London:The International Tennis Federation launched an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport on Thursday over an independent tribunal's decision to essentially clear Richard Gasquet of doping after he tested positive for cocaine.
The ITF's tribunal panel ruled last month that Gasquet inadvertently took cocaine by kissing a woman in a nightclub, and the Frenchman was cleared to resume playing after completing a 2 1/2-month ban. The ITF had sought a two-year ban under the terms of the World Anti-Doping Agency's code.
"The ITF can confirm that, jointly with WADA, it has appealed to CAS the decision of the independent tribunal in the case of Richard Gasquet," The ITF said in a statement, adding it would make no further comments on the case.
The tribunal panel of three lawyers said last month that Gasquet consumed no more than "a grain of salt" of the drug, and a long ban would be an injustice.
The ITF provisionally suspended Gasquet when the test result was announced in May and he was forced to miss the French Open and Wimbledon.
Gasquet tested positive for cocaine in a urine sample in March after he pulled out of the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, with a shoulder injury.
After withdrawing from the tournament, Gasquet went to a nightclub in Miami with friends and he told the tribunal hearing that he kissed a woman. The tribunal said it was likely that the woman - identified only as "Pamela" - had consumed cocaine during the night, though it had no direct evidence.
Five-time Grand Slam champion Martina Hingis also tested positive for cocaine, after losing at Wimbledon in 2007, and was banned for two years. Hingis denied taking the drug but did not appeal the ruling and immediately announced her retirement when the test result was revealed in November 2007. She is eligible to resume her career after the ban ends on September 30, her 29th birthday.
Gasquet won his first matches on the ATP tour at 15 and his ranking peaked at No. 7 after reaching the semifinals at Wimbledon in 2007, when he lost to Roger Federer.