Romanian tennis player Simona Halep has spoken out in her first public interview in months. The Euronews interview comes in the wake of this week’s news that she has been granted an appeal of her doping case with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CASA) scheduled for February 7-9, 2024.
Halep is fighting two doping charges and a four-year suspension from the sport through 2026. The last time she played competitive tennis was at the 2022 US Open.
She has maintained her innocence from the beginning, asserting that she unknowingly took a contaminated supplement. Patrick Mouratoglou, her coach at the time, recently admitted he gave her the supplement but was also unaware that it was contaminated. This admission was somewhat of a relief to Halep, but she felt it came late in the process. She admits that she has trust issues as a result of this entire experience.
What Simona Halep said
In addition to announcing an official end to her partnership with Mouratoglou, Halep said that if she loses the February appeal, she will retire. The two-time Grand Slam champion and former World No. 1 is 32 years old; retirement would be a sad conclusion to her career if CASA does not overturn the suspension.
Her nightmare began in October 2022. She dealt with numerous delays and issues with the International Tennis Integrity Agency which issued the suspension. Mouratoglou was by her side as she fought to clear her name. Former coach Darren Cahill has also been a staunch supporter of Halep’s innocence from the beginning.
Halep explained the circumstances around her failed test.
““It’s very clear that it was a contamination. Three days before the positive urine test, I was negative in blood and urine. So I’ve been told at the beginning that it’s a very, it’s an extremely low quantity of this substance, a banned substance, and in those three days I could not have doped. It was not my intention and never has been the intention to do something wrong or something disrespectful to this sport, because I have respected everything and I dedicated my life. My principles are not like this, so I didn’t think to cheat in tennis.””