14-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal is the latest tennis player whose World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) medical records have been revealed by the Russian hacker group Fancy Bears. They published them online on Monday in the fourth round of leaks which consists of names of as many as 26 athletes from 10 countries covering 12 sports.
The records show that the former World No. 1 was granted a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) on two separate occasions. One was in 2009 after the US Open when he was allowed to take betamethasone, a corticosteroid used for reducing inflammation. The other one was three years later in 2012 when Nadal was permitted the usage of corticotrophins during the time he was on a hiatus from the ATP Tour due to a knee injury.
Since corticotrophins are prohibited for use even when players are not in competition, the approval was required.
Along with the tennis ace, four-time Olympic gold medallist distance runner Mo Farah too features in the latest batch of athletes. In the earlier three leaks made public by the hackers group on September 13, 15 and 17, Serena and Venus Williams, Petra Kvitova and Bethanie Mattek-Sands were the other tennis players who had their medical records exposed.
The WADA have once again released an official statement confirming the veracity of the disclosed records.
“The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) confirms that, again today, the cyber hacker Group ‘Fancy Bears’ released a batch of confidential athlete data on their website, which they illegally obtained from a Rio 2016 Olympic Games account of WADA’s Anti-Doping Administration and Management System (ADAMS).”
Rafa denies any wrongdoing
Nadal was quick to respond to the revelations in a press conference with Spanish reporters. He vehemently denied having taken anything to enhance his performance and pointed out that all the TUEs were needed on doctor’s advice to treat his knee.
Iterating once more the need to publish the medical records of all players, the World No. 4 pointed out that then the entire process would be transparent and would also bring an end to all such allegations.
“It is a private matter which does not need to be private. No need for a hacker to deliver it. It would be good for everyone. If every time you successfully do a doping test, [and] it’s announced and the results are published, it would finish all these discussions and all be transparent.
“There are many things which, day to day, are banned substances, but when you ask permission and you get it, it stops being illegal…I have never taken anything to improve my sporting performance. Simply, the doctors told me to take something to improve my knee,” explained the Spaniard.
Nadal also expressed confidence in the tennis anti-doping system and believes all his rivals are clean.
“We have the best control anti-doping in the world of tennis. I trust 100% in my rivals are clean,” added the 30-year-old.