ATP Tour - Gasquet in cocaine shock
Eurosport - Sat, 09 May 21:17:00 2009
French tennis star Richard Gasquet tested positive for cocaine after the Miami Masters, according to L'Equipe.
Traces of a recreational drug, believed to be cocaine, were discovered in his 'A' sample, according to many media sources including the sports daily, which specifically identified the drug as cocaine.
Gasquet, the world number 23 and a former Wimbledon semi-finalist, pulled out of his opening match in Miami against Spain's Albert Montanes because of a shoulder injury.
The 22-year-old withdrew from this week's tournament in Estoril with a neck injury and is not playing at the Madrid Masters, which began on Saturday.
Gasquet, who could be banned for two years if his 'B' sample also tests positive, was unavailable for comment.
Cocaine has proved the downfall of a number of high-profile sportsmen in recent years including football legend Diego Maradona while, earlier on Saturday, world champion cyclist Tom Boonen was suspended by his team for a second positive test for the drug.
In 2007, former women's world number one Martina Hingis tested positive for cocaine at Wimbledon and although the Swiss player denied she had taken the drug, she was banned for two years.
However, Hingis had already announced her retirement before the suspension was handed down.
Considered one of tennis's brightest talents, and a potential Grand Slam title winner, Gasquet reached a career high of seventh in the world in 2007, just after reaching the last four at Wimbledon.
But he endured a nightmare 2008 where he lost his place as French number one and saw his star eclipsed by the likes of Gilles Simon, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gael Monfils.
He enjoyed a respectable start to 2009 with semi-final places in Brisbane, Sydney and Dubai.
I'm never happy to hear about athletes doping and taking drugs. It's even worse when it's a tennis player, and not just ANY tennis player, but Richard Gasquet. I was just warming up to him and even started to get behind him, and now this. I'm hoping his second test would come back negative so that I can erase this piece of information from my mind forever, but I don't see how much difference the B sample - whatever it is - could make.
A two-year ban, though, is likely to destroy his career. As it is he's already inconsistent. Being away from the tour for two whole years...I don't know, I can't see it being good by any stretch of the imagination for someone who appears to have struggled with the pressure and the expectations (his nickname was BabyFed and he went on record saying he could beat Roger two years ago). Such a colossal waste of talent if it turns out to be true.
Along a rather similar vein, much as I don't like Nadal, I'm not like the worst of the haters who hope that he'd one day be found guilty of doping. I think huge stars like Nadal, and to a smaller extent, Gasquet, really give the sport a bad name if it ever turned out they resorted to banned substances, worse if the said substance was a performance-enhancing drug. I'm sure Nadal achieved all that he's achieved based solely on his own hard work, commitment and dedication, and as someone who loves tennis, I wouldn't have it any other way. I'd be quite crushed if an Alex Rodriguez-like case ever surfaced in tennis.
I just did a quick Google search for doping cases in tennis, and while it sucks the page actually exists, I guess the upside is that it's quite a short list and I only recognised three or four names. But oh my gosh, I can't believe Mats Wilander is on the list. MATS WILANDER. He's won, what, seven grand slams? How rich that he's continually criticised Roger for losing to Nadal in French Open finals. How hilarious that he thinks he's in a position to criticise ROGER FEDERER. Seriously.
(Wilander has always struck me as annoying whiny anyway. I watched a Tennis Channel Best of One Slam Wonders episode where Yannick Noah won the French over Wilander in 1983, and was so excited that he barely shook hands with Wilander as he rushed to his supporters. Wilander sounded extremely whiny when he was talking about that incident.)
Sigh. Poor Gasquet. What a stupid, stupid move.