Halep 'confident' of overturning doping ban after CAS hearing

The former World No. 1 was suspended after an independent tribunal said she committed 'intentional' anti-doping violations

By AFP

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Former WTA number 1 tennis player Simona Halep of Romania is surrounded by the media for a hearing in the arbitration procedures against International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) at the international Court of Arbitration for Sport, CAS, in Lausanne, Switzerland. - AP
Former WTA number 1 tennis player Simona Halep of Romania is surrounded by the media for a hearing in the arbitration procedures against International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) at the international Court of Arbitration for Sport, CAS, in Lausanne, Switzerland. - AP

Published: Sat 10 Feb 2024, 4:37 PM

Former world number one Simona Halep said Friday she was confident her appeal against a four-year doping ban would be successful after a three-day hearing before the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland.

"This hearing provided me with the opportunity to present my position and defend my innocence," the two-time Grand Slam winner said in a statement after the final day of the hearing.

"My confidence in the prevalence of the truth remains intact. I look forward to reclaiming my place on the tennis courts."

Accompanied by her lawyers, the 32-year-old player began pleading her case behind closed doors at CAS headquarters in Lausanne on Wednesday.

The hearing concluded on Friday at 1430GMT "with the final pleadings of the parties", CAS said in a separate statement.

"The parties have been informed that the CAS Panel in charge of the matter will now deliberate and prepare the Arbitral Award containing its decision and grounds," the statement added.

The CAS ruling will be delivered at a date yet to be announced.

The Romanian was suspended last September by the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) after two separate doping infractions.

She tested positive for roxadustat after the US Open in 2022 and was charged with a second anti-doping breach last year relating to irregularities in her athlete biological passport.

Halep has protested her innocence and refused to accept the ITIA decision which will keep her from playing professional tennis again until October 6, 2026.

The winner of the 2018 French Open and 2019 Wimbledon singles titles says she wants to "clear her name" and has claimed experts found she had accidentally taken a contaminated supplement.

Roxadustat is a substance that can be used legitimately to treat anaemia.

But it is also on the World Anti-Doping Agency banned list as it is considered a blood-doping agent, which increases haemoglobin and the production of red blood cells.

The biological passport system is designed for the long-term monitoring of an athlete's blood indicators with the aim of identifying irregularities that could indicate doping.

Halep is the first leading women's tennis player to be caught in the anti-doping net since the suspension of Russian Maria Sharapova in 2016.

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