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Friday, November 09, 2007

Litvinenko on the Tennis Court?


FOX Sports reports:

The International Tennis Federation is investigating allegations that Tommy Haas [pictured above in happier times] was poisoned before Germany's Davis Cup match against Russia. Haas was forced out of his match against Mikhail Youzhny with a suspected stomach virus as Russia won both reverse singles matches on Sept. 23 to win the semifinal series 3-2 and reach the Davis Cup final. "We take this very seriously," ITF spokeswoman Barbara Travers said Wednesday. "The investigation starts today." German teammate Alexander Waske said he was told by a Russian who manages numerous athletes that it was poisoning, not a virus. Waske didn't say who the manager was. "He said as an aside, that it was bitter that Tommy Haas was poisoned," said Waske, who answered the man by saying that it was a virus. "Thereupon he said, no, they poisoned him."

Haas said he will fly Thursday from Argentina to his home in the United States for a complete checkup. Germany team doctor Erich Rembeck had done a checkup and run blood tests while the player was sick, but said they were only for a virus. "I'm shocked that something like that appears possible," said Haas, ranked 13th. "When I think of how bad I felt, I can imagine it. I've been feeling weak for weeks." Rembeck didn't rule out tampering with Haas' food or drinks. He said the German staff drew up meal plans, but the kitchen staff at the hotel prepared what ended up on the players' plates. "I was the only one ever to order dessert or a Latte macchiato after dinner," Haas said. "If all this is true, since no one else got sick, that must have been when it happened."

The Times of London has more:

Germany's top tennis player, Tommy Haas, will fly to the United States today for toxicological tests on his hair after bizarre allegations that he was poisoned during his country's Davis Cup defeat to Russia in Moscow two months ago. The International Tennis Federation is also investigating the claims from Alexander Waske, Haas's Davis Cup teammate, who said that he had been told of the poisoning by a Russian manager.

Haas, who is ranked 13th in the world, played on the opening day of the tie on September 21 but lost in straight sets – 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 – to Igor Andreev, ranked 33. The Germans turned the contest around and went into the final day 2-1 ahead but Haas was unable to take to the court on the Sunday for his reverse singles clash with Mikhail Youzhny due to stomach pains – and his replacement Philipp Petzschner went down in four sets. Russia then clinched the decider with Andreev beating Philipp Kohlschreiber.

Waske, a doubles specialist, said that he was told "completely casually" by a Russian manager – whom he did not name, but who manages many players – that Haas had been deliberately nobbled. “He said as an aside, that it was a shame that Tommy was poisoned,” said Waske, who answered the man by saying that it was a virus. “Thereupon he said, no, they poisoned him.” When Waske expressed his scepticism at the claim his informer reportedly told him: "Believe me Alex, I know Moscow, there are people who can make these kinds of things happen."

If Waske's claims are proven, they will join a list of extraordinary Russian poisoning sagas, including the murder in London a year ago of the former KGB officer Alexander Litvinenko, who was fed a radioactive isotope in a cup of tea at a Mayfair hotel. Britain is demanding the extradition of another former KGB officer, Andrei Lugovoy.

The other most high-profile poisoning allegation came from the Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, who almost died after ingesting dioxin while campaigning for the presidency on an anti-Moscow platform.

The International Tennis Federation, the sport's governing body, said that it was launching an immediate investigation into the Tommy Haas allegations, to be headed by Bill Babcock, president of its David Cup committee. Haas, 29, said that he would fly today from Argentina to his home in the United States for a complete check-up. The German team doctor Erich Rembeck had run blood tests while the player was sick, but said they were only for a virus.

“I’m shocked that something like that appears possible,” said Haas, who is ranked 13th in the world. “When I think of how bad I felt, I can imagine it. I’ve been feeling weak for weeks.” He added: “I have never felt so miserable in my whole life as I did on the Saturday and Sunday nights in Moscow. Of the eight hours I should have been sleeping, I spent six of them on the toilet."

Six weeks after the alleged incident, Haas said that he was still feeling the effects. "My stomach is still doing some strange things." Rembeck did not rule out that someone had tampered with Haas’s food or drinks. He said the German staff drew up meal plans, but the kitchen staff at the hotel prepared what ended up on the players’ plates. “I was the only one ever to order dessert or a Latte macchiato after dinner,” Haas said. “If all this is true, since no one else got sick, that must have been when it happened.”

It goes without saying that you, dear reader, cannot say you are surprised.

3 comments:

Misha said...

How ridiculous… Even if the Russian national security services were involved in poisoning someone, which I more than highly doubt, they certainly would not be doing it to make the Russian tennis player win in a sport match. The other guy apparently ate some bad food and became ill. Is that the first time it has ever happened? Such absurd allegations against the security services of the Russian Federation are an insult to the intelligence of even the average person. It only shows the mentality of those who see the old ghost of the KGB bogeyman hiding behind every tree and lurking under every rock. What will they say if Miss Russia wins the Miss World contest, and one of the other women falls ill at the time, or just has a bad time of month? The Russians must have bombarded her with gamma rays?

By the way, Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko was not poisoned. Yushchenko comes from a rich and well connected Ukrainian family, and their connections did not cease during the socialism of the USSR. In his younger years Yushchenko was a reasonably good looking man, and certainly a vain one, quite the ladies man by all accounts. He happens to be married to an American actress and former beauty queen. Just before the election season Yushchenko sought out a round of treatments with Botox injections. His “doctor” apparently got his hands a bad batch of Ukrainian Botox, or something he was told was Botox at any rate... Then the whole world got to see what happens when Botox injections fail. Of course since Yushchenko was running against the pro-Russian Yankovich, his team hit upon the idea of explaining away their candidate’s unmistakable scars and pock-marks as resulting from some attempt to “poison” him. If I remember correctly they claimed he was the victim of some fiendish KGB poising plot (but of course), with what was it? Agent Orange? Dioxin? Uranium? Give me a break! If Russia's national security services wanted Yushchenko offed, he would be offed, not just all pimply. That's bad dermatology, not a foreign assassination plot. Then of course there is the absurd credulity of those in the west who are ready to believe any plot ascribed to the Russian FSB and other Russiansecurity services, no matter how transparently absurd it might be, which of course means they were more than ready to lap it up and repeat it as Gospel Truth! Whatever.

La Russophobe said...

MISHA:

The fact that you think getting poisoned is ridiculous indicates you are an uncivilized maniac.

Was it "logical" for the people of Russia to elect a proud KGB spy as their leader after the KGB butchered more Russians than Hitler and brought down the USSR?

Was it "logical" for Nikita Krushchev visit the UN and take off his shoe?

Attempting to deny Russian actions because they are not logical is the act of a person totally detached from reality.

Rationalizations like yours are exactly what allowed Stalin to come to power, it's what maniacs count on.

misha said...

If Uncle Joe was in charge now, we wouldn't be having all these problems. He'd sweep out the trash and clean house, and put the country right again.