Simona Halep on getting her name cleared, compensation CAS ordered to ITIA to pay

The CAS announced its verdict in the Halep doping ban appeal on Tuesday as the former world No. 1 is free to return to tennis immediately.

by Dzevad Mesic
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Simona Halep on getting her name cleared, compensation CAS ordered to ITIA to pay
© Getty Images Sport - Vaughn Ridley

Simona Halep described the Court of Arbitration's (CAS) decision in her doping ban appeal as "a pivotal moment" and also shared that the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) must compensate her with 20k CHF (Swiss Franc), which is around $22.6k.

On Tuesday, the CAS announced that they reached the verdict in Halep's doping ban appeal as the Romanian's initial four-year doping ban was reduced to nine months. Since Halep was suspended in 2022 October, her nine-month suspension counted as expired, which means the former world No. 1 is free to immediately return to tennis. 

In their statement, the CAS underlined that neither of the two anti-doping violations Halep was accused of were intentional. In a statement, it was also said that Halep did "bear some level of fault or negligence for her violations" but that she personally "bore no significant fault or negligence." 

Most importantly, it was confirmed that banned substance Roxadustat entered Halep's body via a contaminated supplement and not because the Romanian wanted to enhance her performance.

"Today marks a pivotal moment, as the tribunal has rendered its verdict, affirming my stance and bringing clarity to this chapter," Halep wrote on Instagram.

"(1) In a unanimous decision, the tribunal has cleared me of any wrongdoing regarding the blood doping allegations.

"(2) It was also unanimously determined that the unfortunate incident of the Roxadustat positive test stemmed from inadvertent supplement contamination, leading to a reduced sanction of nine months.

"(3) Furthermore, the tribunal has directed ITIA to compensate me with CHF 20,000."

Simona Halep
Simona Halep© Getty Images Sport - Shaun Botterill
 

Halep: This ordeal has been a testament to resilience

Moments after the ITIA announced Halep's provisional suspension in 2022 October, Halep responded with a lengthy statement, in which she strongly denied the accusations. During the entire process - and even after being hit with a second anti-doping charge over "irregularities in her athlete biological passport - Halep kept insisting that she was 100 percent clean athlete and innocent. 

After the independent tribunal and the ITIA still found Halep as guilty and slapped her with a four-year ban, Halep maintained her position and refused to accept the verdict. 

Now that the CAS has cleared her name, Halep admits it is "immensely gratifying" to know that her words have been confirmed as truthful. 

"In the midst of this challenging journey, my unwavering belief in the integrity of the truth and in the principles of justice has been my beacon. Despite facing daunting accusations and formidable opposition, my spirit remained buoyant, anchored in my unwavering conviction of being a clean athlete," Halep said. 

"This ordeal has been a testament to resilience, and the triumph of truth is a bittersweet vindication that, albeit delayed, is immensely gratifying."

Simona Halep
Simona Halep© Getty Images Sport - Vaughn Ridley
 

Halep grateful to her legal team, fans, the Romanians 

During the entire process, Halep was receiving pretty strong support within the tennis community as she has always been known as a fair player and enjoyed an outstanding reputation in the locker room. 

After getting the verdict she was seeking, Halep took a moment to acknowledge the work from her lawyers and their efforts to help her clear her name. 

"I extend my heartfelt gratitude to my legal team, whose steadfast faith and exceptional dedication have been instrumental in navigating through these turbulent times. Equally, my sponsors, loyal fans, and some commendable competitors have been my pillars of strength, offering unwavering support and solidarity," Halep added.

"The overwhelming backing from so many Romanians has also fortified my resolve, enabling me to champion this cause to a rightful and honorable conclusion."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Simona Halep (@simonahalep)

Following the CAS ruling, two-time Grand Slam champion Halep is free to return to tennis immediately. Halep, who hasn't played since the 2022 US Open, admits she is looking forward to returning to the WTA Tour.

"Looking forward, I am eager to turn this page and rejoin the tour with renewed vigor and an invigorated spirit," Halep said.

Simona Halep
Simona Halep© Getty Images Sport - Michael Reaves
 

This week, a WTA 1000 tournament in Indian Wells is starting, while the next tournament of the Sunshine Double kicks off in Miami on March 19. When the news of Halep being allowed to resume play dropped, fans instantly started expressing hope to see the former world No. 1 back in action in two weeks. 

But since Miami is the last hard-court tournament before the clay season, Halep might decide to start practicing on clay and preparing for the clay swing, which starts in early April. 

It remains to be seen where Halep will play her first tournament since clearing her name of doping allegations. 

Simona Halep
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