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Gasquet suspended over drug test
French tennis star suspended by International Tennis Federation for cocaine use.
Last Modified: 11 May 2009 14:45 GMT

Richard Gasquet at the Australian Open in January [GALLO/GETTY]
The International Tennis Federation has suspended French player Richard Gasquet following his positive test for cocaine.

An anti-doping tribunal will be assembled within 60 days to hear the case.

Gasquet has protested his innocence, despite both his 'A' and 'B' samples coming back positive for cocaine.

Traces of the drug were found in the 22-year-old Gasquet's urine sample at the Sony Ericsson Open, in Key Biscayne, Florida, in March.

Immediate suspension

"He's suspended until the end of the hearing,'' ITF spokesman Neil Robinson said.

"We're now assembling an anti-doping tribunal.

"The ideal timeframe is within 60 days, but people have to fly in from all over the world for it.''

Gasquet, who could face a two-year ban if found guilty, said that a separate test of his hair samples on May 7 showed no trace of cocaine.

The Frenchman, who was ranked seventh in July 2007 but has since slipped to No. 21, has played just five matches since pulling out of the Sony Ericsson Open before his second-round match against Albert Montanes of Spain.

Gasquet cited a right shoulder injury for the withdrawal and has since returned to action in Barcelona and at the Rome Masters, where he lost in the third round to Fernando Verdasco on May 1.

Gasquet, who lost to Roger Federer in the semi-finals at Wimbledon in 2007, was considered a future star when he first arrived on tour with a one-handed backhand widely considered among the best in the game.

Hingis announced her retirement following a positive test for cocaine last year [EPA]
Doping history

Martina Hingis was banned for two years early last year after testing positive for cocaine at Wimbledon.

The five-time Grand Slam champion and former top-ranked player failed a test after losing to Laura Granville in June 2007.

Hingis, who has since retired, became the second WTA player suspended for cocaine after Lourdes Dominguez Lino of Spain was banned for three months in 2002.

Former top-ranked men's player Mats Wilander and Karel Novacek had positive tests for cocaine at the 1995 French Open.

That was prior to the introduction of rules to automatically suspend players following a positive second test.

Both continued playing before eventually being banned for three months and ordered to return prize money and forfeit rankings points.

Source:
Agencies
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