand intense physical exertion and to recover faster. The procedure usually takes one to two hours. A watch, phone, or anything that runs on batteries should be left out of the camera, otherwise there is a risk of fire. In order not to get bored, you can watch something on TV, which is placed in front of the camera. Djokovic prefers movies.

“I choose comedies or something like what they call science fiction. Although I would choose the title “About the worlds we have not yet explored”, says Djokovic.

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There are other tennis players who do not hide the use of oxygen chambers. For example, the scandalous five-time Grand Slam champion in doubles, the American Bethany Mattek-Sands.

“It’s not like you walk out of there feeling like Superman. But after that you sleep very peacefully and well. You just lie on the bed and instantly pass out,” says Mattek-Sands.

Although this therapy is not suitable for everyone. Former world number one Andy Murray, who beat Djokovic in the 2012 US Open and 2013 Wimbledon finals, tried this practice just once and immediately gave it up. Having high oxygen levels didn’t make Andy feel better, but Novak did.

Since 2012, Djokovic has been using the services of the HyperMed clinic, run by Malcolm Hooper, for some time. It is located a couple of kilometers from Melbourne Park, home of the AO. In 2016, one of Hooper’s clients died while undergoing a pressure chamber procedure. The doctor, who was Novak’s boxing guest in the decisive AO bouts, claimed the cause of death was a heart attack in a multiple sclerosis patient, not being in a pressure chamber.

Novak Djokovic in Dr. Malcolm Hooper’s clinic (far left)

Photo: From Malcolm Hooper’s personal archive.

The Victoria Police investigation has been ongoing for more than five years. Hooper’s license was revoked and he was fined a total of $700,000 for failing to ensure patient safety in the workplace.

Ties with the clinic and Dr. Hooper had to be severed, but overall the scandal did not affect Djokovic and did not change his attitude towards pressure chambers. In addition, it brings them closer to him. Since 2019, Novak has been using a truck with a special pressure chamber, which is located right in the parking lot of Flushing Meadows Park, 300 meters from Arthur Ashe Stadium, venue of the US Open matches. Djokovic frequently resorts to machine treatments before and/or after matches.

Are hyperbaric chambers allowed in sports? Yes. Novak thinks they’re helping him? Yes. So what questions can there be for a tennis player? It’s good that he is not bothered about this now, as in 2011.

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.
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