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Gasquet confident before doping ban appeal ruling

RICHARD Gasquet is confident the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) will accept he took cocaine inadvertently when they rule on an appeal against a decision allowing him to return from a doping ban, his agent said today.

CAS confirmed in a statement today the International Tennis Federation (ITF), jointly with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), had appealed against the decision allowing the French player to return to the international circuit.

"Richard Gasquet has noted the appeal by the ITF and is convinced the Court of Arbitration for Sport will confirm he did not deliberately take cocaine," his agent, Nicolas Lamperin, said in a statement.

Gasquet, 23, was provisionally suspended in May after a sample he had provided in March in Miami tested positive for benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of cocaine.

In July, an independent tribunal set up under the tennis anti-doping programme found him guilty but ruled he had been inadvertently contaminated in a nightclub.

He was banned for two months and 15 days, backdated to May 1. The tribunal ruled his results, ranking points and prize money from subsequent events would stand.

Gasquet is currently training and still plans to return later this month at a tournament in New Haven, Connecticut, his agent said.

"The appeal does not ban athletes from competing," Lamperin said. "Therefore, while waiting for the new hearing, Richard will continue to prepare for his return to competition in the next few weeks."

No date has been set for the hearing. CAS said a final decision would be made within four months.

Gasquet, who is ranked 37th in the world, has always maintained his innocence and said he had a hair sample tested by an independent laboratory which showed no trace of cocaine.


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