Simona Halep might be banned from playing professional tennis currently, but she is not going down without a fight. Halep has maintained her innocence in knowing she intentionally took the banned substance roxadustat. Her former coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, seemed to admit that Halep wouldn't have known all she was taking either.
While that seems, and likely is, unfair, tennis has fairly rigid rules. Halep, whether she meant to or not, broke those rules. Hence, she was banned for four years and is currently having to fight her way back.
One place she will not have to prove herself again, though, is her native Romania. I am sure (speaking as a non-Romanian but acting as if I am, I guess) that most Romanians give her the benefit of the doubt. She did not knowing she was taking a banned substance and therefore, she is not guilty. That is difficult logic to dispute.
Simona Halep will appear at an event in her home country of Romania
More proof that Simona Halep is welcome to do as she pleases in Romania is that she will be one of the most prominent athletes at The Sports Festival which will take place in June in Cluj-Napoca in the Transylvania region of Romania. Halep will participate in an exhibition match on June 15.
Halep will not be the only major tennis name participating The Sports Festival either. Former ATP No. 1 Andre Agassi and former WTA No. 1 Steffi Graf (they are married and I hope this is not breaking news) will also be at the vent. And if you think many people won't show and root for Halep, just wait.
In 2023, a reported 150,000 people showed up to watch the festivities. We can assume with Simona Halep involved, that number will grow. And it should. She seems banned from professional tennis by reason of ignorance. Her punishment seems harsh.