Simona Halep Indian Wells WTA 2022

Simona Halep ‘can’t wait to get back on the circuit’ after doping ban reduced

Simona Halep is now able to return to the WTA Tour, after the Romanian’s doping ban was reduced from four years to nine months.

Halep was originally banned for four years, after being provisionally suspended in October 2022 for two beaches of anti-doping rules by the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA).

These charges came after roxadustat, which is a prohibited substance, appeared in a urine sample collected at the 2022 US Open and the second charge followed with Halep’s Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) showing irregularities.

The former world No.1 has consistently declared her innocence and was adamant that the sample was contaminated, as she subsequently appealed the decision.

And Halep has been successful in that appeal, with the sentence being reduced to nine months, which would have made the 32-year-old eligible to compete from July 2023.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) released this statement following the verdict, “Having carefully considered all the evidence put before it, the CAS Panel determined that Ms. Halep had established, on the balance of probabilities, that the Roxadustat entered her body through the consumption of a contaminated supplement which she had used in the days shortly before 29 August 2022 and that the Roxadustat, as detected in her sample, came from that contaminated product.”

It continued, “As a result, the CAS Panel determined that Ms. Halep had also established, on the balance of probabilities, that her anti-doping rule violations were not intentional.

“Although the CAS Panel found that Ms. Halep did bear some level of fault or negligence for her violations, as she did not exercise sufficient care when using the Keto MCT supplement, it concluded that she bore no significant fault or negligence.”

Simona Halep then followed up with a defiant statement of her own, thanking those for supporting her throughout the lengthy process, “Throughout this long and difficult process, I have maintained my belief that the truth will eventually come out and that a fair decision will be reached because I am and always have been a clean athlete.

“My faith in this process has been tested by the outrageous allegations that have been brought against me and the seemingly unlimited resources that have been aligned against me. But in the end, the truth prevailed, even if it took a lot longer than I would have liked.”

She added, “I would like to thank my lawyers who stood by me and believed in me from the beginning; and most importantly, I want to thank my sponsors, fans and competitors who have stuck by me through this long and difficult process. I can’t wait to get back on the circuit.”

It is currently unclear as to when Halep will return to the WTA Tour, with the two-time major winner currently ranked after being inactive for over a year.

Inside the baseline…

It has been an incredibly lengthy and complicated situation involving Simona Halep over this past year or so. It must be incredibly relieving for Halep to know that she can now play on the WTA Tour again, but at the same time very frustrating, with the verdict meaning that she missed nearly nine months of action due to the ongoing process taking place. It will be interesting to see the sort of reception Halep receives when she returns to the tour, which is still a complete unknown at this point.

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.