| By Steven Kaplan

Rafael Nadal is mad as hell at Roselyne Bachelot, the former French Health Minister over allegations that he is a "doper," and he's not going to take it anymore. Nadal recently filed a lawsuit and penned an open letter addressed to ITF President David Haggerty asking the organization to "Please make all my information public. Please make my biological passport, my complete history and Anti-Doping controls and test."

It seems that Rafa is well aware of just how the testing works, yet he is less aware that he has access to his anti-doping records and is free to release them to the public at any time on his own. Of course, the accuracy of this release would then be verified by the ITF, but I wonder, is Rafa selectively uninformed or is he grandstanding by making public a request for information for which he already has access to?

Nadal believes that tennis is "clean" despite the fact that "Some media, fans and sponsors don't trust our system. They don't trust our sport. They think governing bodies are covering things up." Indeed, if this is true, then the release of Nadal's records have as much veracity as the trust given to the agency which has released them, and as Nadal admits, many people mistrust the ITF.

Novak Djokovic, in an interview with CNN, agrees with Rafa, and said, "Of course there's some speculation and some rumors, but as long as there is no proof that somebody is doping, the sport is clean."

In a criminal investigation, you are indeed innocent until proven guilty, but in the court of public opinion and common sense, the threshold for suspicion about guilt is different. Andy Murray, the world's second ranked player has said on numerous occasions that he is "Highly suspicious of doping in tennis" and he believes in "greater transparency" in the sport.

Let's not forget that Lance Armstrong ran what might be the largest, most sophisticated doping operation in the history of sports, and he never tested positive for doping during his career. His defense to the many allegations (vehemently put forth by the French Ministry of Health and Sport, BTW) is that he never tested positive, therefore, with no proof he is clean. We know how that turned out!

Steven Kaplan

Steve Kaplan is the owner and managing director of Bethpage Park Tennis Center, as well as director emeritus of Lacoste Academy for New York City Parks Foundation, and executive director and founder of Serve &Return Inc. Steve has coached more than 1,100 nationally- ranked junior players, 16 New York State high school champions, two NCAA Division 1 Singles Champions, and numerous highly-ranked touring professionals. Many of the students Steve has closely mentored have gone to achieve great success as prominent members of the New York financial community, and in other prestigious professions. In 2017, Steve was awarded the Hy Zausner Lifetime Achievement Award by the USTA. He may be reached by e-mail at StevenJKaplan@aol.com.