Facing new accusations that he sat out portions of 2012 because he feared testing positive for a banned substance, Rafael Nadal again denied he has ever used performance enhancers to speed his recovery from injury.
"You know what? I heard [about the accusations] a few times again," the 14-time Grand Slam champion told reporters Wednesday night after being asked for his reaction to Maria Sharapova's failed drug test. "I am a completely clean guy. I have never had the temptation of doing something wrong. When I get injury, I get injury. I never take nothing to be back quicker."
On Tuesday, Roselyne Bachelot, the former French secretary of sport, accused Nadal of doping in 2012, echoing accusations made by former French Open champion Yannick Noah in 2011 and by former Belgian pro Christophe Rochus in 2013.
"We know that Nadal's famous seven-month injury was without a doubt due to a positive [drug test]," Bachelot told French TV show "Le Grand 8" on Tuesday morning. "When you see a tennis player who stops playing for long months, it is because he has tested positive and because they are covering it up. It is not something that always happens, but yes it happens more than you think."
"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 said Wednesday. "I believe in the sport and the values of the sport."
Nadal's uncle and coach, Toni Nadal, told RAC 1 radio show, "Rafael's lawyer is already working to potentially take legal action against [Bachelot]. In this world, instead of proving one's guilt, a person must prove their innocence.
"I am no longer surprised by what people say, but comments like these from a former sports leader are incredible to me."
In 2011, Noah wrote a column in Le Monde newspaper saying that French athletes no longer had a chance against their Spanish opponents because they "don't have the magic potion." French television also featured several satirical moments, and in 2013, Rochus questioned how Nadal could dominate the 2012 French Open and then be injured two weeks later at Wimbledon.
"I have been open all my career," Nadal told reporters at Indian Wells. "I never tried to hide nothing that I did. I did PRP, and then I did stem cells.
"The first time with PRP, it worked fantastic, and the second time it was bad. I had to stop playing tennis for seven months. With stem cells, I used it two times on my knees and it worked very well. I am not doing, never did and never going to do something wrong."
The 29-year-old added that he has faith in his doctor, Angel Ruiz-Cotorro.
"He has been the doctor for all the Spanish players for a number of years," Nadal said. "I would never take nothing that he doesn't know about."
Spanish sports minister Miguel Cardenal blasted Bachelot, who held her position from 2007 to 2010 under the administration of Nicolas Sarkozy, telling Spanish news agency EFE that her comments were "surprisingly frivolous."
"[Bachelot] has not held this position [minister of sport] for many years, and I am sure she has forgotten everything that she has ever known," Cardenal said. "I am convinced that she will realize the huge mistake she has made and the unacceptable injustice and she will apologize. About the rest, it is best not to pay too much attention. The lie is so ridiculous that it is easy to rule out without much effort."