Marin Cilic sent some strong support to banned Simona Halep, saying the ruling the ITIA and independent tribunal reached "counts for nothing." This week, the ITIA announced that the independent tribunal decide to give Halep a four-year ban after finding the two-time Grand Slam champion of committing two anti-doping violations.
In a statement released, Halep maintainted her innocence and said she plans to take her case to Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). In 2013, Cilic received a nine-month doping ban but had it reduced to four months after taking the case to CAS. "Stay strong Simona, their ruling counts for nothing!" Cilic wrote to Halep.
Stay strong Simona, their ruling counts for nothing! — Marin Cilic (@cilic_marin) September 13, 2023
Cilic sends support to Halep
In a lengthy statement released, former world No 1 Halep said being a clean athlete has always been extremely important to her.
"I believe in a clean sport and in almost two decades as a professional tennis player, through hundreds of tournaments and two Grand Slam titles, I have taken 200 blood and urine tests to check for prohibited substances – all of which have been clean, until August 29, 2022.
Ahead of the hard court season in 2022, upon recommendation from my trusted team and physiotherapist, I adjusted my nutritional supplements. None of the listed ingredients included any prohibited substances however we now know – and the tribunal agreed – one of them was contaminated with roxadustat.
I was tested almost weekly after my initial positive test through early 2023, all of which came back negative. Despite this evidence, the ITIA brought an ABP charge only after its expert group learned my identity, causing two out of three to suddenly change their opinion in favor of ITIA’s allegations.
The ITIA relied solely on the opinions of these experts who looked only at my blood parameters – which I’ve maintained for more than 10 years in the same range. This group ignored the fact no prohibited substance has ever been found in my blood or urine samples with the sole exception of one August 29 positive test for roxadustat, which was present at an extremely low level and which, when considering my negative test three days prior, could only have been caused by accidental exposure to roxadustat," Halep said in a statement.
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