Rafael Nadal is taking action to defend his reputation. The Spanish tennis star filed a defamation lawsuit in Paris on Monday against Roselyne Bachelot, after the former French secretary of sport accused him of doping.
In March, Bachelot appeared on the French TV show “Le Grand 8” and suggested Nadal failed a drug test in 2012, when he took a seven-month hiatus for a knee injury. “When you see a tennis player who stops playing for long months, it is because he has tested positive and because they are covering it up,” Bachelot said on the show. “It is not something that always happens, but yes, it happens more than you think.”
In a statement to the press today, Nadal, who is sponsored by Nike, said, “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.”
Nadal has stated that any compensation gained from the lawsuit will go toward a nonprofit or foundation in France.
Bachelot’s initial comments were made following the news in March that tennis pro Maria Sharapova had failed her own drug test at this year’s Australian Open.
When asked at that time for his reaction to Sharapova’s misstep, Nadal told the press, “I have no temptation in doing something wrong. I believe in the sport and the value of the sport. The sport is an example for the society; it’s an example for the kids. If I am doing something against that, then I am lying to myself, lying to my opponents. That would be something really bad for me.”
On Sunday, Nadal beat Kei Nishikori to win the Barcelona Open for the ninth time. The Spaniard is currently ranked No. 5 on the ATP World Tour and is expected to compete next week in the Madrid Open.