Three examples of French smears and innuendo about Rafael Nadal.
The Spanish Tennis Federation are planning to sue Canal Plus over a Rafael Nadal skit. In a sketch from the show, called Les Guignois, or The Puppets, a man resembling Nadal is shown filling up the car’s petrol tank from his own bladder. He is later stopped by police for speeding, and the message, ‘Spanish athletes, they do not win by chance’, is shown on the screen. The Spanish Tennis Federation have said they were planning on suing Canal Plus for “publishing a video in which, as well as containing unacceptable and damaging insinuations, the federation’s emblem and anagram were used – on this occasion intolerable limits have been exceeded and we cannot ignore such discredit and slander towards our athletes”.
Nadal considered suing a French newspaper, Le Journal du Dimanche, after it published an article in 2006 which loosely linked him to a Spanish drugs investigation. “Nonsense,” Nadal said at the time. “I’ve never take anything in my life and never will. I’m well enough educated in the sporting world and out of the sporting world to not cheat. People who write lies about other people are bad people.”
Yannick Noah, the last Frenchman to win the singles title at Roland Garros, angered Nadal by accusing Spanish athletes of having “a magic potion”. “How can a country dominate sport from one day to the next? Have they discovered avante-garde training techniques and methods that no one else imagined? If you don’t have the magic potion, it’s difficult to win,” Noah wrote last November in a column in Le Monde. Nadal’s uncle and coach, Toni, said that Noah’s allegation “not only comes from envy, it comes from a lack of reflection – if he approaches Rafa to say hello, I hope my nephew tells him, in a courteous manner, what he thinks of him.” Rafael Nadal said: “That’s a stupid thing to say as you know how many anti-doping controls we have all season year-by-year. So, in my opinion, his article, what he wrote, was from a kid. And when one kid says something, that’s not painful for us. It’s worse for France than for Spain, in my opinion, because the image of the country when one guy, important guy like him, says that, that’s terrible.”