Simona Halep receives support from WTA Chief Steve Simon as he breaks his silence on the Romanian’s doping scandal


Simona Halep receives support from WTA Chief Steve Simon as he breaks his silence on the Romanian’s doping scandal

Simona Halep and Steve Simon

Former world no. 1 Simona Halep suffered a big setback when she was suspended from all tennis activities for a failed doping test. The 2-time Grand Slam champion was found to have taken roxadustat in samples that were taken at the 2022 US Open. Owing to the test results, International Tennis Integrity Agency suspended her and launched an investigation into the matter.

With the majority of Halep’s colleagues coming to her defense, WTA chief Steve Simon had not made any comment on the entire episode. Halep was already out for the season after her short US Open campaign but now the remainder of the year will be spent in proving her innocence.

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Simon took a diplomatic stance on the entire scandal and to be fair, there was no other way he could have spoken on the matter. While Halep has been one of the most loved players, Simon also spoke in the capacity of the Tour’s head and had to emphasis on a clean program as well.

“I believe her that she didn’t intentionally do something here. That being said, I do believe very strongly in our anti-doping program, and I think it’s a good one, and our players support it, too. And if you ask Simona, she supports it.

“I’m very confident that as we go through the process, the truth is going to come out, and we will deal with it accordingly. But I have a lot of sympathy for Simona, because I would never question her integrity,” said Simon speaking with the Associated Press.

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Simona Halep’s suspension could be reduced in special circumstances

Simona Halep
Simona Halep

Following Halep’s doping results and subsequent suspension, the duration of her ban was also informed. As per the current rule, the Romanian could be out for as long as 4 years before making a return to the Tour at the age of 35. There however remains a clause where the sentence could be cut short.

If the accused player confesses to doping and accepts the sanction, the duration of the ban could be further refused. That option however looks unlikely to be taken by Halep as she remains hellbent on proving her innocence in the scandal. Her case will be handled by the concerned tennis authorities.

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The World Anti-Doping Agency can however challenge any ruling by appealing at the Court of Arbitration for Sport provided the agency finds the ruling by tennis authorities unjust.

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