ATP Tour

Nadal plans to sue ex-sports minister

Rafael Nadal (AP)
Rafael Nadal (AP)

Indian Wells - Rafael Nadal on Sunday stepped up his attack on those who label him a drugs cheat, threatening to sue the French ex-sports minister who said the Spanish tennis star failed a drug test.

Nadal said he is seeking "justice" and will have his day in court to silence critics like former French minister Roselyne Bachelot.

"I gonna sue her, and I gonna sue everyone who gonna comment something similar in the future, because I am tired of that," Nadal said on Sunday night at the Indian Wells hard-court tournament.

Bachelot, who served as sports minister between 2007 and 2010, has said that Nadal faked an injury in 2012, when he missed the final six months of the season due to knee problems, in order to hide a positive drug test.

The 14-time Grand Slam champion first told AFP on Saturday night that he was going to seek "justice" and use the courts to put a stop to speculation he ever used performance-enhancing drugs.

"I am tired about these things. I let it go a few times in the past. No more," Nadal said, adding that he expected better of a person who was "minister of a big country and a great country like France."

Nadal has never failed a drug test in his many years on the ATP Tour and has always vehemently denied ever using a banned substance.

Nadal said he had been reluctant to take people who accused him of using illegal drugs to court in the past, but has now changed his mind.

Nadal, the world number five, beat Gilles Muller 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 in the second round at Indian Wells on Sunday.

Nadal, the former three-time Indian Wells champion, moves on to face fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco in the hard-court tournament, one of the biggest events on the ATP Tour calendar outside of the four Grand Slams.

The draw sets up a possible semi-final showdown between world number one Novak Djokovic and Nadal. They're nearly even in their 47 head-to-head meetings, with Djokovic owning a 24-23 edge.

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