Nadal pens letter to International Tennis Federation
Asks ITF to publicize his drug test results
ITF refuses but says Nadal can do so
Nadal says tennis is "clean"
In an extremely rare move from a high-profile athlete, Rafael Nadal wants all of his drug test results to be made public.
Nadal is suing the former French health and sports minister for claiming he failed a drug test and his request to international governing body the ITF is the latest move by the 14-time grand slam winner to prove he has nothing to hide.
Besides refuting the allegation made by Roselyne Bachelot, Nadal in the past has been forced to deny he has committed doping offenses.
In a letter addressed to ITF president David Haggerty, Nadal – who turned pro in 2001 – asked the ITF to disclose the outcome of all the tests he has ever taken.
He would like the ITF, too, to take legal action if “misinformation is spread.”
“I know how many times I am tested, on and off competition,” Nadal wrote in the letter, which was sent to CNN.
“Please make all my information public. Please make my biological passport, my complete history and Anti-Doping controls and tests.
“From now on I ask you to communicate when I am tested and the results as soon as they are ready from your labs,” added Nadal, who won back-to-back clay-court titles in Monte Carlo and Barcelona this month to signal a revival on court after a disappointing season in 2015 for the Spaniard.
“I also encourage you to start filing lawsuits if there is any misinformation spread by anyone. It can’t be free anymore in our tennis world to speak and to accuse without evidence.”
In a statement sent to CNN, the ITF said it wouldn’t be making public Nadal’s results – but that there was nothing stopping Nadal or his camp from doing so.
“The ITF can confirm that Mr. Nadal has never failed a test under the (Tennis Anti-Doping Program) and has not been suspended at any time for an anti-doping rule violation (or for any other reason related to the TADP),” the ITF said.
“Mr. Nadal, as all other players who are subject to the TADP, has access to his anti-doping records” via a World Anti-Doping Agency database “and is free to make them available. The accuracy of any such release would be verified by the ITF.”
When asked by CNN whether Nadal would indeed be making the results public himself, the player’s media manager Benito Perez Barbadillo didn’t immediately respond.
Maria Sharapova’s admission that she tested positive for banned substance meldonium at the Australian Open in January rocked tennis, although WADA’s subsequent revelation that excretion times for the drug weren’t clearly known could help the world’s richest female athlete escape a lengthy ban.
Nadal, however, is adamant that tennis is generally “clean.”
“As a player, first an amateur and then a professional, I have been sure that our sport is clean,” said Nadal.
He added: “Some media, fans, sponsors don’t trust our system, they don’t trust the sport, they think governing bodies are (covering) things up and do nothing. We know this is not true, but they don’t, this is a fact. I believe the time has arrived and our sport and our governing bodies need to step up in communicating well to the world.”
Nadal’s major rival, world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, agreed with the Mallorcan.
“Of course there’s some speculation and some rumors,” Djokovic told CNN in mid-April at the Laureus awards, where he was named sportsman of the year. “The media is trying to create the stories and so forth. As long as there is no proof that somebody is doping, the sport is clean.
“We will keep it that way. I am actually proud of the integrity of our sport.”
Two-time grand slam champion Andy Murray, though, appears to be at odds with Nadal and Djokovic. The outspoken Scot told the Mail on Sunday:
“I have played against players and thought, ‘They won’t go away’ or ‘They don’t seem to be getting tired,’” Murray said.
“Have I ever been suspicious of someone? Yeah. You hear things.
“It’s harder to tell in our sport as people can make big improvements to a stroke or start serving better because they have made technical changes.
“If it’s purely physical and you’re watching someone playing six-hour matches over and over and showing no signs of being tired, you’d look at that.”
Get more tennis news at cnn.com/tennis
Have your say on CNN Sport’s Facebook page