Tennis champion Rafael Nadal has filed a lawsuit in Paris against former French sports minister Roselyne Bachelot after she had accused the Spaniard of hiding a positive drug test. Bachelot, who served as sports minister between 2007 and 2010, had made the accusation in March on French television when asked about five-time Grand Slam Champion Maria Sharapova's admission that she had failed a drug test.
The former politician had accused Nadal of faking an injury in 2012 in order to hide a positive drug test. He missed the final six months of the season due to injury. The Spaniard had stated that he would file a defamation case against Bachelot.
"This legal proceeding was instigated after Miss Bachelot made offensive remarks last March on le Grand 8 program on 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," said Nadal, as quoted by Skysports.
"I also wish to avoid any public figure making insulting or false allegations against an athlete using the media, without any evidence or foundation and to go unpunished."
The World No 5 five turned professional at the age of 15. He has never failed a drug test and has always denied any wrongdoing or using a banned substance. He also reacted angrily to Bachelot's doping comments which he said were all hearsay.
"This is going to be the last one, because I am going to sue her. I am tired about these things. I let it go a few times in the past, but not anymore."
The allegations caused an uproar in Spain with many sports stars coming to his defence, including footballing legend Zinedine Zidane.
"I feel bad for Rafa Nadal because he is a gentleman, a person that has shown the values he has and everyone loves. He is a professional and I know him a little, I feel bad for what they have to say. He has to leave all this to one side and think that everyone who loves sport, loves Rafa Nadal, whether they be French, Spanish or American."