Tuesday 6 December 2016

Rafa Nadal: I will sue former French sporting minister for doping allegations

Published 14/03/2016 | 10:13

Spain's Rafael Nadal
Spain's Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal has stepped up his attack on those who label him a drugs cheat, threatening to sue the French ex-sports minister who said the Spanish tennis star failed a drug test.

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Nadal said he is seeking "justice" and will have his day in court to silence critics like former French minister Roselyne Bachelot.

"I gonna sue her, and I gonna sue everyone who gonna comment something similar in the future, because I am tired of that," he said on Sunday night, at Indian Wells.

Bachelot, who served as sports minister between 2007 and 2010, has claimed that Nadal faked an injury in 2012, when he missed the final six months of the season due to knee problems, in order to hide a positive drug test.

The 14-time Grand Slam champion has come out swinging, though, insisting he will seek "justice" and use the courts to put a stop to speculation he ever used performance-enhancing drugs.

"I am tired about these things. I let it go a few times in the past. No more," Nadal said, adding that he expected better of an official who was "minister of a big country and a great country like France."

Nadal has never failed a drug test in his many years on the ATP Tour and has always vehemently denied ever using a banned substance. Previously he had been reluctant to take people who accused him of using illegal drugs to court, but has now changed his mind.

Nadal, the world No 5, beat Gilles Muller 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 in the second round at Indian Wells on Sunday.

He moves on to face fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco in the hardcourt tournament, one of the biggest events on the ATP Tour calendar outside of the four Grand Slams.

The draw sets up a possible semi-final showdown between world No 1 Novak Djokovic and the Spaniard. They're nearly even in their 47 head-to-head meetings, with Djokovic holding a 24-23 edge.

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