Tennis great Rafael Nadal has made good on his promise to sue a former French minister who accused him of doping, claiming he needs to defend his integrity and image as an athlete.
The Spanish superstar said he has filed a defamation lawsuit against Roselyne Bachelot because of her “offensive remarks” on French television last month in the wake of Maria Sharapova’s failed drug
Bachelot, a former minister for health and sport, had suggested on TV show Le Grand 8 that “Nadal’s seven-month injury hiatus in 2012 was probably due to a positive doping test”.
And the 14-time Grand Slam winner, who just won a record-equalling 49th claycourt title at the Barcelona Open, has vowed to defend his honour and integrity as an athlete.
“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,” he said in a statement.
“I also wish to avoid any public figure from making insulting or false allegations against an athlete using the media, without any evidence or foundation and to go unpunished.”
Nadal, who expressed confidence in the French justice system, said any compensation awarded by the judge will be “paid back in full to an NGO or foundation in France”.
Nadal’s Statement in Full
I hereby make public the defamation law suit against Mrs. Roselyne Bachelot, that I have filed today April 25th 2016 before the Paris law courts.
“This legal proceeding was instigated after Miss Bachelot made offensive remarks last March on Le Grand 8, program of French channel D8.
“The lawyer in charge of the case is Maître Patrick Maisonneuve, lawyer at the Paris bar.
“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. I also wish to avoid any public figure from making insulting or false allegations against an athlete using the media, without any evidence or foundation and to go unpunished.
“Should the tribunal consider there has been a wrong-doing and the sentence recognises the right to damages, any compensation will be paid back in full to an NGO or foundation in France.
“On the other hand, I ask for total respect regarding the legal procedure just started and would like to express my complete trust in the French justice system who will be judging the legal case.
“I will not be making any further statement about the case.”
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