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'I believe my rivals are clean, our sport is clean'

The Spaniard has requested that the International Tennis Federation release the results of his anti-doping tests.

Rafa Nadal has strongly denied doping accusations.
Rafa Nadal has strongly denied doping accusations.
Image: Alan Diaz

FOURTEEN-TIME GRAND Slam champion Rafael Nadal believes his call for all his anti-doping tests to be made public is the only way to end the scourge of doping accusations in tennis.

Nadal filed a lawsuit against former French sports minister Roselyne Bachelot on Monday after she accused him of covering up a failed drugs test.

The Spaniard then requested that the International Tennis Federation release the results of his anti-doping tests throughout his career and in the future.

“My philosophy is easy to understand. I believe in my sport, that is the most important thing, I believe my rivals are clean, our sport is clean and I believe in our anti-doping programme and it is independent one,” Nadal said on Sunday.

The sport should be clean and must look clean. In my opinion it is much better for the transparency of the sport in general to say Rafa Nadal is doing an anti-doping control today, the result will be in two weeks and in two weeks you publish the results, the anti-doping control is negative.

“That will be much easier for everybody, it should be much easier for the world of sport and for sure will be easier for you guys (the media).

“You don’t have to think, you just have to read and for the people at the same time too. They don’t have to create opinions, they have the proof.”

The nine-time French Open champion insisted his pursuit of Bachelot is about protecting his image and pledged that any compensation from the suit would be donated to a French charity.

“I have full confidence in the French justice,” added Nadal.

I feel happy that I don’t need money. It’s something about image, it’s something that the people is not free to say any stupid thing in any time what they think in any moment without knowledge about the things.

“If at the end of the day, as I said in my communication, I take some money from that it will be to a French foundation.”

The spectre of doping in tennis has drawn increased attention in recent months after five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova admitted she failed a test for the banned substance meldonium at this year’s Australian Open.

One of Nadal’s leading rivals on the ATP Tour, Britain’s Andy Murray, has been a vocal critic of the need for the tennis authorities to do more to protect the sport from doping.

And Murray said he too would be open to his drug test results being released to the public.

“I think it’s a good thing. I think the more transparency the better,” said the Scot.

“I know they’ve spoken about doing it in other sports as well. I’m certainly not against that.”

However, world number one Novak Djokovic restated his belief it is for the sport’s authorities rather than the players’ responsibility to protect the image of the sport.

Us players are obviously getting a lot of questions regarding that. I think all of us, all we can say is that — which is actually true — we’re not qualified to talk more about this particular subject,” said the Serb.

“We have to leave it to the authorities and the structures in the sport that are qualified.”

Djokovic did, though, back Nadal’s decision to sue Bachelot.

“I think he has done right thing to protect himself and integrity of his own brand and achievements he had in all these years of work and results that he put in.”

-  Kieran Canning

© AFP 2016

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