Tennis: Nadal sues former French Sports Minister over doping claim

By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw

Rafael Nadal, the sixteen times’ tennis grand slam winner, is suing, in a Paris Court, Roselyne Bachelot, who was the French Sports Minister from 2007 – 2010, over claims that she made in March 2016 on French television about an alleged doping cover up by the player.

She claimed that Nadal faked a knee injury in 2012, that kept him out of the final six months of that season, in order, she alleges, to cover up a positive doping test.

Nadal is claiming damages from her of €100,000 for, as his lawyer claimed, the “major consequences concerning his existing or future sponsors” and handed over Nadal’s medical file, which he said shows a very serious left knee injury.

Bachelot’s lawyer argued that the fault lay with the anti-doping programme of the International Tennis Federation, which he alleged “has always been astonishingly lax.” He also called on the Court, if it found in Nadal’s favour, to award him symbolic damages only of one euro, since none of Nadal’s sponsors has abandoned him because of his client’s remarks.

Nadal stated that he has never failed a doping test and vehemently denies ever using any banned substance.

A decision in the case is expected on 16 November.

Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw may be contacted by e-mail at ‘ian.blackshaw@orange.fr’