Simona Halep given £18,000 and is free to return to tennis immediately as doping ban is heavily reduced

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Simona Halep is set for an immediate return to tennis after the Court of Arbitration for Sport [CAS] reduced her doping ban.

The two-time Grand Slam winner was initially banned for four years, but that has been reduced to nine months by CAS after an appeal, a suspension she has already served having not played since October 2022.

Halep has received the news she was hoping for an will return to tennis immediately

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Halep has received the news she was hoping for an will return to tennis immediatelyCredit: AFP

On top of her imminent return, there’s more good news for Halep, with the International Tennis Integrity Agency ordered to pay her £18,000 in legal fees and expenses.

In August 2022 the 32-year-old Romanian tested positive for Roxadustat following the US Open and was provisionally suspended.

Halep argued that she unintentionally took the drug and that it was a result of contamination.

In a statement, CAS said:  “Having carefully considered all the evidence put before it, the CAS panel determined that Ms Halep had established, on the balance of probabilities, that the Roxadustat entered her body through the consumption of a contaminated supplement which she had used in the days shortly before August 29, 2022 and that the Roxadustat, as detected in her sample, came from that contaminated product.

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“As a result, the CAS Panel determined that Ms. Halep had also established, on the balance of probabilities, that her anti-doping rule violations were not intentional.

“Although the CAS Panel found that Ms. Halep did bear some level of fault or negligence for her violations, as she did not exercise sufficient care when using the Keto MCT supplement, it concluded that she bore no significant fault or negligence.

“Contrary to the reasoning of the first instance tribunal, the CAS panel determined that it was appropriate in the circumstances to consider the results of a private blood sample given by Ms Halep on September 9, 2022 in the context of a surgery which occurred shortly thereafter.

“Those results, and Ms Halep’s public statements that she did not intend to compete for the remainder of the 2022 calendar year, impacted the plausibility of the doping scenarios relied upon by the International Tennis Federation independent tribunal.

Halep is a Wimbledon winner

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Halep is a Wimbledon winnerCredit: Getty

“Having regard to the evidence as a whole, the CAS panel was not comfortably satisfied that an anti-doping rule violation had occurred. It therefore dismissed that charge.”

Halep is a former women’s world no.1 and a four-year ban may well have ended her career at the top given her age of 32.

When the ban was handed down in September 2023, Halep was largely ostracised by the tennis community.

The legendary Serena Williams tweeted ‘8 is a better number’ in response, while Nick Kyrgois commented: “I run on bananas and coke cola in five set battles and my record in them speaks for itself. 

“Maybe players should just stop taking shady s***  look yourself in the mirror at the end of the day and say yep I did it right. Not hard.”

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