Former Belgian tennis player Christophe Rochus is no stranger to controversy, especially when it comes to doping and Rafael Nadal. His off-the-wall remarks have included a call to legalizing doping in sports because he believes that players take advantage of performance enhancement drugs anyway, not that he or his brother, ATP player Olivier Rochus, ever have. Less than a year after Tio Toni had some choice words for him, he is back in the limelight, this time in connection with Rafa’s performance at the Australian Open final.
Christophe Rochus and Jean Paul Loth were two of several commentators for Eurosport France during the final against Stanislas Wawrinka on January 26, 2014. Commenting on Rafa’s extended MTO, and his subsequent return to take the third set, Rochus speculated that Rafa was faking the injury. He further insinuated that Rafa had gone into the locker room to “get a shot“.
Given the history that Rochus has with his penchant for unsubstantiated allegations, it is hardly surprising that he would find Rafa’s efforts attributable to anything but fine sportsmanship. What is surprising, however, is that of all the reputable experts available, Eurosport France would choose him as a consultant for this potentially historical final.
The French, however, took to Twitter to raise objections to the absurd allegations. Adeline Auger, a writer with Tennis Troteur, stated in her article that Nicolas Mahut, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga’s coach Thierry Ascione, and Alize Cornet were among the first to respond in support of Rafa.
Even if Rochus is within his rights to state his opinion, was it a good idea for Eurosport France to take him on as a consultant, given his history? And what of Rochus himself: Where does the animosity come from?
Every time Rafa falls victim to a false accusation, we look the other way, because we know that the man, the champion he is, has nothing to prove or defend. But maleficent voices, such as that of Rochas’, only tend to get louder when they are given a platform to speak from. We sincerely hope that media outlets make better choices in the future.
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