Simona Halep learns her fate from Court of Arbitration and Sport

Long-awaited ruling on Simona Halep's four year suspension has been made

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Simona Halep's case is closed. The Romanian Grand Slam champion has been out of tennis since October 2022 on allegations of doping with the illegal substance roxadustat, an anti-anemia drug. Halep has proclaimed her innocence from the beginning and finally got her appeal heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in a three-day hearing in February.

On Tuesday, March 5, CAS ruled that her four-year ban, effective until October 2026, has been reduced to nine months. That means Halep is able to return to the WTA Tour immediately since she has already been out of the game for more than nine months.

CAS acknowledged that she ingested roxadustat inadvertently. Halep was found to be negligent for not exercising "sufficient care when using the Keto MCT supplement".

What Halep's ruling means

Halep, 32, is eligible to enter tournaments immediately. Presumably, she would gear up for the clay court season and prepare for the French Open, one of the two Grand Slams she won (2018 French Open and 2019 Wimbledon). Halep also can set her sights on the Paris Olympics played after Wimbledon at Roland Garros.

The ruling also means that she can end her career on her own terms. When a four-year ban was in play, Halep would have been 36 years old and trying to rejoin the WTA Tour in 2026 as the young and emerging stars were entering their prime in their early to mid-twenties.

Halep's ruling also has long-term ramifications for professional tennis. There will be wiggle room for players getting suspended for doping if they can prove that they did not knowingly ingest a banned substance.

Halep's former coach Patrick Mouratoglou admitted to giving her the supplement. He was also unaware that it was contaminated. No information has been revealed indicating whether CAS believes he bears any responsibility or punishment for what happened. Mouratoglou is currently coaching Holger Rune.

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