Update on the Gasquet Story
Sky Sports reports the following:
Richard Gasquet has confirmed that he has tested positive for cocaine, but insists he will fight to clear his name.
The world number 23 tested positive at the Miami Masters in March - an event at which he did not compete - and could now be hit with a two-year ban from the sport.
"The test of the B sample submitted at the end of March 2009, during the Miami tournament where I did not participate, confirmed the positive result of the A sample taken on the same day," Gasquet explained in a statement.
Richard is looking at a two year suspension from tennis based on the levels found in his urine. There are reports in the that Gasquet had partied the night before with a French singer known as Sinclair. With the B sample confirming the results of the A sample there is not much Richie can say about guilt or innocence. With the base as 0.5 micrograms and tests showing 1.46 micrograms in his urine it's an open and shut case. Martina Hingis got a two year ban and if fair is fair Gasquet will get the same.
That said there is tragedy in this story. Craig often talks about the dangers of hype and what it does to developing minds and fragile egos. Gasquet has been proclaimed the future of French tennis since he was nine years old. As he got older the pressure on him increased and while I'm not about to give him an excuse for his drug use this can be seen as Richard playing his get out of jail card. It can also be seen as a wake up call for the people around him.
I've read reports that Richard was "bullied" into tennis by his father, a fanatic of the sport. In recent years, especially after the Davis Cup fiasco there was talk of his erratic behavior being the result of "coddling" by his parents and the FFT (French Tennis Federation). There were also reports, widely circulated on line, questioning his sexual orientation. None of this could be easy for a twenty two year old with the weight of the French tennis establishment on his shoulders.
This case also puts light on the cases of Guillermo Coria and Guillermo Canas, both of whom suffered suspensions under questionable circumstances. Canas is still fighting to clear his name. Coria was vindicated in court but recently retired due to physical constraints. Both of these men had their careers taken from them during their prime.
Richard Gasquet is going to be twenty three this year. A two year ban would make him twenty five on his return. If the two year ban is effected he will lose his career during his prime. Unlike Coria and Canas his suspension comes as a result of his exercising his own free will. Fans will argue it's unfair, that his personal life has been invaded. Some have argued that this is simply a youthful indiscretion. I think that the debate about this will go on just like the debate about Hingis did but that Richard Gasquet will have two years to decide what he wants to do with his life and if tennis will continue to be a part of it.
Sunday's Winners Circle
Hsieh Su-Wei and Peng Shuai, Doubles Champions Rome 2009
Novak Djokovic 2009 Serbian Open Champion
Albert Montanes 2009 Estoril Champion
Eric Butorac and Scott Lipsky won the Doubles Championship at Estoril.
Ivo Minar and Jan Hernych 2009 BMW Doubles Champions
Tomas Berdych 2009 BMW Open Champion