The news of Simona Halep being banned for four years rocked the tennis world this week. The International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) found Halep guilty of two anti-doping violations. However, there is a way for the Romanian to return earlier, but it is a bold move.
Halep tested positive for the banned substance roxadustat at the US Open last year. It is used to treat anemia by increasing the red blood cell count, which gives athletes an undue advantage. But Simona’s woes did not end there, as there were irregularities in her Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) too.
Since her provisional suspension last year, Halep’s case had been languishing in limbo for a long time. The hearing was pushed back several times before the ITIA gave their final verdict this week. With Halep’s career on the line, she can make a comeback earlier if she can only name another person guilty of doping.
Simona Halep has been suspended for 4 years.
After facing various delays to even have a fair trial, this decision seems incredibly harsh.
Simona has been provisionally suspended since October 2022.
She will appeal this decision. If she’s unable to have this… pic.twitter.com/sneMOx5mJc
— The Tennis Letter (@TheTennisLetter) September 12, 2023
Reportedly, this method is mentioned in Article 10.7.1 of the Tennis Anti-Doping Program. If Halep can provide assistance in this regard, her suspension could be reduced by three-quarters. Since Simona has been on the sidelines for a year already, she can make an immediate return to tennis.
There is a catch because if Simona appeals this decision, she cannot take this route with the ITIA. She would also have to overcome her dislike of the ITIA in order to collaborate with them.
Simona Halep announced her decision to appeal this sentence as soon as the news broke. Her name has been dragged through the mud since, with several players ridiculing Simona, Nick Kyrgios being one of them.
Nick Kyrgios mocked Simona Halep
The Australian tennis star has been out of action for the entirety of this year, but he is quite active on social media. When the news of Halep’s doping scandal broke out, Kyrgios was one of the first few people to react to it.
But Kyrgios is known for stirring controversies and this time was no different. He objected to Maria Sakkari’s statements of having to live in fear of the anti-doping agencies. Kyrgios responded by stating that players should stop consuming such substances.
Ehhhh not really lol, I run on bananas and coke cola in 5 set battles. And my record in them speaks for itself. Maybe players should just stop taking shady sh*t 😂 look yourself in the mirror at the end of the day and say yep I did it right. Not hard.
— Nicholas Kyrgios (@NickKyrgios) September 14, 2023
Simona Halep’s ban will act as a reality check for many. As for Halep, her fight for justice has only just begun. It has been a year of misery, one she will try to put behind her as soon as she can.