Simona Halep cannot play victim card as her doping mystery deepens

ITIA, the whistle blower, says Simona's bio passport also has glitches which casts a shadow on her being clean in tennis

Simona Halep cannot play victim card as her doping mystery deepens

Romania's Simona Halep at a press conference (Image Credits: AFP)

Simona Halep is playing the victim card beautifully, just like her tennis strokes. The latest is her missile attack on social media on Saturday after the ITIA (The International Tennis Integrity Association) drilled holes into her “being clean” theory. For weeks in a row, Simona Halep, winner of two Grand Slam titles — French Open and Wimbledon — has been cribbing about her name getting cleared.

She had tested positive for Roxudastat, a substance that increases the endogenous production of Erythropoietin (EPO) and stimulates the production of hemoglobin and red blood cells. It is well known, more red blood cells means better oxygen supply and breathing becomes easier. Simona has been harping after she was placed under suspension in 2022 that her samples are clean. She wanted fans to believe she did no wrong.

Tennis has maintained a very strict protocol for anti-doping. Involving the ITIA means there is no agenda, really, for the tennis bodies to “victimize” her. For weeks, Simona complained she was not getting a clean chit and the delay was mentally draining her. Perhaps, she had not bargained for the news that the ITIA was going to dig much deeper and throw more mud on her.

As if striking an ace, the ITIA has come out with damning stuff on Simona that there are glitches in her bio passport. It is well known elite athletes’ health records are stored with great diligence. As part of the WADA (World Anti Doping Agency) code, elite athletes have to give urine samples often, where the athletes have to also ensure they provide their exact location well in advance. That is known as the “Whereabout Clause.” Former stars like Serena Williams have often cribbed in the past they would be woken up at 3 am and have to give a pee sample!

Back to Simona, since the ITIA has thrown fresh things into the public domain, it is clear they have dope on Simona Halep. For her part, the “victimized” tennis player can cry on social media. She has supporters as well in it. However, the anti-doping bodies care a dam about these cry babies. They have a serious job to do and tennis is trying hard to maintain a clean image.

Related: Ash Barty stands FIRM beside Simona Halep hoping she’ll be back on tour soon amid indefinite drug ban levied on her

High time that Simona Halep stops with the drama

Simona Halep
(Image Credits: AP)

Usually, one would imagine, athletes at large and tennis players abuse steroids or inhalers. No, Simona chose a new kind of drug, which was caught. What are the new things in her bio passport which have come under the scanner are not clear. But then, her return to tennis is not going to happen as soon as she wants.

Tennis has seen strict monitoring on drugs for a long time. In 2006, Maria Sharapova was a dope cheat when she tested positive for Meldoinum. It is used to treat “ischemia”, which is a lack of blood flow to parts of the body. In medical jargon, usually, heart patients with a history of angina pain are given Meldonium. How and why Maria fell for the trap is well known as it was helping her on the court in better blood supply and improved breathing.

Just to jog the readers’ memory, many years ago, Andre Agassi said he did drugs. Damn, that was so sickening. Agassi was loved for his tennis as well as the punk stuff he did on court, where he wore jarring colors like fluorescent pink in clothes and shoes. Since Agassi had hit retirement mode, he was kind of forgiven.

Players taking TUE drugs — therapeutic use exemption — is one thing and urine samples throwing out adverse lab findings quite another. To be sure, the whole TUE thing is a bit too shady. God knows how many athletes are hiding behind prescriptions that help them play better!

Simona should stop this drama now. The due process will take a long time and she cannot play the victim card. The ITIA has enough dope on her for sure. Stop the sympathy for her.

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