For Simona Halep, former world number 1, the result of her doping tribunal couldn’t have been much worse. The International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) found the player guilty of two willful anti-doping rule violations and handed her a four-year ban from competition. At the age of 31, it could be the end of his career.
The Romanian tested positive for the banned substance roxadustat at the US Open last year (the substance increases red blood cell production, which could benefit endurance). The ITIA determined this in a two-day hearing “significant” Evidence of doping violations and long-term irregularities in the player’s biological passport (monitoring of a competitor’s blood values) after analysis of 51 samples.
It’s a dramatic fall for the two-time Slam champion (she won the French Open in 2018, Wimbledon the following year) and the third highest earner in women’s tennis all-time, behind only the Williams sisters. Before her suspension, Halep was in the process of re-establishing herself on the tour after a bout of injury and form, signing with former Serena Williams coach Patrick Mouratoglou and making it Indian Wells semi-final.
Mouratoglou, who worked with Danish men’s football teenage phenom Holger Rune for a time during Halep’s suspension, attended Halep’s tribunal and was vocal in his support for the player after the result. “I know Simona’s integrity and have no doubt that she has never taken banned substances,” he said posted on social mediaHe added that he was “extremely shocked” by the result.
Halep’s former coach Darren Cahill, who now works with Jannik Sinner, also supported her – and called her one “extraordinary person” with “impeccable integrity.” Others were less supportive, including Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard, who Posted after the court ruling: “I was told not to tweet today,” with a shy face emoji, after engaging in it earlier hot water with her contributions on the topic of “dopers”.
Maria Sharapova is, of course, the sport’s most famous doping controversy. In 2016The five-time Grand Slam winner was banned for two years, later reduced to 15 months, after testing positive for meldonium. Following Sharapova’s return to the tour, Halep said: “For the children, for the young players, it is not okay to help a player with a wild card who has been banned for doping.”
Whatever the truth about Halep’s situation, it certainly seems that the sentencing process could be more efficient and less opaque. Halep’s hearing was delayed several times, which left the player in limbo for more than a year. In September, Australian John Millman called Halep’s “tennis purgatory”A shame“, A The mood resonated by Alizé Cornet. The WTA veteran wrote: “This has gone way too far and way too long @itia_tennis @ITFTennis. The tennis world just wants what’s fair.”
The Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA), the players’ union, released a statement in September, arguing that “the repeated delays in the Halep case are both unfair and unacceptable.” Meanwhile, Rennae Stubbs, the high-profile former player and coach, is the reiterated her belief In Halep after the suspension, he criticized Halep’s team, saying they had “a lot to answer for” as players rely on their coaches and support teams to keep them clean and coordinate their testing schedule. Her team did not respond to the criticism.
Although this is a separate topic, Daniil Medevedev spoke about the dangers of violating a strict testing schedule – but also how it was easy to do, especially given players’ constant travel. “I once had two missed exams myself. It is not easy. You forgot to change the time slot. A test was missed. Three can be pretty fast.”
It is clear that there should be no place for doping in sport and that a zero-tolerance approach must be adhered to. However, this does not mean that sports associations cannot improve their processes. The lists of banned substances themselves are controversial. Some athletes are protesting that certain substances are banned, even if they are not known to have any performance-enhancing effects.
Some actors argue that substances without sufficient exposure are included in the banned lists. Sharapova’s ban was reduced because the Court of Arbitration for Sport, Cas, found that her team had been unaware that meldonium, which she had taken for a decade, had recently been banned.
And while there are exemptions from therapeutic use for certain medications, exercise may also be more accommodating to people with known medical conditions. At the French Open, Alexander Zverev, who suffers from type 1 diabetes, said this was the case Injecting insulin is prohibited During on-court meetings, a “supervisor” said he said it looked “weird” and required a doctor to do it. Organizers later backed down as charities called their stance wrong.
Likewise, more support could be offered to players who fail drug tests for recreational use. Andre Agassi and John McEnroe have both spoken about using recreational drugs throughout their careers (crystal meth and cocaine, respectively), and in 2017, British player Dan Evans was banned for using the latter drug, a drug he described as ” “Cocaine”. “Ruiner of life”.
Halep has confirmed her decision She wants to appeal to Cas and is taking legal action against the company she believes is responsible for contaminating her supplements. Whether she manages to prove her innocence or whether her guilt will be reasserted remains to be seen, but one thing is clear: it is a disappointing and disgraceful potential end to the career of one of the sport’s greatest talents.