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By Richard Pagliaro | Sunday May 1, 2016

 
Rafael Nadal

"(It's) much better for the transparency of the sport in general to say Rafa Nadal is passing an anti-doping control today and the result going to be in two weeks," Nadal told the media in Madrid.

Photo credit: Biswajit Basak/Mutua Madrid Open

Rafael Nadal believes tennis is a clean sport and is calling for more transparency in the drug-testing policy to prove it.

Meeting with the media in Madrid today before launching quest for his fifth Mutua Madrid Open title, Nadal said he believes tennis is free of wide-spread doping use.

"I believe in my sport. That's the most important thing," Nadal told the media in Madrid. "I believe that my rivals are clean. I believe the sport is clean and I believe in our anti-doping program, no, and it's an independent one."

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Nadal formally requested the International Tennis Federation make public his entire history of drug-test results and blood profile records last week. In a letter to ITF president Dave Haggerty, Nadal asked the ITF to “please make public my biological passport, my complete history of anti-doping controls and tests.”

Today, the 14-time Grand Slam champion reiterated the request.

Nadal urged anti-doping officials to announce when a player is being tested and the results of the drug test believing greater transparency will prove the game is clean.

"The sport should be clean and must look clean, no?" Nadal said. "Should be, in my opinion—always in my opinion—much better for the transparency of the sport in general to say, you know, Rafa Nadal is passing an anti-doping control today and the result going to be in two weeks. In the result, you publish the results. The anti-doping control is negative. That's it.

"This will be much easier for everybody. Should be much easier for the world of sport, and for sure will be easier for you guys, that you don't have to think. Just have to read. For the people, at the same time, too, they don't have to create opinion. They have the proof."


 

Practice makes perfect 🎾😏 #MMOPEN

A photo posted by Mutua Madrid Open (@mutuamadridopen) on



World No. 1 Novak Djokovic supports Nadal's decision to publicly disclose his drug-test results as "the right thing to protect himself and integrity of his own brand."

"I think we all agree that we all want the sport clean and of course as transparent as possible," Djokovic told the media in Madrid. "I think we all agree that we want to be playing the sport on an equal level in competition terms. The crowd, when they come to watch us perform on the biggest tournaments, they want to know it's played under fair conditions.

"So of course it's a very tricky position and situation for Rafa in this particular situation. I think he has done right thing to protect himself and integrity of his own brand and achievements he had in all these years of work and results that he put in. And the sport itself, because Rafa is definitely one of the best players in the history of the game, one of the most important players we have. That's all I can say."

Last week, Nadal filed a defamation suit against Roselyne Bachelot, the French minister of health and sports between 2007 and 2010, who told a French television program Nadal "without any doubt tested positive" for a banned substance and had served a silent ban in 2012 and 2013.

Today, Nadal said his suit is not about the money it's about freedom from false accusations and "stupid things." Nadal has vowed to donate any money he wins in the lawsuit to a foundation in France.

"I feel happy that I don't need money," Nadal said. "So it's something that is about image, is something about the people is not free to say any stupid thing any time, what they think in any moment without no knowledge about the things.

"If at the end of the day, as I said in my communication, I take some money from that, (it's) going to (go) to one French foundation. That's it. It's not about this kind of stuff."

Asked if the ITF has directly responded to his request to release his test results, Nadal replied: "Yes, but I am in the process (of discussions with the ITF), so I cannot talk much about that now."


 

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