Simona Halep meets special person who passionately defended her after doping ban

Halep took to social media to share that she caught up with her former coach Darren Cahill.

by Dzevad Mesic
Simona Halep meets special person who passionately defended her after doping ban
© Getty Images Sport - Vaughn Ridley

Simona Halep was absolutely thrilled to catch up with her former coach Darren Cahill, the person who was one of the loudest in defending her when the doping ban news came out. 

In 2015, Halep - now 32 years old - hired Cahill to be her new coach. At the time, Halep was a Grand Slam finalist and a top-5 player and was hoping Cahill would help her elevate her game and reach new heights. 

Exactly that happened as Halep and Cahill worked for the next six years, during which the Romanian tennis star won Grand Slam titles at the 2018 French Open and 2019 Wimbledon. Also, Halep reached the world No. 1 spot for the first time in 2017 October. 

Although Halep and Cahill enjoyed a very successful stint and they actually had a very friendly relationship, their partnership came to an end in 2021 September. A couple of months later, Halep started working with coach Patrick Mouratoglou. 

After Halep was hit with a doping ban in 2022 October, Cahill issued a very lengthy Instagram post in which he insisted the Romanian's innocence. Since, Halep has returned to tennis and the two met again. 

Currently, Cahill is working with Jannik Sinner, who became a Grand Slam champion at this year's Australian Open and also the new world No. 1 after this past French Open. 

"Happy to catch some time with this super human. A great coach but an even better friend @darren_cahill," Halep captioned the post.

How coach Cahill defended Halep two years ago?

After it was announced that Halep tested positive for anti-anaemia drug Roxadustat and was handed a provisional suspension, the entire tennis world was left in absolute shock. 

Since Halep was enjoying one of the strongest reputations in the locker room, some strongly defended the two-time Grand Slam champion and had a very hard time accepting that the former world No. 1 received a doping ban. On the other side, there was also a group of people who argued that no one can fail a doping test mistakenly. 

While the tennis community was sharing their opinions on the Halep case, Cahill wrote a lengthy Instagram post, in which he explained why "Halep would never knowingly or purposely take a banned substance."

"Even though I’m no longer working with Simona, I’d like to speak clearly to the person I know and the athlete that I worked with for 6 years," Cahill wrote on Instagram at the time.

"Firstly, and most importantly, there is NO chance Simona knowingly or purposely took any substance on the banned list. None. Zero.

"She is an athlete that stressed about anything prescribed to her by a medical professional (which was rarely), or about any supplement that she used or considered. Simona wore out the words “please double check this, triple check this to make sure it’s legal, safe and permitted. If you are not sure, I’m not taking it.”

Simona Halep and Darren Cahill
Simona Halep and Darren Cahill © Getty Images Sport - Cameron Spencer

Cahill at the time: Halep's integrity is faultless

At the time, Cahill also tried to explain how Halep was always willing to do a doping test without any complaints. 

"We both believe in the ITIA testing program and would often discuss the number of times she was tested, both at tournaments and randomly. She did it without complaint, with the reassurance of knowing other athletes were being tested just as frequently. Competing against clean athletes was important to her. It’s important to everyone and while the system is not perfect, it works," Cahill added at the time.

"Simona’s integrity is faultless, she respects her peers, she loves the game and she always has her feet firmly planted on the ground as a humble, approachable champion."

Also, Cahill addressed Halep's personality at the time, saying she was such a kind soul that would not know how to tell a lie even if she wanted. 

"Honesty has always been her greatest strength and her biggest weakness. We would often laugh about the fact that she can’t act and can’t tell a little white lie. Ask her a question in a press conference and she will blurt out an honest answer. She wears her mood on her shoulder for the world to see, for good and for bad. That is Simo. What you see is what you get. She built an amazing career and legacy by doing things the hard way. The right way," Cahill explained.

Simona Halep and Darren Cahill
Simona Halep and Darren Cahill © Getty Images Sport - Corinne Debreui

After taking her case to the CAS, Halep was informed in March that her four-year doping ban was reduced to nine months and therefore she was allowed to return to tennis instantly.

Since starting her comeback at the Miami Open in March, Halep has appeared in two tournaments. Most recently, Halep played at a WTA 125 tournament in Trophée Clarins, where a knee injury forced her to retire during her first-round match versus McCartney Kessler.

Simona Halep Darren Cahill