Scroll down for UPDATES on Gasquet’s and the French Federation’s responses.
Oh la la, we have une situation!
Richard Gasquet, the enigmatic prince of French tennis, has reportedly tested positive for a controlled substance.
09/05/2009 19:59 – Traces of cocaine were found in the urine sample of Richard Gasquet, tested in Miami when he had to forfeit the tournament. These trace levels of 1.46 microgram (above the sensitivity threshold of 0.5 applied to all accredited laboratories) could suspend the french tennis player for two years if a second opinion corroborates the first analysis .
Indeed, cocaine is one of the major stimulants banned in competition. The french player, who denies taking it voluntarily, did not wish to comment on the information, but should quickly make a hair analysis to show that he is not a regular user. Finally, Team Lagardère (a French high performance training program/management group that works with Gasquet, Cornet and others – ed.) should communicate quickly about this, probably in the middle of Sunday afternoon. – by Damien RESSIOT
Personally, this isn’t really that shocking, it it? Richard Gasquet has long seemed to be the most self-destructive and tempestuous of the current French “Musketeers.” Assuming the test is corroborated, it would be tough to guess if Gasquet is just a wild party-boy, a one-time experimenter or a real “doper.” (Although the French hardly share the same reputation as say, the Argentines, when it comes to performance enhancers.)
Random thought – would a two year ban be the absolute worst thing to happen to Gasquet? He could use a break from the grind to reestablish his priorities and realize how he’s wasted so much of his insane talent. And if the tennis thing doesn’t work out, how about founding a posh drug rehab facility in the Swiss Alps – the Gasquet-Hingis Rehabilitation Center for Precocious Prodigies?
RiCH at DtL sees Gasquet belonging more to the Capriati vein of miscreant behavior. Click here to join the conversation.
**UPDATES** May 10: Richard Gasquet has admitted to failing the drug test, but claims his innocence and has submitted himself to independent testing (via BBC – click here):
“I want to prove my innocence and will explain myself at an appropriate time.”
He added: “Given the complexity of the case, I am gathering the evidence of my innocence and will later set a date to make further comments.”
He also said that an independently done hair analysis “showed no trace of cocaine”
The French Federation (FFT) issued a statement: “The FFT will follow with great attention the developments of this case, avoiding making hasty judgments and is anxious to leave the player to organise his defence for the international tennis bodies.”
This is all well and good, but isn’t this how it always goes when a player’s accused? I hope it works out or Gasquet, of course. . .