Rafael Nadal defended by World Anti-Doping chief amid French Open injections backlash
Nadal was something of an unexpected winner at Roland Garros this year despite having won the title 13 times before, as he limped off the court of the Italian Open two weeks before the tournament with his chronic foot injury bothering him once again. But the 36-year-old managed to extend his lead over Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer in the Grand Slam race by winning a 22nd overall Major title and 14th crown in Paris.
After his 6-3 6-3 6-0 final victory over Casper Ruud, the Spaniard admitted he had been forced to play with his foot “asleep” using anaesthesia injections in the nerve to remove the feeling of pain. But French cyclist Thibaut Pinot appeared to make a dig at the world No 4 for his use of injections, saying: “Today’s heroes…” before following up with: “The methods [used by Nadal] are simply prohibited in my sport, which is unfortunately so decried. Here is a little more precision on the sadness of my tweet.”
Following the backlash, the WADA director has now come out to defend Nadal. Olivier Niggli told Swiss channel RTS that the injections used by the 36-year-old “are not on the list of prohibited products (by AMA), since it is estimated that they do not improve sports performance and that they are not harmful.”
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