Gasquet tests positive for cocaine

Ever since he appeared on the front of a magazine at the age of nine Richard Gasquet has been hailed as the future of French tennis, but the 22-year-old's career could be in ruins after he admitted yesterday to failing a drugs test for cocaine. Testing positive during competition brings an automatic two-year ban, though he is likely to appeal.

Gasquet confirmed in a statement that both "A" and "B" tests on a urine sample given at the Miami tournament in March had revealed traces of the drug. However, he said that a hair sample tested by an independent laboratory "showed no trace of cocaine" and added: "Given the complexity of the case, I am gathering the evidence of my innocence and will later set a date to make further comments."

The French Tennis Federation said it found news of the positive test "very surprising considering Richard Gasquet's personality".

The world No 23, who cited a shoulder injury when he pulled out of this week's Madrid Masters, was tested after withdrawing for similar reasons before his first match in Miami. It is thought that one avenue he could pursue would be to argue that, as he had not played, it was an out-of-competition test, which would not bring a ban (as the effects of cocaine are considered to be only temporary).

Gasquet would not be the first to test positive for cocaine, which is considered a stimulant. Martina Hingis retired following her test at Wimbledon two summers ago, Mats Wilander and Karel Novacek were banned for three months after failing tests at the 1995 French Open, and Spain's Lourdes Dominguez Lino was suspended for the same period in 2002.

Gasquet has not won a tournament for 20 months and is now only the French No 4. For all his brilliance – his style has often been compared with Roger Federer's – he has looked uncomfortable in the public eye and has never gone beyond the third round of the French Open. He has also seemed short on mental strength. Last year, for example, he played superbly to win the first two sets against Andy Murray in the fourth round at Wimbledon only to wilt as the Scot successfully fought back.

Murray, who will move up a place to No 3 in today's updated rankings list, has hardly looked back since that match. The 21-year-old Scot will be hoping to complete his preparations for the French Open, which begin in a fortnight's time, with a good week here.

He has a first-round bye and could meet Simone Bolelli in the second round, followed by Tommy Robredo, Juan Martin del Potro and Federer in the semi-finals. Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic head the other half of the draw. The women are also competing here, with the injured Ana Ivanovic the only absentee among the leading players.

There are three courts with retractable roofs in the event of rain, though Mother Nature found other ways to halt play yesterday. Sorana Cirstea and Alona Bondarenko were in the middle of their match when a queen bee took up residence on the net and was joined by hundreds of her followers. The court was evacuated.

Among those affected was Anne Keothavong, the British No 1, who was due on court next to play Mariana Duque Marino. "It's certainly the strangest reason I've ever had for having a match delayed," Keothavong said. "I'm just glad I'm not allergic to bees. It's a shame I haven't got a bee-keeper's outfit to wear."

News
David Beckham
peopleFootballer joins No campaign
Sport
Angel Di Maria
Football
News
Piers Morgan tells Scots they might not have to suffer living on the same island as him if they vote ‘No’ to Scottish Independence
news
News
i100Exclusive interview with the British analyst who helped expose Bashar al-Assad's use of Sarin gas
PROMOTED VIDEO
Sport
BoxingVideo: The incident happened in the very same ring as Tyson-Holyfield II 17 years ago
Life and Style
Jourdan Dunn gave TopShop’s Unique show some added glamour at London Fashion Week
fashion week
News
Groundskeeper Willie has backed Scottish independence in a new video
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor poses the question of whether we are every truly alone in 'Listen'
tvReview: Possibly Steven Moffat's most terrifying episode to date
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week
The fall of Rome? Cash-strapped Italy accused of selling its soul to the highest bidder

The fall of Rome?

Italy's fears that corporate-sponsored restoration projects will lead to the Disneyfication of its cultural heritage
Glasgow girl made good

Glasgow girl made good

Kelly Macdonald was a waitress when she made Trainspotting. Now she’s taking Manhattan
Sequins ahoy as Strictly Come Dancing takes to the floor once more

Sequins ahoy as Strictly takes to the floor once more

Judy Murray, Frankie Bridge and co paired with dance partners
Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

Alexander Wang pumps it up at New York Fashion Week
The landscape of my imagination

The landscape of my imagination

Author Kate Mosse on the place that taught her to tell stories