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Gasquet may have used cocaine "unintentionally"

Article published on the 2009-06-05 Latest update 2009-06-05 14:37 TU

French tennis player Richard Gasquet.(Photo: Reuters)

French tennis player Richard Gasquet.
(Photo: Reuters)

French tennis player Richard Gasquet said he may have taken cocaine unintentionally but insisted that he had never knowingly used the drug.

The 22 year-old, who rose to number seven in the world two years ago, tested positive for cocaine at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami in March even though he had pulled out of the event with an injured shoulder.

Gasquet was provisionally suspended by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) last month and faces a two-year ban from the sport if he does not clear his name.

"I have never, ever, ever taken cocaine in my life. I understand the suspicion but I will repeat as many times as is necessary. I have never taken this stuff," he told French sports newspaper L’Equipe.

"On the circuit, no-one takes it. When I have to take an aspirin, I call the doctor ten times to be sure I can."

Gasquet said that he was still puzzled as to how the cocaine showed up in his urine sample but admitted that it may have happened without him knowing at a party at the tournament.

"It was something small, they found 150 nanograms, I have been told it is the equivalent of one tenth of a line," he said.

"I have been trying to know what happened. I saw a person who was at that party and this person told me he/she was offered cocaine that night, that there was a lot of cocaine.

"I did not see it. Had I seen it, I would have left that nightclub."

Gasquet said he would continue to battle to clear his name.

"I would like to be on court and not with the lawyers, but there is no choice. It will take as long as it has to, I will fight until the end."

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