Tennis: Puerto blood doping trial should name names, says Nadal

PARIS (AFP) - Rafael Nadal believes that the names of those implicated in the ongoing "Operation Puerto" trial into blood doping must be provided if the image of sportsmen and women in general is to be cleared up.

In an interview with the French sports daily L'Equipe published on Thursday, the Spanish tennis star said he felt his reputation, and that of Spanish sport as a whole, had been tarnished by the trial.

A judge has refused to demand that doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, the suspected mastermind of one of the sporting world's biggest blood doping rackets, provide the names of athletes implicated in the scandal.

The ruling could avert a huge fall-out from the high-profile trial in Madrid but Nadal said that naming names would have been the correct thing to do.

"What is happening in Spain, I don't understand it," he was quoted as saying. "I don't understand why doctor Fuentes is not giving names. And I don't understand why the judge has not asked him to do so.

"I don't understand why we never get to the bottom of these things. We need to clean everything up. I believe this doctor has worked with foreign athletes but because he is Spanish it is Spanish sport that is being prejudiced.

"As an athlete that hurts me. Because of people like (US cyclist Lance) Armstrong, we all have a dubious image."

Nadal, who made his comeback to competitive tennis this week at the Vina del Mar clay-court tournament in Chile, also admitted his relief at being back on the court after a lengthy injury absence.

But he said he did not expect to be back to his best until later in the season.