JUST IN: Simona Halep's doping ban reduced, ex No. 1 can return to tennis immediately

Halep has received the news she was hoping for after taking her case to the CAS.

by Dzevad Mesic
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JUST IN: Simona Halep's doping ban reduced, ex No. 1 can return to tennis immediately
© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Simona Halep is free to return to tennis as the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS) has reduced the Romanian's initial four-year doping ban to a nine-month suspension, which means the two-time Grand Slam champion can return to tennis immediately. 

After being provisionally suspended in 2022 October over a positive test for anti-anaemia drug Roxadustat, Halep was also hit with a second anti-doping charge in 2023 over "irregularities in her athlete biological passport." Last September, Halep received the verdict from the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA), which slapped her with a four-year doping ban that would end in 2026 October. 

But Halep didn't quit as she maintained her innocence and announced she would appeal to the CAS. After being heard in Lausanne for three consecutive days between February 07-09, Halep received the CAS verdict today and it was the outcome she was hoping for. 

In their statement, the CAS said that Halep's anti-doping violations "were not intentional" and confirmed that Roxadustat entered her body through a contaminated supplement. While it was determined that Halep did indeed "bear some level of fault or negligence for her violations," it was also determined that "she bore no significant fault or negligence for her violations."

Simona Halep
Simona Halep© Getty Images Sport - Vaughn Ridley
 

The CAS also dismissed the athlete biological passport charge 

When it comes to Halep's athlete passport charge, the CAS also dismissed that when taking everything into consideration.

"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 9 September 2022 in the context of a surgery which occurred shortly thereafter," the CAS said.

"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 IT Independent Tribunal. Having regard to the evidence as a whole, the CAS Panel was not comfortably satisfied that an anti-doping rule violation under Article 2.2. of the TADP had occurred. It therefore dismissed that charge."

Halep will now likely return to tennis during the clay season in April.

Simona Halep
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