Simona Halep sheds light on how she felt about Patrick Mouratoglou role in doping ban

Halep answers one of the questions that many fans wanted the Romanian to address.

by Dzevad Mesic
Simona Halep sheds light on how she felt about Patrick Mouratoglou role in doping ban
© Getty Images Sport - Julian Finney

Simona Halep says she believes that Patrick Mouratoglou's intention was never to do something that would make her fail a doping test but it was just an unfortunate situation that turned out bad for everyone involved.

After starting to work with Mouratoglou in 2022 April,  Halep - who was one of the most respected players in the locker room - failed a doping test later that year. Shortly after the news of Halep testing positive for Roxadustat dropped, some started wondering if Mouratoglou bore any responsibility in that. 

Around a year later, Mouratoglou uploaded a video in Instagram, in which he revealed that it was indeed him who provided Halep a supplement that later turned out to be contaminated with a benned substance. In his defense, Mouratoglou underlined that he would never knowingly provide Halep with something that contained a banned substance but it only happened because the supplement company failed to mention that the product contained something that was prohibited to use. 

Now, 32-year-old Halep confirms some people around her have slammed Mouratoglou as "a manipulator." But Halep is refusing to look at Mouratoglou that way and have any hard feelings despite their partnership coming to an end way before she was cleared to return to tennis.

“Definitely was not an intentional mistake or how should I say? That he wanted to make something wrong to me. No. And I heard many voices [say] that I was manipulated by him. That’s not true. He was my coach and I always trusted the people I work with . . . So I really believe that if you don't trust in your team, you cannot perform at your maximum level. So I trusted, I work with his academy with his people and everything was fine," Halep told Jon Wertheim during an interview for Tennis Channel.

“So it was nothing that he offered me to take something or to give me something. No, everything was clear about doping, so it's nothing that he did it in purpose, nothing.”

Simona Halep and Patrick Mouratoglou
Simona Halep and Patrick Mouratoglou © Getty Images Sport - Julian Finney

Halep was going through a rough time but not everything was negative about the situation

In the year and a half that Halep was fighting to clear her name, Halep admitted several times that it was the most difficult time of her life as she acknowledged that her reputation and everything was on the line with doping accusations. 

While battling to clear her name was a big fight and something Halep was focused on, she was also able to discover some other things and enjoy herself off the court. That included doing some activities she previously wasn't able to do because of the demanding tennis calendar and responsibilities.

“I was focusing more on my person than [as] an athlete. So I was taking care of my body, I was taking care of my mental, I transformed everything into a personal lifestyle..." Halep said.

"I just enjoyed life day by day, that I never had the chance to live normal in this 25 years because I was always, in the schedule, always strict, always something to do. The schedule was like an army, I would say. And now it was like I could go by the pool, I could go to a hair salon, I could go to do all this stuff that a person, normal person can do it. So I enjoyed it.”

Simona Halep
Simona Halep © Getty Images Sport - Mark Brake

Halep on her new perspective about life and tennis

In the same interview, Halep said that she now feels as a three-time Grand Slam champion and not as a two-time Grand Slam champion. On the court, Halep has won two Grand Slams. But winning a year-and-a-half long fight to clear her name and return to tennis was also a major win. 

While the 32-year-old Romanian is hoping to return to where she once was in tennis, she now feels happier despite knowing that coming back to her old heights won't be easy. 

“I'm very smiley these days and I feel, as I said, relieved. I feel the freedom that I probably, I didn't realize this feeling before what happened. I was always intention. I was always focusing to be the best and to how to do the best things to be great in tennis," Halep said.

"Now I see different. I'm older, of course, I have some titles behind, so I have experience and now I see more the pleasure for tennis. Of course it's going to be tough to get the rhythm back, but I enjoy more, which is I think the best thing right now for me.”

Simona Halep
Simona Halep © Getty Images Sport - Shaun Botterill

This week, Halep competed at a WTA 125 tournament in Trophée Clarins, where she was up by a set in the first round versus McCartney Kessler before being forced to retire due to a knee injury.

Simona Halep Patrick Mouratoglou