Rafael Nadal wins defamation case over doping claims
A French tribunal on Thursday ordered a former minister of health and sports to pay tennis star Rafael Nadal $11,800 in damages for accusing him of doping.
The tribunal found that Roselyne Bachelot, who served as the minister of health and sports between 2007 and 2010, defamed the 16-time grand slam winner during a March 2016 television appearance in France.
The tennis star filed a lawsuit against Bachelot the following month, saying at the time that the case was intended “to defend my integrity and my image as an athlete, but also the values I have defended all my career.”
In a statement released Thursday by a representative of Nadal’s Monaco-based PR team, the Spanish player said he also sought to prevent “any public figure from making insulting or false allegations against an athlete using the media, without any evidence or foundation and to go unpunished.”
“The motivation as I have always remarked was not economical,” he said.
Nadal said he would donate the 10,000 euros awarded to him to a French charity.
After filing the lawsuit, Nadal asked the International Tennis Federation to disclose the results of all doping tests he has ever taken.
The ITF said it wouldn’t release the tests results but added there was nothing to stop Nadal or his camp from doing so.
During an appearance on French TV’s Canal+, Bachelot accused Nadal of taking seven months out of tennis between 2012 and 2013 to cover up a failed drugs test.
“We know that the famous injury which kept Nadal out for seven months is without any doubt because he tested positive,” Bachelot said. “When you see a tennis player out of action for a long time, it’s usually because they’ve tested positive.”
Nadal has maintained that he missed various tournaments, including the 2012 Olympics and US Open, due to a knee injury.