Simona Halep breaks silence after appeal hearing against four-year doping ban concludes | Tennis | Sport

Halep was found to have ingested roxadustat, a banned substance, from a urine sample taken at the US Open in 2022. She was hit with a second, separate charge in May last year relating to irregularities in her Athlete Biological Passport, with the two charges resulting in a four-year suspension.

The 32-year-old chose to appeal her ban, with her case being heard by CAS at the organisation’s headquarters in Switzerland this week. Halep had initially feared that her career would be over if the ban was upheld, but was optimistic after leaving court on Friday.

Speaking to reporters gathered outside the court, Halep said: “I had the chance to show my defence and I really believe that the truth is going to come out and the day to be on [a tennis] court is going to be soon.”

The hearing concluded on Friday, with Halep having spent the last three days pleading her case accompanied by her lawyers. It remains to be seen when a final decision will be announced by CAS, who said in a statement that ‘no particular date’ had been set for the ruling to be delivered.

Halep, who clinched the French Open title in 2018 before winning Wimbledon the following year, has blamed contaminated licensed supplements for her positive test at the US Open in 2022. Roxadustat, the substance she was found to have ingested, can be used legitimately to treat anaemia but is also considered a blood doping agent.

In September, an independent tribunal accepted Halep’s argument that she had unknowingly taken a contaminated supplement. However, it was determined that the volume found in her positive urine sample was too high to be purely from contamination.

Halep’s four-year suspension was backdated to her original provisional ban in October 2022, meaning that she is currently ineligible to play until October 6, 2026. However, the ban will either be reduced or scrapped entirely if her appeal is granted by CAS.

Speaking after her ban was confirmed in September, Halep said: “The last year has been the hardest match of my life, and unfortunately my fight continues. I have devoted my life to the beautiful game of tennis.

“I take the rules that govern our sport very seriously and take pride in the fact I have never knowingly or intentionally used any prohibited substance. I refused to accept their decision of a four-year ban.”

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