x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Rafael Nadal's verbal volley aimed at French puppets

Les Guignols, a French television show has apparently crossed the line by suggesting that the Spanish world No 2 was guilty of doping. He, however, passed a recent test.

Rafael Nadal cleared a drugs test and was happy to make the news public on Twitter.
Rafael Nadal cleared a drugs test and was happy to make the news public on Twitter.

Spain and France are fussing again. The European neighbours, arch-rivals for centuries during the reigns of the Hapsburgs and Bourbons, this time are fighting over puppets.

The French television show Les Guignols (The Puppets) recently featured a likeness of Rafael Nadal replenishing the tank of his car with his own urine; the vehicle's motor has a power surge, and the police pull over the speeding world No 2.

Also, in a satirical advert, viewers were called upon to donate blood to Alberto Contador, the disgraced Spanish cyclist, and thus share in his victories.

Nadal was not amused at the clear suggestion of doping, saying Les Guignols had "crossed the line". He added: "It is a campaign against Spain in general and against Spanish sports."

He suggested the French are jealous of Spain's sporting successes. "With a lot less resources than them, we have achieved much more in the last years."

Even before Nadal spoke out, the foreign minister had asked Spain's ambassador to France to lodge a complaint, and Spain's tennis federation said it would sue Canal Plus, the TV home of Les Guignols. The sports newspaper Marca published a drawing of Spanish sports heroes, including the World Cup champions, with the headline: "They Are Not Puppets".

On Saturday, Nadal had a surprise drug test, which he was happy to announce, via Twitter, that he had passed. Still waiting on the puppets' response.

poberjuerge@thenational.ae