Rafael Nadal has filed a legal suit against Roselyne Bachelot, who worked as the former French government minister for health and sport and accused him of serving a silent doping ban in the year 2012.
According to Telegraph UK, the 69-year-old former French politician, who served in Nicolas Sarkozy’s government from 2007 to 2010, made the remarks during an appearance on the French TV channel D8 on March 7.
“We know that Nadal’s famous seven-month injury was without a doubt due to a positive [drug test],” Bachelot said.
Fellow athletes quickly came to the 14-time Grand Slam champion’s defense. Naturally, Bachelot’s remarks outraged Spaniards who consider Nadal one of Spain’s biggest sports idols. The Spanish Olympic Committee and members of the Spanish government, on the other hand, loudly criticized the former French minister.
The Spanish news media reported that Toni Nadal, Nadal’s coach and uncle, called Bachelot “an imbecile,” noting that Nadal’s seven-month injury hiatus in 2012 is caused by a tendinitis and a virus.
The gold medalist at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing had already announced his intention to sue Bachelot during his match at this year’s Indian Wells tournament, saying, “I am tired about these things. I let it go a few times in the past. Not anymore… I’m going to sue her.”
The case will be heard in France, and Nadal confirmed his “complete trust in the French justice system.” He further stated, “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.”
Should he win the case, he is going to donate the compensation he will get to a nongovernmental organization in France, per ESPN.
The Spanish tennis star is supposed to be Spain’s flag bearer for the 2012 London Olympics, but missed the Games because of an injury. But now, the head of Spain’s Olympic committee wants Nadal to be the country’s flag-bearer at the Rio de Janeiro Games to prove a point in light of the recent accusations made by Bachelot.
Bachelot’s doping claims came in the wake of Maria Sharapova’s failed drug test.