Rafael Nadal is now about to regain his title as the King of Clay after winning Monte Carlo and Barcelona Open this year. The one thing that stands in his way of clay court domination is one French sports minister who claimed that he doped back in 2012.
“Rafael Nadal has confirmed he is suing the former French sports minister Roselyne Bachelot for alleging he had absented himself from the Tour in 2012 to hide the use of performance-enhancing drugs,” reports the Guardian. “Her comments followed Maria Sharapova’s public admission that she had failed a drug test during the 2016 Australian Open.”
The reports go that the French sports minister said after Maria Sharapova’s suspension, “We know that Nadal’s famous seven-month injury was without a doubt due to a positive [drug test]. When you see a tennis player who stops playing for long months, it is because he has tested positive and because they are covering it up. It is not something that always happens, but, yes, it happens more than you think.”
While this seems like a wild guess on her part, this has definitely put a stain on his title of being the King of Clay. Seeing how he has struggled professionally since continuing to play tennis after his injury, this doping accusation did make Rafael Nadal angry.
To fight back, the winner of Barcelona Open is suing her.
“I hereby make public the defamation lawsuit against Roselyne Bachelot, that I have filed today April 25th 2016 before the Paris law courts,” the former world number one said in a statement, according to the Guardian. “This legal proceeding was instigated after Bachelot made offensive remarks last March on Le Grand 8 programme of French channel D8. In charge of the case is Maître Patrick Maisonneuve, lawyer at the Paris bar.”
But she doesn’t seem to be too fazed by his legal action. Her latest Twitter message was not related to the charges that Rafael is pushing on her.
This lawsuit must be putting a damper on Rafa’s parade as he won this year’s Monte Carlo and Barcelona Open in a row. Especially winning the championship title in his home turf must have felt very special to him after months of underperforming.
He didn’t forget to thank his fans for all their support through the rough times.
“Rafael Nadal of Spain beat the two-time defending champion Kei Nishikori of Japan, 6-4, 7-5, to win the Barcelona Open for the ninth time Sunday, equaling Guillermo Vilas’s record of 49 career clay-court championships,” reports New York Times. “Nadal, a winner of 14 Grand Slam singles events, added this title to one from Monte Carlo last week as he continued to regain form on his favorite surface ahead of the French Open.”
King of Clay is definitely feeling the heat from these doping allegations. The fact that he just won the two most significant tournaments leading up to Roland Garros 2016 back to back means that he can’t even enjoy the victory fully.
“I’m going to sue her, and I’m going to sue everyone who [is] going to comment [on] something similar in the future, because I am tired of that,” he said, according to the Guardian. “A minister of France should be serious. This time is the time to go against her.”
But if Rafael lets his lawyers do the work and concentrates on the game itself, he has a pretty good chance of making a grand sweep of the clay court tournament titles this year. Many sports writers are alluding that the former world number one may be back in business and that this confidence boost will help him forge his way through Roland Garros 2016.
“We lament that his consistency has slipped,” a writer stated on Sports Illustrated. “But even that implies that he’s still capable of greatness. Even with a first round loss in Australia, he’s playing Top Five tennis in 2016. He appears to be healthy. And the next Grand Slam is one he’s claimed NINE times.”
For now, Rafael Nadal can step back and enjoy what he has accomplished in his sports career.
Do you think he will be able to bring down the French sports minister in court? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
[Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images]