Rafael Nadal wants his drug-test results made public

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LONDON (AP) Fed up with being accused of doping, Rafael Nadal has written to the president of the International Tennis Federation and asked for all of his drug-test results and blood profile records to be made public.

“It can’t be free anymore in our tennis world to speak and to accuse without evidence,” the 14-time Grand Slam champion said in a letter obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press.

Nadal’s letter was sent to ITF President David Haggerty on Monday, the same day he filed suit against a former French government minister who suggested he had been doping.

“I know how many times I am tested, on and off competition,” Nadal wrote in the letter. “Please make all my information public. Please make public my biological passport, my complete history of 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. I also encourage you to start filing lawsuits if there is any misinformation spread by anyone.”

The ITF confirmed it received the letter from Nadal, including the request for his test results to be released under the Tennis Anti-Doping Program.

“The ITF can confirm that Mr. Nadal has never failed a test under the TADP 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 in a statement sent to the AP.

The ITF said Nadal, like other players, has access to his anti-doping records through the World Anti-Doping Agency’s database “and is free to make them available.”

“The accuracy of any such release would be verified by the ITF,” the federation said.

The Spanish star said he was writing the letter because of remarks by Roselyne Bachelot, France’s former minister for health and sport. She said on a French television show last month that Nadal’s seven-month injury layoff in 2012 was “probably due to a positive doping test.”

Nadal, who won his 49th clay-court tournament on Sunday in Barcelona and will go for his 10th French Open title next month, filed a defamation suit against Bachelot in Paris.

“It is unacceptable and mostly unfair that someone that should have knowledge of sports to a certain point and degree can publicly say something like this with no proof or evidence,” Nadal said in the letter to Haggerty.

Nadal said some media, fans, and sponsors don’t trust tennis’ anti-doping program.

“They don’t trust the sport. They think governing bodies cover things up and do nothing,” he said. “We know this is not true. … I believe the time has arrived, and our sport and our governing bodies need to step up in communicating well to the world.”

Nadal said he has never shied away from sharing his thoughts on anti-doping.

“I believe we have to continue with the fight against doping and make the fight stronger and better if possible,” he wrote. “As a player, first an amateur and then a professional, I have been sure that our sport is clean. It is necessary that our sport becomes a flagship in a world where transparency and honesty are two pillars of our conduct and way of living.”

Nadal’s letter comes at a time when tennis is dealing with Maria Sharapova’s high-profile doping case. The Russian has been provisionally suspended after testing positive for the newly banned substance meldonium at the Australian Open in January. She is awaiting an ITF disciplinary hearing.

Maria Sharapova wins her 1st title since doping ban

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TIANJIN, China (AP) Maria Sharapova won her first WTA title since returning from a doping ban after defeating Aryna Sabalenka to win the Tianjin Open on Sunday.

The Russian, a tournament wild card, overcame Belarusian teenager Sabalenka 7-5, 7-6 (8) despite trailing heavily in both sets.

Sharapova last won a title at the Italian Open in May 2015.

The former top-ranked player and owner of five major titles, including the 2006 U.S. Open, tested positive for the newly banned drug meldonium at the Australian Open in January 2016. That led to a 15-month doping ban, which expired in April.

“Such a special, special tournament, and victory for me, one that I’ll remember forever,” Sharapova said. “Sometimes you never know when it will all come together but it happened to me this week in Tianjin.”

Sharapova displayed resilience as she came from behind in both sets to overcome her 19-year-old opponent.

Sabalenka led 4-1 in the opener and 5-1 in the second before relenting to Sharapova’s greater big-match experience. It was Sharapova’s 36th WTA singles title.

The 30-year-old Sharapova played in her first Grand Slam tournament following the ban at the U.S. Open in August, where she reached the fourth round. Sunday’s result will lift Sharapova up to No. 57 in the world rankings.

Federer beats Nadal to win Shanghai Masters title

Associated Press
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SHANGHAI (AP) Roger Federer extended his winning streak over Rafael Nadal this year to four matches after beating the top-ranked Spaniard 6-4, 6-3 to win the Shanghai Masters on Sunday.

The Swiss 19-time grand slam winner, who still trails Nadal 23-15 in their overall head-to-head record, didn’t face a break point and started and ended the match with service breaks.

“I don’t know what my expectations were going in,” Federer said. “I thought I might struggle early on because it was a late finish last night.

“I had no nerves before the match, surprisingly. I think I was pretty clear about how I wanted to play the match. I started off very well and relaxed from then on.”

Despite his dominance in 2017, Federer doesn’t rate his chances of catching Nadal in their head-to-head record.

“It’s not going to happen. We don’t have enough years left on the tour. We ranked too good so we play each other only in finals at the moment… You can’t win them all against Rafa, to be honest. He’s too good of a player,” Federer said.

Federer took advantage of three of seven break point opportunities in the match to snap Nadal’s 16-game winning streak, which included his China Open victory last week.

Federer, who has won the last five encounters between the pair dating back to the 2015 Basel final, also beat Nadal in the Australian Open final, a round of 16 match at Indian Wells and the Miami final this year.

“Have been a very difficult match for me,” Nadal said. “He played very fast and he played well.

“Of course was not the best match for me of the week. When somebody plays better than you, sport is not very difficult. That’s the real thing, no? When you play against somebody that is better than you in most of the things that really matters in this sport, in this kind of surface, then it’s tougher.”

The Shanghai Masters is Federer’s 94th career title, moving him into a tie with Ivan Lendl in second place on the Open era list.

Nadal arrived on court with a bandage under his right knee, the same leg he twice smacked with his racket after losing his serve for the first time this week in the semifinal.

Federer said he was surprised to see the wrap and didn’t feel Nadal was struggling with his movement.

In his post-match press conference, Nadal elected not to discuss the knee injury, saying, “I don’t want to talk about that now, sorry, but after losing final is not the moment.”

When asked if he would play upcoming tournaments in Basel, Switzerland and Paris, Nadal refused to confirm his participation.

Federer took advantage of a third break point in the first game of the match with a winning backhand passing shot. He broke Nadal’s serve again on a second break point in the fifth game of the second set when Nadal sailed a backhand crosscourt wide. In the final game, Nadal netted a forehand at 15-40 to end the 72-minute match.