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Simona Halep Cleared for Return to Tennis After Winning Doping Appeal

Simona Halep (Via Simona_Halep/Twitter)

Simona Halep, a distinguished two-time Grand Slam champion, received clearance for an immediate return to tennis on Tuesday, following a ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) which acknowledged that she bore only partial responsibility for her positive doping test.

CAS announced that it had upheld Halep’s appeal, reducing her initial four-year ban to a mere nine months. This decision made retroactive, concluded in July of the previous year.

The judges determined that Halep had “established on the balance of probabilities” that her positive test resulted from the consumption of a contaminated supplement containing a banned blood-boosting substance.

Furthermore, CAS granted Halep 20,000 Swiss francs ($22,650) toward her legal fees, a measure taken against the International Tennis Integrity Agency, which had initially prosecuted her, seeking a six-year ban.

Simona Halep (Via Simona_Halep/Twitter)

Expressing her eagerness to return to competitive play, Halep underscored her victory over what she termed “scandalous accusations” and the perceived imbalance in resources between herself and the tennis authorities involved in her prosecution.

Halep, who has been absent from the tennis circuit since the 2022 US Open, where she tested positive for the banned substance roxadustat, faced a ban that would have sidelined her until October 2026, coinciding with her 35th birthday.

The agency imposed the ban following an investigation complicated by alleged irregularities detected in Halep’s biological passport, which monitors blood values over an extended period. Despite the agency’s appeal for a more severe punishment, CAS dismissed the charge related to her blood values.

Simona Halep (Via Simona_Halep/Twitter)

Maintaining her innocence, Halep attributed the positive test to contaminated nutritional supplements, a claim supported by the need for athletes to establish the source of contamination to refute allegations of doping.

While CAS acknowledged Halep’s partial fault for the violations, it concluded that she bore no significant negligence. The Romanian athlete contested the ban at CAS, participating in a three-day closed-door hearing in Lausanne.

Halep’s illustrious career includes victories at Wimbledon in 2019, where she defeated Serena Williams in the final, and the 2018 French Open, cementing her status as one of the sport’s elite competitors.

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