The news of Simona Halep’s doping and subsequent ruling has sent shockwaves through the tennis world. The Romanian star has been dealt a harsh hand, being banned for 4 years. Throughout the ordeal, her coach Patrick Mouratoglou has firmly stood by her side. However, since the evidence of Halep‘s case has been made public, doubts have been cast on Mouratoglou’s role.
Simona tested positive for the endurance-enhancing drug Roxadustat at the US Open last year. This resulted in a provisional ban for 6 months. Simona was confident that the tribunal would rule in her favor, as a few things did not add up. But to her dismay, the tribunal discarded the evidence which her team had gathered to prove her innocence.
Earlier this year, Halep’s team had traced the source of Roxadustat found in Halep’s blood. It was present in a supplement she had consumed before her urine test in August 2020. Halep’s physiotherapist had recommended it at Patrick Mouratoglou‘s academy.
Simona was well on her way to serving out the initial ban, when her urine sample from September was flagged. Discrepancies were also detected in her Athlete Biological passport (ABP). Experts believed there could be no “innocent explanation” for the irregularities, but Halep’s team believes they had prior knowledge the sample belonged to Simona.
In June, Halep’s team presented evidence that the supplements from the same lot number had Roxadustat. When a volunteer consumed it, the drug was detected in their urine sample. Additionally, Halep’s hair sample did not have enough Roxadustat either.
Simona Halep tested negative for Roxadustat on August 26, 2022, 3 days before she tested positive on August 29.
“Given that Halep had tested negative on August 26th & then positive 3 days later, experts concluded that the very small concentration levels of Roxadustat found in… pic.twitter.com/7Ctq7H5wRm
— The Tennis Letter (@TheTennisLetter) September 18, 2023
Simona revealed that Roxadustat would have done her more harm than good by aggravating a thyroid issue. She has vehemently defended her innocence since the beginning. There is another way for Halep but she will contest this ruling.
Is Patrick Mouratoglou behind Simona’s predicament?
Mouratoglou is a well-known name in the tennis world. He is best known as the coach of tennis icon Serena Williams, who made her stance on Halep’s case crystal clear.
When the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) passed its ruling this week, it outlined Patrick’s part in this. Moratoglou had recommended that Simona’s supplements be replaced.
So Patrick Mouratoglou was involved in suggesting Simona Halep to replace her supplements. That guy is such a shady person. I hope all WTA AND ATP players take a note of this and cut ties with that guy. https://t.co/qx3WZWNpKQ pic.twitter.com/DFvY7zeBcv
— High Blood Pressure (@thetwinkwolff) September 14, 2023
He had vouched for the supplements, which eventually led to Halep’s positive test for the banned substance. Thus Mouratoglou’s role in Halep’s doping case has raised doubts in the minds of others.
As of now, there is no concrete evidence to ascertain that Patrick Mouratoglou did it knowingly. He has been nothing but supportive of Halep throughout these trying times.