Paris (AFP): Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal won a defamation case against former French health and sports minister Roselyne Bachelot on Thursday after she accused him of doping on television.
Bachelot was handed a 500-euro fine by a court in Paris and ordered to pay €12 000 in damages and legal fees to the serial Grand Slam winner over the allegation she made to the D8 channel in March 2016.
The ex-minister from 2007-2010 alleged that Nadal had faked an injury in 2012, when he missed the final six months of the season due to knee problems, in order to hide a positive drug test.
The holder of 16 Grand Slam titles has never failed a drugs test and denies ever using banned substances.
He had sought €100 000 in damages and explained last year that he had decided to take legal action to set an example, having previously ignored allegations against him.
His lawyer, Patrick Maisonneuve, told the court in October that the doping accusation could have had "major consequences" for Nadal concerning his "existing or future sponsors".
"We have been made aware of the decision by which Mrs Bachelot has been found guilty of defamation.
When I filed the lawsuit against Mrs Bachelot, I intended not only to defend my integrity and my image as an athlete, but also the values I have defended all my career.
I also wish to stop any public figure from making insulting or false allegations against an athlete using the media, without any evidence or foundation, and to go unpunished.
The motivation, as I have always said, was not financial. As the tribunal considered there has been wrong-doing and the sentence recognises the right to damages.
The compensation will be paid back in full to an non-governmental organisation or foundation in France."