Rafael Nadal sues French ex-minister Roselyne Bachelot over doping claims

Rafael Nadal plays a backhand
Rafael Nadal has won 14 Grand Slam titles

World number five Rafael Nadal has filed a lawsuit against former French government minister Roselyne Bachelot, who accused him of doping.

"I intend to defend my integrity and my image as an athlete but also the values I have defended all my career," the Spaniard, 29, said in a statement.

Last month, former Minister for Health and Sport Bachelot said Nadal's seven-month absence in 2012 was "certainly due to a positive doping test".

He says he had tendinitis and a virus.

"I wish to avoid any public figure from making insulting or false allegations against an athlete using the media, without any evidence," added 14-time Grand Slam winner Nadal.

He had already announced his intention to sue Bachelot, saying: "I am tired about these things. I let it go a few times in the past. Not any more."

Bachelot, 69, served in Nicolas Sarkozy's government from 2007 to 2010. She has since left politics.

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