Simona Halep fears that her tennis career will be over if her four-year ban is not reduced. The 2019 Wimbledon champion was suspended from the sport by the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) for “intentional” doping offences.
Halep tested positive for the banned substance Roxadustat in August 2022 and was provisionally suspended from competitive tennis two months later. She was later charged with irregularities in her Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) and was handed a four-year ban in September of this year.
The 32-year-old, who has denied knowingly taking the substance, has appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to have the sanction reduced. A two-time Grand Slam champion, Halep believes that the ban being upheld will bring to an end her tennis career.
“More than a year has already passed, and every day I felt it very painfully, full of emotions. It was a shock to me when I received the letter that my urine test, only my urine test, was positive,” she told Euronews.
“I know I haven’t done anything wrong and I know I’m clean. I have always been against doping. Four years is a long time at my age. If it’s four years, I don’t know how I’ll manage. It will probably be the end of my career, yes.”
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Halep given four-year ban from tennis over doping offences
Referencing coach Patrick Mouratoglou’s feeling of “responsibility” for Halep consuming the banned substance, she added: “And for something I didn’t do and isn’t my fault, it’s even more catastrophic. Indeed, it (Mouratoglou’s comments) came out publicly. I wish I had done this a little sooner.
“It was hard for me, because I always trusted my teams, previous teams and everyone I work with. I always had confidence, and my confidence is now a little shaken.
Halep is likely to hear a CAS decision in early February. She will have the option to appeal to the Swiss Federal Tribunal within 30 days of the outcome.
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A statement by the CAS read: “The CAS has registered the appeal filed by the Romanian tennis player, Ms Simona Halep (the Athlete), against the decision rendered by the International Tennis Integrity Agency Tribunal dated 22 September 2023 (the Challenged Decision), in which she was found to have committed Anti-Doping Rule Violations and sanctioned with a four-year period of ineligibility commencing on 7 October 2022, and the disqualification of all results obtained in competitions taking place in the period 29 August 2022 to 7 October 2022, including forfeiture of any medals, titles, ranking points and prize money.
“In her appeal to the CAS, the Athlete requests that the Challenged Decision be set aside and that her sanction be reduced.”
It added: “The CAS Panel’s decision will be final and binding, with the exception of the parties’ right to file an appeal to the Swiss Federal Tribunal within 30 days on limited grounds.”
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