Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal last night reacted angrily to being linked to the doping scandal which has rocked the Tour de France.
Pre-race favourites Jan Ullrich and Ivan Basso were among 13 riders who were withdrawn by their teams after they were implicated in a Spanish police investigation into a blood-doping operation in Madrid.
The investigation centres on links between riders and a Spanish doctor, Eufemiano Fuentes, after anabolic steroids, frozen blood and blood transfusion equipment were discovered in raids by Spanish police.
International Cycling Union (UCI) president Pat McQuaid said: "Only riders have been named so far but many footballers, tennis players and athletes are on the list."
Nadal, speaking after reaching the quarter-finals at Wimbledon, said: "I have never taken anything in my life and I never will. I am well enough educated, in the sporting world and outside, not to cheat.
"People who write lies about other people are bad people. There is nothing more to say about this. He [the journalist involved] is a coward. He should sign what he writes. My manager is speaking to my lawyers."
Nadal defeated Georgia's Irakli Labadze in three sets to set up a meeting with Finland's Jarkko Nieminen in the last eight tomorrow.
Nadal defeated Labadze 6-3, 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 and Nieminen beat Russian Dmitry Tursunov 7-5, 6-4, 6-7, 6-7, 9-7. ..SUPL: