Gasquet Insists He Loves Clay, Not Powder

The French tennis hottie denies taking, how you say, cocaine?

Whatever happens in South Beach, stays in South Beach.

Unless you're an athelete.

French tennis player Richard Gasquet insists he never dabbled in cocaine, but a urine test taken during the Sony Ericsson Open back in March says otherwise.

"I have never, ever, ever taken cocaine in my life," Gasquet, who is currently on suspension until his hearing, said Friday in sports daily L'Equipe. "No one takes cocaine on the (ATP tennis) tour. We are so scared of everything. When I take an aspirin, I call the doctor 10 times to make sure that I can."

Then how did the devil's dandruff end up in his system?

Must have been "outside contamination," perhaps a spiked drink, reasoned Gasquet, who said he had been at Set (or "Le Set," as he called it) and had one cocktail the night before the test.

"One of the people there that night has told me there that cocaine was going round our table," Gasquet, who claims he didn't see any, said. "Since it's a minute quantity that was found in my urine - a mere trace which, I have since found out represents 10 times less than a line of cocaine, everything is possible."

Also at the table were popular French DJ Bob Sinclair, who Gasquet said invited him and his party to join his table, and Gasquet's agent and former French tennis player Thierry Champion.

Gasquet, who ended up withdrawing from the Sony Ericsson due to a shoulder injury, took a hair strand DNA test, which turned up negative for cocaine, in Oxford, England, about a month later to make sure the urine tested was his.

It was (shocker).

The French Tennis Federation withdrew Gasquet's name from the French Open, which ends this weekend, and if found guilty, the 22-year-old player faces a two-year ban, though he says that even if that's the case, he'll be back.

"My motivation has never been stronger. I am 23 (he turns 23 later this month), the good times will come back," he said. "I am innocent, and I can't wait to start playing again. My career is far from finished."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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