Rafael Nadal sues former French minister over doping allegation to ‘defend my integrity’

Radial Nadal confirms that he has initiated legal action against former French Minister for Health and Sports, Roselyne Bachelot

Rafael Nadal made clear his anger at the accusations last month by the former French Minister for Health and Sports, Roselyne Bachelot, on Le Grand 8, and threatened to take legal action.

Now the world No5 and 14-time Grand Slam champion has been as good as his word by confirming that he has filed a law suit against Bachelot.

In the wake of Maria Sharapova’s admission of a failed drug test at the Australian Open for the recently-banned meldonium, Bachelot said in early March: “We know about the famous injury of Rafael Nadal when he was absent for seven months: it’s certainly due to a positive test… When you see a tennis player has stopped for months, [it means] he tested positive—not every time, but often.”

Nadal was away from the tennis tour for seven months between Wimbledon 2012 and South America’s ‘golden swing’ in 2013 due to the chronic knee problems that dogged his career for many years.

Asked about Bachelot’s comments during his semi-final run at Indian Wells, Nadal said: “There are a couple of times I heard comments like this, and this gonna be the last one, because I gonna sue her.

“I am tired about these things. I let it go a few times in the past. No more. I know how tough I worked to be here. To hear those comments from a person that should be serious, because [she] was minister of a big country and a great country like France—so I gonna sue her, and I gonna sue everyone who gonna comment something similar in the future, because I am tired of that.”

In a statement issued by his agent yesterday evening, Nadal confirmed he had indeed begun proceedings:

“I hereby make public the defamation law suit against Roselyne Bachelot that I have filed today April 25th 2016 before the Paris law courts.

“This legal proceeding was instigated after Miss Bachelot made offensive remarks last March on Le Grand 8, a programme of French channel D8.

“Through this case, I intend not only to defend my integrity and my image as an athlete but also the values I have defended all my career. I also wish to avoid any public figure from making insulting or false allegations against an athlete using the media, without any evidence or foundation and to go unpunished.”

Nadal went on to say that, should he win the case, he did not intend to keep any of the proceeds: “Should the tribunal consider there has been a wrong-doing and the sentence recognises the right to damages, any compensation will be paid back in full to an NGO or foundation in France.”

Nadal, who has just won back-to-back titles in Monte-Carlo and Barcelona, is currently preparing for the second clay Masters tournament of the season in his home capital of Madrid, before heading to Rome. Then he heads to France itself, where he will aim to win a record 10th title at Roland Garros.

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