Spanish tennis superstar Rafael Nadal said on Monday he had filed a lawsuit in Paris against former French sports minister Roselyne Bachelot after she alleged he had hidden a positive drugs test.
"Through this case, I intend not only to defend my integrity and my image as an athlete but also the values I have defended all my career," he said in a statement announcing "a defamation lawsuit".
"I also wish to prevent any public figure from making insulting or false allegations against an athlete using the media, without any evidence or foundation and to go unpunished."
Bachelot, who served as sports minister between 2007 and 2010, made the comments in March on French television when asked about five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova's admission that she failed a drug test at the Australian Open.
She alleged that Nadal 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.
In response, Nadal had told AFP last month that he was going to seek "justice" and use the courts to put a stop to speculation he ever used performance-enhancing drugs.
"I am tired about these things. I let it go a few times in the past. No more," the 14-time Grand Slam champion said at the Indian Wells Masters, adding that he expected better of a person who was "minister of a big country and a great country like France".