Halep’s doping ban reduced, eligible for immediate return to tennis


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Simona Halep, a former champion at Wimbledon and the French Open, has had her four-year doping ban reduced to nine months by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), the highest court in global sport. This decision allows the former world number one to return to competition immediately.

Halep was initially handed a four-year ban for two separate anti-doping rule violations. However, the CAS, based in Lausanne, decided to reduce her suspension to nine months, a duration she has already completed.

The CAS Panel unanimously agreed to reduce the four-year ineligibility period to nine months, starting from October 7, 2022, and ending on July 6, 2023.

With the 32-year-old Romanian now eligible to compete, she could potentially receive a wild card for this year’s French Open or Wimbledon.

Halep, in a statement, expressed her relief and anticipation to return to the tour. She maintained her innocence throughout the process, asserting that she has always been a clean athlete.

Halep’s suspension began in October 2022 after she tested positive for roxadustat, a prohibited drug that boosts red blood cell production, at the U.S. Open. She faced another doping charge last year due to inconsistencies in her Athlete Biological Passport (ABP), a tool used to track various blood parameters over time to detect potential doping.

Halep vehemently denied the charges and stated that she would likely be forced to retire if the original four-year ban was upheld. She attributed her positive test at the U.S. Open to tainted supplements and accused the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) of charging her with an ABP violation after the expert group who reviewed her profile discovered her identity.

In response to the verdict, ITIA CEO Karen Moorhouse acknowledged the importance of a player’s right to appeal and expressed respect for the decision.

An independent tribunal accepted Halep’s claim of consuming contaminated supplements but noted that the amount she consumed could not have led to the concentration of roxadustat found in her positive sample. The CAS Panel, while advising Halep to exercise more caution when using supplements, concluded that she was not significantly at fault for the violation.

The ABP charge was dismissed considering that the sample provided in late 2022 was close to a surgery, and Halep had announced she would not compete for the rest of the year.


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