Gasquet cleared for return following cocaine ban

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France’s Richard Gasquet, who tested positive for cocaine during the Miami Masters in March, was cleared to resume his career on Wednesday despite being handed a two-and-a-half month ban.

Gasquet had been suspended in May after testing positive for cocaine, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) said.

However, the ITF added that the 23-year-old will be able to return to action as from Wednesday, with the ban retroactive to May.

Gasquet had claimed that he had picked up traces of the substance after kissing a girl in a Miami nightclub.

“I am really happy, to put it simply, to return to the courts. It’s a great joy. Justice has been done,” said Gasquet, a former world number seven.

“It has been terrible in the last two months, an extraordinary pain. I couldn’t go to either the French Open or Wimbledon.”

The ITF tribunal accepted his plea of ‘no significant fault or negligence’, the player having insisted that the cocaine entered his system through inadvertent contamination in a nightclub the night before his scheduled match. 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 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.


lol, as if richie kisses girls