Rafa Nadal has won his case against the former French Sports Minister Roselyne Bachelot who had claimed in an interview in March 2016, that the Spaniard had, between 2012 and 2013, taken time off for taking drugs rather than the reported knee injury.
Nadal decided to litigate for defamation of character and last month his case was upheld and Bachelot has been ordered to pay about $11,800 in compensation and legal costs, well below the 100,000 Euros Patrick Maisonneuve, his lawyer, was calling for in damages.
The lawyer said at the time of the hearing,“Those remarks could have had meaningful consequences on the player’s situation with current and future sponsors.”
In a statement, the world No.1 said: “I would like to reiterate my respect to the legal procedure and Tribunals of France.
“We have been made aware of their decision by which Mrs. Bachelot has been found guilty of defamation. When I filed the law suit against Mrs. Bachelot, I intended 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 avoid any public figure from making insulting or false allegations against an athlete using the media, without any evidence or foundation and to go unpunished. The motivation as I have always remarked was not economical.
“As the tribunal considered there has been a wrong-doing and the sentence recognises the right to damages, the compensation will be paid back in full to an NGO or foundation in France.”
As he promised when filing his lawsuit, any damages received would go to charity while he would be settling his lawyer’s bills personally.
He also repeated his request for greater transparency as regard drug testing so that there can be no misunderstandings.
“I would like transparency when it comes to anti-doping, with anti-doping authorities saying: ‘Rafael Nadal has undergone a test today, which turned out to be negative.’ For me, that would change a lot of things.
“One would not wonder anymore about how many controls such player must undergo, if he has too much controls or not enough. At least there, everyone would have the numbers.
“In the case of Bachelot, I decided to take the case to justice and it will be the justice who will respond. I am tired of hearing such things that harm my honour and cause damages.”