Simona Halep has been having a torrid time of late since the verdict of a four-year ban was imposed. The ban was served on September 12, 2023, but as she was provisionally suspended from October 2022, it would effectively run-up to October 2026, that is, if it is not revoked or reduced.
There have been mixed reactions from players ever since the ban was passed. While some have taken a dig at Simona’s credentials, others have been critical of the way the trials for doping offenses have been conducted.
— Simona Halep (@Simona_Halep) October 21, 2022
One player who has been a skeptic of Simona and has taken a nasty jibe at her is none other than Serena Williams. Serena was denied an 8th Wimbledon Crown by Halep herself, in the Women’s finals of 2019.
There seems to be no love lost, which was evident when Serena took to X to post suggesting that she should have had her 8th title at the All England Club, if not for violations.
8 is a better number.
— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) September 12, 2023
Simona Halep recently broke her silence on the issue and addressed the criticism by Serena and others saying, “I think everyone has the right to judge me because the tribunal decided that I have the fault here. Someone told me today that those players who are hating on me because I beat them.”
Halep has also found support from some quarters. Maria Sakkari for one has been critical of how the authorities are handling doping issues. She even said that it could get to a point where even the consumption of electrolytes can become dicey.
Nick Kyrgios was quick to counter it by claiming that, he runs only on bananas and Coca-Cola in five-set battles. So others could also follow suit and stop taking shady substances to enhance their performances.
Simona Halep was judged on scenarios, not proofs?
To Simona’s credit though, she has denied taking banned substances or resorting to cheating. She also claimed that “Roxadustat”, the substance in the spotlight, was only from supplements to treat nasal problems and anemia. But the problem is that the levels of the substance found in her samples are too high for the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) authorities to believe her claim.
Halep, for her defense, has cited the fact that consumption of the substance would worsen the thyroid condition which she deals with. On the other hand, ITIA didn’t find her explanation to be “innocent”, originally insisted on a six-year ban, with the evidence found in the athlete’s biological passport, and is in no mood to relent.
Simona is in a state of shock for now and has responded by saying, “They didn’t find anything bad in my blood. It’s crazy they made this decision with everything. They judged me on scenarios. There is no proof. It’s just insane.” To be fair to her, she hasn’t held any other person guilty for her offense. This, according to Article 10.7.1, could reduce her ban by three-quarters, effectively meaning she could return immediately.
For now, the ban stays and she has decided to go over to the Court of Arbitration for Sport(CAS) to overturn the ban or reduce it. Simona feels she can positively do so with a fair trial.
Otherwise, her response of “Hating on Me Because I Beat Them” to those who jibed at her with shady comments, could just be as empty as her achievements might go on to become. It could potentially end and bring down the curtains on the career of a crestfallen two-time Grand Slam Champion.