Rafael Nadal has fervently denied ever taking any performance-enhancing treatments during his career, as tennis finds itself under closer scrutiny in the wake of Maria Sharapova’s positive drugs test.
Sharapova’s failed test, for the banned drug meldonium, has put doping in tennis firmly on the agenda – with Nadal insisting that the Russian “should be punished” regardless of whether or not it was a mistake.
The Spaniard has been the subject of veiled accusations about his own medical history throughout his career, and took the opportunity to express his anger and disappointment that his integrity as an athlete has ever been questioned when asked about Sharapova’s case ahead of this month’s ATP tournament at Indian Wells.
Nadal insists he has never taken any performance-enhancing substances.
“I have never had the temptation of doing something wrong. I am very far from that, doping,” Nadal told AFP.
He has nevertheless been aware of the occasional rumours about doping that have been thrown at him.
“I heard it a few times again about doping from my person and I am a little bit tired with that,” Nadal added.
“I believe in the sport and the values of the sport.
“The sport is an example for society. It is an example for the kids and if I am doing something that goes against that, I will be lying to myself, not lying to my opponents.”
Nadal, who has won 14 grand slams during an illustrious career, has suffered with a number of serious injuries in recent seasons – including knee problems that have kept him off the court for extended periods of time.
The 29-year-old happily acknowledges that he has gone to great lengths to find a treatment for his health problems, but has never gone beyond what is legally permitted and has always been open about the procedures he has undergone.