Madrid, March 11 (IANS) The Spanish Olympic Committee (COE) on Friday supported Rafael Nadal following the “unfortunate and unjustified” doping accusations by French former sports minister Roselyne Bachelot.
Bachelot said during a talk show that the Spanish player had faked a knee injury in 2012 to conceal a doping ban. Nadal, a 14-time Grand Slam winner and a former World No.1, has always successfully passed all drug tests.
“Rafael Nadal is one of the best athletes in world tennis history and in his long career has been subjected to countless doping tests that he has always passed successfully,” said a statement released by the Olympic body, reports Efe.
The COE said it “deeply regrets the unfortunate and unjustified statements of a person who, for the position she had held, should be aware that such accusations, because of the importance of them, must be grounded in evidence.”
The committee added that it hopes that “Rafael Nadal, like the rest of Spanish athletes, continues his successful career, swelling the long list of triumphs in Spanish sport.”
Bachelot, who was the sports minister between 2007 and 2010 and now participates in a TV programme on D8 station, recalled that everyone knew about the famous injury that kept Nadal out for seven months, indicating that he was absent because he had tested positive for doping.
Bachelot’s statements on Nadal came after it was announced on Monday that Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova had tested positive during the Australia Open for taking a banned cardiac drug.
The former minister explained that when tennis players stop competing for several months, they have tested positive for banned drugs, noting that these cases are not regular, but “very often.”
Bachelot’s accusation was not the first against Nadal by sporting figures in France, as Yannick Noah, current captain of the French team in the Davis Cup, previously hinted at the possibility that the Spanish player may have tested positive for banned drugs.