Simona Halep - Melbourne Summer Set 2022

Simona Halep set for drugs ban hearing as ex-coach continues defence of the former No.1

Simona Halep is set for a hearing at the end of the month, something that has been confirmed by former coach Darren Cahill, after being ‘provisionally suspended’ in October for a positive drugs test.

Halep was suspended by the ITF after the returning a positive test at the US Open for Roxadustat, a drug which helps increase the production of red blood cells.

The former No.1 released a defiant statement on the day her suspension was confirmed, pleading her innocence, and described the positive test as the ‘biggest shock’ of her life.

“The idea of cheating never even crossed my mind once, as it is totally against all the values I have been educated with. Facing such an unfair situation, I feel completely confused and betrayed. I will fight until the end to prove that I never knowingly took any prohibited substance and I have faith that sooner or later, the truth will come out,” said the two-time Grand Slam champion.

Halep’s former coach Darren Cahill, who mentored the Romanian to her first Grand Slam title at Roland Garros in 2018, has shown continuous support to his former player.

Cahill also released a statement at the time, on Instagram, defending Halep, “Firstly, and most importantly, there is NO chance Simona knowingly or purposely took any substance on the banned list. None. Zero.”

“She is an athlete that stressed about anything prescribed to her by a medical professional (which was rarely), or about any supplement that she used or considered. Simona wore out the words ‘please double check this, triple check this to make sure it’s legal, safe and permitted. If you are not sure, I’m not taking it’.”


Darren Cahill - Instagram post 2022

In a recent appearance on The Big Deal podcast Cahill doubled down on his previous statement, “I think a lot about Simona and I feel bad every time I think about the experiences she goes through,”

Cahill continued, “I made a statement about Simona Halep’s case and I’m willing to die next to those words because of her integrity and her DNA. There’s no way she’s cheating. She is a great woman and a great person. There’s no way she could have done the wrong thing. I wish her good luck.”

In December, it was reported that Halep had discovered that the source of the Roxadustat came in a supplement that was incorrectly labelled, something that Cahill commented on, “I understood they found the source of the contamination, not sure if it was in food or supplements, but they found out where it came from.”

Halep will be able to present this information in a hearing that Cahill confirmed was taking place later this month, “I don’t have much news, but I understand there will be a hearing in February that will give her a chance to present her case.”

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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.