Simona Halep's second life starts again in Miami

The Romanian tennis player can finally embrace tennis again: how the WTA Tour is changing

by Lorenzo Ciotti
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Simona Halep's second life starts again in Miami
© Clive Rose / Staff Getty Images Sport

"It was so shocking when this story came out, I didn't even realize it. The document appears and I look at the Romanian flag on the screen: it was a shock to discover that the sample was from Bucharest, when I was 10 minutes away from laboratory, and was therefore tested without taking into account the conservation rules.

About two hours had passed and my blood was at the wrong temperature. But even in that state it was within normal values and did not indicate any trace of doping. The court was surprised, especially since we were in the same city just minutes from the laboratory."

Simona Halep returned to talk about the doping case that shocked her and risked ending her career prematurely, in an interview with Treizecizero. The Romanian tennis player highlighted some background information on the doping accusation that emerged during the trial, such as the blood sample that was taken from her.

Halep made it clear that she doesn't hold her team responsible for what happened. As was done by the media and insiders.

"Negligence and my bad luck. Negligence on the part of the team, because they did not check as they should have. But it is also an accident. I am not an expert in this kind of thing but when this product is made, when it is mixed, there could have been something previously left on the blender.

This is how contamination can occur. Lawyers and experts also explained it to me. So I don't think so and I'm convinced that they didn't do it with bad intentions. It was a simple mistake and that was it," she explained.

Simona Halep
Simona Halep© Matthew Stockman / Staff Getty Images Sport
 

Now Simona is finally ready to embrace tennis again and tennis is ready to embrace her again. In fact, the CAS accepted the Romanian's appeal and reduced her disqualification to nine months. Halep, now out of the 2022 US Open, will be able to return to play immediately. Perhaps already at the Miami Open her extraordinary career could start again.

Simona Halep's second tennis life

James Blake, CEO of the WTA 1000 in Miami, has already invited the Romanian tennis player to participate with a wild-card and she would join Emma Raducanu, Venus Williams and Caroline Wozniacki, in the tournament in Florida.

Initially it was not known whether Halep had already been able to participate in such a demanding tournament as the Miami Open and whether her current physical level will allow her to be competitive right away.

But then came the announcement: Halap will play Miami and yes, we will see some good ones.

The tennis players who now dominate the Tour - Iga Swiatek, Aryna Sabalenka and Coco Gauff - will have to face a great opponent. Simona has fire inside her, and I'm sure she will never give up competing and fighting.

Halep, especially after what happened to her, will try to get back her winning career, trying to demonstrate, to those who still judge her unfairly, that she is ready to earn titles and victories on the court. As she always has. Without shortcuts. Halep's come back will be like a variable ready to destabilize an equation and therefore upset the tennis players who now dominate on the WTA Tour.

Halep had written a long comment on social media after the victory over the doping issue, which caused her to have bittersweet mixed feelings.

"Today marks a crucial moment, as the court issued its verdict clarifying my position and this chapter: In a unanimous decision, the CAS acquitted me of any wrongdoing relating to the doping allegations

It was also unanimously ruled that the unfortunate incident of the positive Roxadustat test was due to inadvertent contamination, resulting in a reduction of the disqualification to nine months. Furthermore, the court ordered ITIA to compensate me with 20,000 Swiss francs.

In the midst of this challenging journey, my unshakable belief in the truth and integrity of the principles of justice has been my beacon. Despite the disheartening accusations and formidable opposition, my spirit remained optimistic, anchored in my unshakable belief that I was a clean athlete. This ordeal has been a testament to resilience, and the triumph of truth represents a bittersweet vindication that, while late, is immensely rewarding.

I extend my sincere gratitude to my legal team, whose unwavering faith and exceptional dedication have been instrumental in navigating this complicated time. Likewise, my sponsors, my loyal fans and some wonderful colleagues have been my pillars of strength, offering support and solidarity.

The extraordinary support of so many Romanians has strengthened my determination, allowing me to support this cause to a just and honorable conclusion. Looking ahead, I look forward to turning this page and joining the Tour with a renewed spirit and vigor. With love and gratitude, Simona."

Now the nightmare is over and Halep's second tennis life begins.

Simona Halep
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