First it was Mariano Puerta’s wife, now it’s “Pamela,” Gasquet’s one-night-fling. Why are we ladies always blamed for besmirching the honor of the ATP?
Tennis.com’s Peter Bodo shared the full ITF report from Richard Gasquet’s anti-doping tribunal. Long story short, the tribunal said Gasquet’s cocaine use “occurred in circumstances in which the degree of his fault was very small, as small as the minuscule quantity consumed.” Instead of a long suspension, the tribunal decided that Gasquet had been penalized enough and could return to tour immediately.
So now let’s get to the juicy stuff! Yes, I know it’s wrong to find intrigue and humor in someone’s misfortune, but we’ve all been there – victim of a doomed night out on the town. So let’s all agree we’re laughing with Richard, not at him, shall we?
And the adventure begins. . .
On March 27, on the eve of Richard Gasquet’s first round match at the Miami Masters tournament, he and his team took a look at an MRI scan of his inflamed shoulder and decided he should withdraw from the tournament. They went from the doctor’s office back to the hotel, leaving the formal withdrawal process – which can include a drug test – until the next day. This small, seemingly inconsequential decision would prove to be Gasquet’s undoing. . .duh. . duh. . duh!
Then Gasquet makes the mistake all of us have made at one point – he decides he’s bored and wants to go out. So he and a group including his coach Guillaume Peyre (the guy with the hot stepdaughter who dated Baghdatis ) and Thierry Champion made arrangements to go out for dinner and see French DJ Bob Sinclar. The DJ, an aquaintance, was “performing that evening in Miami as part of the Winter Music Conference; an event which, though the player did not know it, is notoriously associated with use of illegal recreational drugs including cocaine.” Poor, naive, Reechard!
And here’s where it gets good:
(Gasquet and Peyre) arrived at Vita (the restaurant) and met M. Champion and another friend of his there. They dined together, joined by the owner of the restaurant. While waiting at the bar for their table, the player noticed a group of four young women dining at a nearby table. He recognised one of them, Mlle Francesca Antoniotti, a sports news presenter on French television.
At about 10.30pm one of the women invited the group of men to join them for a drink after dinner. The men did so, joining them at their table. The player talked mostly to one of the women called Pamela. We do not know her family name and therefore refer to her simply as Pamela. The player learned that Pamela lived in Paris and that she, Mlle Antoniotti and another of the women, known as Nouria, were on holiday together in Miami. The player and his companions discovered that these three women were also planning to see M. Sinclar perform that night, at a club called Set. The fourth woman, called Denise, was due to leave to work at a different venue.
The group of four men, including the player, and the three women, including Mlle Antoniotti and Pamela, set off for Set on foot at about midnight. They entered Set at about 12.40am on 28 March 2009, after awaiting the arrival of M. Sinclar. He then started his performance. The player and the others in his group were soon invited to M. Sinclar’s table by his wife. They stood around the table talking and listening to the music. On the table top, there were open jugs of mixer drinks, including apple juice, a bottle of vodka and bottles of water.
The player drank a vodka and apple juice prepared for him by M. Champion. Later, at about 2am, he helped himself to more apple juice, without vodka. The player talked particularly to Pamela, though he was not with her all the time, and also talked to others. The Tribunal accepts the player’s evidence that he and Pamela kissed mouth to mouth about seven times while they were at Set, each kiss lasting about five to ten seconds. We accept his evidence that he was not with Pamela constantly while at the club. At one stage the two of them went upstairs and sat on a sofa where they kissed. After that they came downstairs again, stopping to kiss on the stairs. The player then drank only water from a sealed bottle and a vodka and apple juice he had ordered from the bar.
At about 4.15am, the player and the others with whom he had arrived decided to leave. They left at about 4.35am, after awaiting the end of M. Sinclar’s performance, thanking him and saying goodbye. The player was tired. His impression was that Pamela did not seem tired. She expressed a wish to go to another venue called Goldrush, where the fourth woman from the restaurant, Denise, was working. The group of seven traveled in two taxis. The player went in a taxi with Pamela. Goldrush turned out to be a strip club. The player and his three male companions did not like it and wanted to leave about 10 minutes after arriving. He did not have any physical contact with Denise or anyone else at Goldrush.
They waited for Pamela to return from the toilet where she had spent longer than expected. When she returned, she had replenished her make-up and rearranged her hair. The group then left at about 5am and said their goodbyes outside. The player kissed Pamela on the mouth for two or three seconds before boarding a taxi back to his hotel with his coach. On arrival at his hotel he went to his room and slept.
Shocking, just shocking. . . .I’m not even talking about the strip club or the damning fact that Pamela “replenished her make-up and rearranged her hair” because I already know that Gasquet is guilty. . . Guilty of drinking apple juice and vodka! Really, there’s just no excuse for that.
But of course the story doesn’t end there. Sloppy nights like these are often followed by awkwardness and misunderstandings – drug tests, paternity tests, breathalyzer tests – and in Gasquet’s case, sh*t happened.
The next day, Gasquet went to the tournament to withdraw, and was asked to take a drug test. He was told weeks later that he’d tested positive for benzoylecgonine, a cocaine metabolite. Besides submitting to a hair test (which came back negative), Gasquet and his manager also tracked down Pamela at the Parisian restaurant where she worked. She said that her friends had taken cocaine in Miami but she hadn’t touched the stuff.
She soon stopped answering Gasquet’s manager’s phone calls, but found the time for an interview with Aujourd’hui magazine. This time she claimed that neither she nor her friends had used cocaine in Miami (probably because one of her friends was a newscaster.) She also said she’d never even kissed Gasquet on the mouth and complained that she was getting grief from her boyfriend about it. Then an anonymous witness went on French radio claiming to have seen Pamela taking cocaine that night at the club. Needless to say, Pamela wasn’t called as a witness at the tribunal.
So all’s well that ends well, except for one harsh fact. Though Gasquet was not severely punished this time, if he ever has an apple juice and cocaine cocktail again – or tests positve for any banned substance – he will face a career destroying four year suspension. Guess he’ll be spending a lot of nights in his room drinking Evian and watching The Wire on DVD.
Moral of the story, kids: Stay in your room and do your homework. And stick to scotch.
For the full report, click here and follow the link in the article.