Wilander: ‘Nadal is no drugs cheat’

 Mats Wilander has leapt to the defence of Rafael Nadal after the Spaniard was found to have ob-tained Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs) to take banned substances.

The 14-time Grand Slam winner is now one of 66 athletes to have had confidential medical records leaked by Russian hacking group Fancy Bear after they stole World Anti- Doping Agency (WADA) files and published
their findings online.

Nadal’s case has caught the most attention be-cause in March he said he would sue former French sports minister Roselyne Bachelot after she alleged his 2012 injury lay-off was as a result of a positive drugs test.

This latest leak reveals that Nadal received injec-tions of anti-inflammatory drug Tetracosactide in 2009 and 2012, which stimulates the production of corticosteroids.

It follows Maria Sharapova’s two-year ban after testing positive for Meldonium at this year’s Aus-tralian Open in January. But she claimed to be caught out because the drug was only added to the list at the start of the year.

“There’s always going to be someone who will try to take advantage of certain situations but his name is not Rafael Nadal that’s for sure,” seven-time Grand Slam winning Swede Wilander said.

“If you get permission from the organisation that conducts drugs tests and will call upon you if you fail, and they recommend the dose and supervise its use then it’s completely different.

“That’s between the international federation and the doping agency. The player then takes the drug for rehabilitation purposes and so long as it’s out of their system before they get back on court and nothing is gained performance-wise then it’s fine.

“You can trust players 100 per cent, you can trust the culture of tennis in general and the individuals. The problem arises if you can’t trust the organisa-tion but that’s a completely different level of prob-lem.

“I’m not sure there’s been a case in tennis where someone knows they are cheating and are trying to get away with it. Often it just happens by mistake with players being naive.

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