Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal hit back on Saturday at a claim that he faked an injury in 2012 to cover up a failed drugs test.
The 14-time major winner said it was unfathomable that someone would accuse him of using a false injury to try and escape the wrath of the tennis’ anti-doping officials.
“Me?,” he asked. “You can ask the ITF (International Tennis Federation), you can ask WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency), you can ask everybody.”
Nadal has never failed a drug test in his many years on the ATP Tour and has always vehemently denied ever using a banned substance.
“I never did and I will never do and I don’t want to talk about that again,” he told Agence France-Presse on Saturday night after his doubles loss to the Americans Bob and Mike Bryan at the hardcourt tournament at Indian Wells.
Roselyne Bachelot, France’s sports minister between 2007 and 2010, claimed that Nadal had faked an injury in 2012, when he missed the final six months of the season due to knee problems, to hide a positive drug test.
Nadal said he wants “justice” -- his name cleared and for people to stop pointing fingers at him.
“I have been working so hard during the whole of my career to have the success that I have and now is the moment to do justice. I am tired of that and I want justice,” Nadal said.
Nadal’s comments come in the wake of former world number one Maria Sharapova’s failed a drug test at the Australian Open which she revealed on Monday.
Sharapova tested positive for meldonium, which was added to the WADA’s banned list this year.
Nadal said Saturday he was pleased to see all the support he has received from sports organizations, 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 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 sports is not a sport that covers up for people doing negative things. I am tired of all of this.”