21 Nov 2011

Fury in Spain as Noah accuses nation of cheating

5:46 am on 21 November 2011

French tennis great Yannick Noah has drawn an angry reaction in Spain after accusing the nation's athletes of widespread doping.

In an interview with Le Monde newspaper, the 1983 French Open champion said French athletes no longer had a chance against their Spanish opponents and the only way to level the playing field would be to allow everyone to use banned drugs.

Noah says France is wrong to impose such stringent testing on its athletes.

"How can a country (Spain) dominate sport from one day to the next?" Noah asked.

"Had they discovered avant-garde training techniques and methods that no-one else imagined?"

He made the controversial claim that as Spanish athletes are consistently beefier than French ones, the only conclusion was that they must be doping - but offered no other proof.

Toni Nadal, the uncle and trainer of Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal said Noah's accusation "not only comes from envy, it comes from a lack of reflection."

"If he approaches Rafa to say hello, I hope my nephew tells him, in a courteous manner, what he thinks of him, because I believe it is totally incorrect for him to speak of this subject in this way," Nadal told a Spanish radio station.