Nadal hits back at French crusade
Originally published on: 10/02/12 10:33
After a few days of silence, Rafael Nadal has hit back at what he describes a “general crusade” in France to discredit Spanish athletes by hinting that their success has come as a result of illegal drug use.
The Spanish tennis federation (RFET) revealed they would sue French TV broadcaster Canal+ for “unacceptable and damaging insinuations” in a cartoon featuring Nadal, and the world No.2, speaking in Spanish after a training session in Manacor, told reporters the crusade is “sad”.
“It’s the kind of humor that for one day is fine but if it is repeated over and over again it’s not right and I think it oversteps the line a bit,” said the 10-time Grand Slam champion.
“I don’t think it’s just one media, it’s a general campaign by the neighboring country,” the 25-year-old added.
“It’s sad to see a campaign like that against something that has cost so much to achieve.
“There’s no question of pills or syringes or anything like that I can assure you.”
The Canal+ sketch, which ends with the line “Spanish athletes. They do not win by chance,” is the latest in a line of sketches that have implied Spanish athletes use illegal drugs. One has included former Tour de France winner Alberto Contador, who was handed a two-year ban on Monday for using a banned substance.
But Nadal believes it is not up to the individuals to defend themselves.
“I think it’s an issue one shouldn’t comment on personally but collectively,” he said.
“I think in this case it’s the institutions who have to defend us because I don’t think it’s a campaign against me or any other individual but one against Spain in general.”
RFET has followed that line of thinking and is taking action against the French broadcaster.
“The Spanish federation will sue Canal+ for broadcasting a video which, aside from making unacceptable and slanderous insinuations, used the logo of the federation,” the body said in a statement.