Rafael Nadal to sue over doping claims

Rafael Nadal has been copping it big time. Photo / AP
Rafael Nadal has been copping it big time. Photo / AP

Maria Sharapova was the one done for doping, but Rafael Nadal's been copping the heat - now he wants justice.

In the wake of the Russian's admission that she tested positive for meldonium - a drug placed on WADA's banned list at the start of 2016 - the Spaniard has been forced to defend himself against accusations that he too has doped in his career.

One of the more direct digs at the 29-year-old came from former French sports minister Roselyne Bachelot, who accused Nadal of faking a knee injury in 2012 - when he missed the final six months of the season - to cover up a positive drug test.

"We know about that famous injury of Rafael Nadal ... is certainly due to a positive test," Bachelot said, adding that lengthy player injuries were "not every time, of course, but very often" drug cover-ups.

If Nadal has his way, Bachelot won't get away with such slanderous accusations.

"There are a couple of times I've heard comments like this, and this is going to be the last one because I'm going to sue her," Nadal said at Indian Wells.

"I am tired of these things. I let it go a few times in the past. Not anymore.

"I'm going to sue her, and I'm going to sue everyone who's going to comment something similar in the future, because I am tired of that.

"Now is the moment for justice ... I want justice."

Nadal was asked several days ago at the tournament in California if any of the accusations against him were true. He went off.

"No f***ing way, forget about it."

Nadal has never failed a drug test in his many years on the ATP Tour, and his staunch defence of that record continued on the weekend.

"I never did (dope) and I will never do and I don't want to talk about that again," he told Agence France-Presse on Sunday after his doubles loss to the Americans Bob and Mike Bryan.

He said his career has reached the heights it has - he's won 14 grand slam singles titles - due to nothing but hard work and a love of tennis.

"I have been working so much since I was five years old, all my career, to have the success that I've had, and always the right way," Nadal said.

"Always practising with passion, with intensity, with a love for the game."

Nadal was adamant Sharapova should be punished for testing positive, saying her news was a black eye on the sport.

"It is terrible news for our sport," Nadal said.

"It is terrible because our sport must be clean and look clean.

"The good news is we have a good anti-doping program."

The "terrible news" then encroached upon him, but he was pleased to see all the support he has received from sports organisations, sports personalities, fans and family who have rushed to his defence after Bachelot's comments.

"Just thanks for the support from the people," Nadal said. "It is great to see the huge support from the world of sport."

Real Madrid coach and former French football captain Zinedine Zidane launched a staunch personal defence of Nadal, saying "he is a gentleman and a person that has shown values".

Real Madrid also released a statement and Nadal's uncle Toni Nadal called Bachelot "an imbecile".

Nadal hopes that with the support he has received he can now put the matter to bed once and for all.

"Believe me our sport is clean," he told AFP. "If everybody is doing something wrong then the people go to the justice and go on trial and then the judge decides.

"Our sport is not a sport that covers up for people doing negative things."

- news.com.au and wires

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