Nadal denies report linking him to doping scandal

Updated: July 3, 2006, 6:35 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

WIMBLEDON, England -- Rafael Nadal is considering suing a French newspaper which loosely linked him to a Spanish doping probe.

Rafael Nadal
Nadal

Asked Monday at Wimbledon about the report in the weekly Le Journal du Dimanche, the two-time French Open champion called it "nonsense" and strongly denied ever using performance-enhancing substances, saying: "I've never taken anything in my life, and I never will."

A Spanish doping investigation that led to the exclusion of several top cyclists from the Tour de France also reportedly involves athletes from other sports. Citing unidentified sources, Le Journal du Dimanche reported Sunday that Nadal, the world's second-ranked player, could be one of those other athletes.

"I don't want to speak about untrue statements," Nadal, 20, said through a translator. He added that his manager is speaking to lawyers about pursuing legal action.

Earlier, in an interview with Agence France-Presse, Nadal said, "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."

The scandal had been brewing for weeks in Spain when it broke on Friday in Strasbourg, France, site of the start of the Tour de France. It is the biggest doping crisis to hit cycling since the Festina scandal in 1998 nearly derailed the Tour.

Late Thursday night, Spanish authorities sent Tour de France organizers more than 40 pages summarizing police investigations into a ring that allegedly supplied riders and other athletes with banned drugs, doping expertise and performance-enhancing blood transfusions.

The police report implicated nine riders who were signed up for this Tour, cycling's governing body said. Their teams were informed and, with the exception of one squad, all reacted quickly, telling their racers they were out.

Nadal beat Irakli Labadze 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-3 on Monday to reach the Wimbledon quarterfinals for the first time. He has won a record 60 consecutive matches on clay and will play No. 22-seeded Jarkko Nieminen on Wednesday.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.