The AP reported today that Richard Gasquet has been officially suspended from competition after testing positive for cocaine in Miami. He will be off the tour at least until the ITF holds an anti-doping tribunal on the matter, which could take up to 60 days to arrange. This means Richard Gasquet will definitely miss Roland Garros. He could face a two-year ban if found guilty.
Gilbert Ysern, director general of the French Federation had this to say:
“Richard is devastated by this announcement,” said Ysern, also tournament director of the French Open. “On a human level, we can support him. If he did nothing wrong, we hope he will know how to prove it, but we are not his lawyer.”
International party boy, Marat Safin, blames the jet-set lifestyle, not the Frenchman:
“Everyone makes mistakes,” the Russian said at the Madrid Open. “I feel sorry for Gasquet. When you’re at a party, at a huge table full of people having fun, it’s absurd to have to watch what glass you’re drinking from. . .Testing for doping is also becoming very intrusive. It gets to the point where you almost feel you should be calling the ATP to tell them where you are after you leave a party.”
Click here for the full story from the AP.
Roger Federer, ever the diplomat, told reporters in Madrid that he wanted to hear Gasquet’s side of the story, first:
“I hope it’s not true, but we have to wait until Richard himself says something. As long as he hasn’t come out and said something, it’s hard to give an opinion.”
Fabrice Santoro, who trains alongside Gasquet in Paris, told reporters that he was surprised by the news:
“I’ve known Richard since he was nine years old, so I’m very surprised. I found out about the case yesterday (Saturday) evening. I know Richard and his way of life very well, so it’s a huge surprise because it doesn’t add up. Or maybe I was wrong (about Gasquet) – which would really surprise me, because I know him very well – or maybe there is a problem somewhere else.”
Santoro also said he talked to Gasquet via telephone about it: “He is sad, really shocked. He doesn’t understand. He told me about his dinner, his evening (on the night before the)…”
Another countryman, Michael Llodra, offered this belated bit of advice:
“When I go out I am very careful. I keep my hand over my glass, because I know that this kind of mistake can happy very quickly.”
Quotes from tennis players via yahoo.
Writer Bonnie D. Ford at ESPN.com has a really interesting take on the situation. Here’s an excerpt:
How banal. Hard on the heels of the Manny Ramirez suspension and set alongside the doping cases involving major stars in baseball, cycling and track over the past few years, Gasquet’s alleged offense seems relatively mundane, a throwback to the old days when athletes abused Scotch and cigarettes rather than steroids and EPO.
Click here to read Ford’s column.