Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Gasquet Gets Time Served

by Savannah

French tennis player Richard Gasquet (R) attends Pope Benedict XVI's general audience in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican June 10, 2009.

French tennis player Richard Gasquet attends Pope Benedict XVI's general audience in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican June 10, 2009.


The ITF has ruled as follows:

London, England, 15 Jul 2009 - The International Tennis Federation announced today that an independent Anti-Doping Tribunal convened under the 2009 Tennis Anti-Doping Programme has found that Richard Gasquet, a 23-year-old French tennis player, has committed a Doping Offence.

Following a two-day hearing in July 2009, an independent Anti-Doping Tribunal found that a sample provided by Mr Gasquet on 28 March 2009 at the ATP event in Miami, USA, had tested positive for benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of cocaine. Cocaine is a substance that is banned In-Competition under WADA’s 2009 List of Prohibited Substances, and is therefore also prohibited under the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme on the same basis.

The Tribunal rejected the suggestion made by Mr Gasquet that, by virtue of his withdrawal prior to playing a match in the Miami event, the sample provided by him on 28 March should be treated as having been collected Out-of-Competition. In that regard, it upheld the applicability, and the legality, of Article F.4 of the Programme, which provides that a player who withdraws from an event may be target-tested and that such test is to be treated as an In-Competition test, even if the player withdraws before playing a match. The Tribunal therefore found that Mr Gasquet had committed a Doping Offence under Article C.1 of the Programme (presence of a Prohibited Substance in player’s sample).

With regard to sanction, the Tribunal accepted Mr Gasquet’s plea of No Significant Fault or Negligence, on the basis that he was able to demonstrate on the balance of probabilities how the cocaine entered his system (through inadvertent contamination in a nightclub the night before his scheduled match), and that, while he was at fault in exposing himself to the risk of such contamination, that fault was not significant. It further ruled that, in the exceptional and “probably unique” circumstances of the case, it would be unjust and disproportionate to impose a 12-month sanction on Mr Gasquet. Instead it ruled that Mr Gasquet be suspended from participation for a period of two months and 15 days, commencing on 1 May 2009, and thus ending at 08:00 GMT on 15 July 2009. It also ruled that his results, ranking points and prize money from events subsequent to Miami should remain undisturbed.

For the entire document click the above link.

I hope that Richard realizes he dodged a real bullet here and that he appreciates all the work his Federation and others did on his behalf. Richard has a lot of fans out there who want to see him live up to his potential.


TopSpin said...


Thank goodness for that. Though I think you're spot on in your assertion that he dodged a bullet and should appreciate what are euphemistically termed "the balance of probabilities" and their taking into account the "exceptional and probably unique" circumstances of the case.

I'm very much in the camp of those who'd like to see him live up to his potential; he seems to have enough trouble with that without getting embroiled in drugs scandals.

Though I have to say, how do his circumstances differ from those of Martina Hingis, who WAS handed the two year ban also for a recreational drug? I'd imagine she'd be pretty incensed at him getting off, no? Anyone?

tennis99 said...

This is great news for Gasquet fans like myself. I believed him. I figure if he were truly partying the amount in both samples would've been higher. I hope this event inspires him to make the most of his talent & career. I think Gasquet & Haas are the greatest players to not have won a slam. There's still lots of hope for him to achieve. I missed watching him play. :-)

Craig Hickman said...

I have mixed feelings about this judgment.

Certainly, if a player is wrongly punished, he or she should not have their careers and lives ruined by the anti-doping agencies.

But it seems to me that Gasquet dodged a bullet precisely because he comes from France and not Argentina.

As for Martina Hingis, she quit the sport and decided not to fight her suspension. One could argue she didn't put up a fight because she knew she had no grand to stand on.

T0X MUND1 said...

way off topic, but have yall seen this? I thought it was funny...,176321

Lance Zambezi said...

The ITF has no standing to ban players for recreational drugs. 2 years would have been a significant portion of Ritchie's lifetime earnings. You can't prevent a man from making a living when he wasn't convicted of any crime and didn't harm anyone else.

Craig Hickman said...

The ITF isn't administering "justice" equally.

Whether or not I'm a fan of Gasquet, I simply refuse to overlook this fact.

oddman said...

I agree, Craig.

Lance Zambezi said...

Puerta had been convicted before, of using steroids. Anybody who's seen a picture of Richard with his shirt off knows that he's never seen a weight room, much less taking steroids . . .

Craig Hickman said...

Lance, no one is saying Richard Gasquet took steroids. But there was a banned substance in his body, which he does not deny. According to the rules, a player is responsible for whatever they ingest.


Gasquet dodged a bullet.

Let's see if this ruling sets a precedent or if it's the result of something else.

Time will tell.

Beverly said...

Gasquet may have dodged the bullet and maybe this is unfair to Hingis but really, even if he had used cocaine knowingly, it's better that a young man's career is not ruined because of a non performance enhancing drug. The rules should be changed. It was sad the way Hingis was treated and even sadder that it cut her comeback short. She brought a lot to the game and she deserved better. Ideally, they would go back and review her case in light of what happened with Gasquet but we know that won't happen.

The Binocular said...

The bottom line is what was he doing a night club the day before a match.

He's a professional tennis player.

Lance Zambezi said...

He went to the nightclub after he had decided to withdraw from the tournament.

Beverly said...

Jon Wertheim just wrote an article suggesting that Hingis' case should be reviewed. It's a real shame that under the ban Hingis isn't even allowed to attend slams as a spectator.