Rafael Nadal has filed a defamation lawsuit against former French government minister Roselyne Bachelot, after she accused him of doping.
The 29-year-old Spaniard said in a statement: “Through this case, I intend not only to defend my integrity and my image as an athlete but also the values I have defended all my career.
“I also wish 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.”
Bachelot, who served as French sports minister between 2007 and 2010 but has since left politics, said last month that Nadal’s seven-month absence in 2012 was “probably due to a positive doping test”, and that he had faked an injury in order to hide it.
Last month, Nadal first signalled his intention to sue Bachelot, saying: “I am tired about these things. I let it go a few times in the past. No more.”
Several sports stars came to Nadal’s defence after the allegations, including Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane.
“I feel bad for Rafa Nadal because he is a gentleman, a person that has shown the values he has and that everyone loves,” said the Frenchman.
“He is a professional and I know him a little. I feel bad for what they have said.
“He has to leave all this to one side and think that everyone who loves sport, loves Rafa Nadal, whether they be French, Spanish or American.”