Simona Halep will know her future this week as she appears in court

Halep is currently facing a four-year ban.

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Simona Halep failed a drug test. We know that. And we also know she was handed a ban by the International Tennis Integrity Agency in late 2023. The ban was set for four years and retroactive to October 2022. Halep tested positive for Roxadustat, a substance that stimulates the production of red blood cells which could mean higher oxygen levels and, therefore, better endurance.

Halep has maintained her innocence for as long as this has been a matter. She was originally given a provisional suspension in October of 2022. She was charged with irregularities in her Athlete Biological Passport. She tested positive at the 2022 US Open and has not played since.

Her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, accepted the blame for Halep testing positive as he was in charge of her diet. Mouratoglou and Halep contend she had taken some tainted collagen that had Roxadustat present in it. Whether the Court of Arbitration for Sport buys that or not will determine Halep's fate moving forward.

Simona Halep gets her appeal hearing this week

She is scheduled to have a closed-door hearing beginning Wednesday, February 7 and that hearing will run through Friday, February 9. The hearing will take place in Lausanne, Switzerland. Anything is a possible outcome of the hearing. The CAS could uphold the ban entirely, shorten it, or completely dismiss the ban.

If the ban is upheld, Halep will not be able to play again until October 2026. By that time Halep will be 35 years old but not having played professional tennis for four years. Expecting to come back at that time and make any kind of impact on the WTA tour is likely expecting too much.

In other words, Simona Halep's career likely hangs in the balance this week. Whatever the CAS decides should be final. There is quite a bit of evidence against Halep - she did test positive and there is no real dispute to that - but whether the CAS accepts her story of how she ingested Roxadustat to be true or not is what will truly decide the outcome.

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