Tennis: Shahar's wonky ankle acts up again in Madrid

World No. 23 Gasquet suspended by the ITF following positive drug tests for cocaine.

By AP
May 12, 2009 00:06
2 minute read.
Tennis: Shahar's wonky ankle acts up again in Madrid

shahar peer tennis 248 88 ap. (photo credit: AP [file])

 
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Three days after having to retire from the semifinals of the Estoril Open, Shahar Pe'er lasted just 41 minutes in the first round of the Madrid Open on Monday before pulling out once more because of an ankle inflammation. Pe'er was trailing 5-4 in the first set to world number 11, Caroline Wozniacki, when she decided not to risk her health any further ahead of the start of the French Open in two weeks time. Also on Monday, Serena Williams was forced to pull out of the event in Madrid after aggravating a leg injury in a first-round match against Francesca Schiavone. The second-ranked Williams retired after losing the first set 6-4, citing a problem with her right leg. "I was just really hindered. My movement was hindered as a result of an injury I've been struggling with for some time," Williams said. A downcast Williams said she had made too many commitments with her schedule this year and was paying the price. "I'm trying to compete and do my best and it didn't work out," she said. Williams would not comment on the extent of the injury or whether it would keep her out of the upcoming major in Paris. Meanwhile, in other tennis news, French tennis player Richard Gasquet was suspended Monday following a positive cocaine test and will miss the French Open. The International Tennis Federation expects to have a panel in place within 60 days for a hearing. Gasquet could face a two-year ban if found guilty. The 22-year-old player is gathering evidence to prove his innocence despite both his A and B urine samples testing positive. He said a separate test of his hair samples May 7 showed no trace of cocaine. Cocaine traces were found in Gasquet's samples from the Sony Ericsson Open, in Key Biscayne, Florida, in March. "He is suspended until the end of the hearing," ITF spokesman Neil Robinson said. "We're now assembling an anti-doping tribunal. The ideal time frame is within 60 days, but people have to fly in from all over the world for it." The French Open, the year's second major, begins May 24 and the French Tennis Federation withdrew Gasquet's name after the provisional suspension. Gilbert Ysern, director-general of the French federation, said the test was considered an in-competition control, meaning Gasquet could face a two-year ban if found guilty. A player who tests positive for cocaine out of competition would face a reduced penalty. "Richard is devastated by this announcement," said Ysern, also tournament director of the French Open. "On a human level, we can support him. If he did nothing wrong, we hope he will know how to prove it, but we are not his lawyer." Gasquet was ranked a career-high No. 7 in July 2007 but has since slipped to his current ranking of No. 23. He has played just five matches since pulling out of the Key Biscayne event before his second-round match against Albert Montanes of Spain. Gasquet cited a right shoulder injury for the withdrawal and has since returned to play in Barcelona and at the Rome Masters, where he lost in the third round to Fernando Verdasco on May 1. Martina Hingis was banned for two years early last year after testing positive for cocaine at Wimbledon. The five-time Grand Slam champion and former top-ranked player failed a test after losing to Laura Granville in 2007. Hingis, who has since retired, became the second WTA player suspended for cocaine after Lourdes Dominguez Lino of Spain was banned for three months in 2002.

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