Simona Halep wins doping appeal, can return to tennis

League: Tennis

Posted on: 05 Mar, 2024 at 05:08 PM

Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports

Two-time Grand Slam champion Simona Halep can return to pro tennis immediately after the Court of Arbitration for Sport reduced her ban for doping from four years to nine months on Tuesday.

She was provisionally suspended Oct. 7, 2022, meaning she already has served a penalty of more than nine months. The suspension came after she tested positive for the banned substance roxadustat, and she was charged with an additional violation when her biological passport was shown to have "established use of a prohibited substance and/or prohibited method," according to the International Tennis Integrity Agency.

Halep, from Romania, has fought the penalty and denied doping. The original ban would have expired after the Grand Slam season in 2026.

She has not played since the U.S. Open in 2022 when she lost in the first round as the No. 7 seed to Ukrainian qualifier Daria Snigur. She appealed her ban to the CAS and took part in a hearing in Lausanne, Switzerland, last month.

Now 32, Halep has said her use of roxadustat, a drug used to treat anemia associated with chronic kidney disease that also can increase endurance, was unintentional. The CAS agreed, saying it was probable that the drug likely "entered her body through the consumption of a contaminated supplement" in the days she used it before the start of U.S. Open, where her sample was collected, and that her "anti-doping rule violations were not intentional."

The panel's statement continued: "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."

On the charge concerning the biological profile, the panel said it wasn't convinced that an anti-doping rule violation was committed.

Halep had not yet commented on the ruling Tuesday. In a previous interview, she said it was her dream to compete for Romania in the Paris Olympics this summer.

It was in Paris that she won her first Grand Slam tournament, the French Open in 2018. She won at Wimbledon in 2019.

Halep has 24 career victories on the WTA Tour and has won $40.2 million in prize money. She reached No. 1 in October 2017.

--Field Level Media