For the third time the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) has requested a delay to Simona Halep‘s hearing. Judging by the Romanian’s reactions, we can conclude that she feels like there is some sort of controversy organized against her. Is she guilty of using roxadustat or is some higher power trying to ruin her career?
Shortly after elaborating about the reasons she feels “helpless facing such harassment” by the ITIA, the two-time Grand Slam champion Halep took to social media to inform everyone that tennis’ doping authority has once again officially requested the tribunal to delay her hearing.
— Simona Halep (@Simona_Halep) May 22, 2023
Desperate to resolve this situation and prove that she is an innocent victim of accidental contamination, Halep is sharing her frustration with constant delays on social media:
When is it going to stop? I ask the question once again. I am entitled to a quick hearing. Acting this way is contrary to my rights.
The former world No.1 Halep hasn’t competed since testing positive for roxadustat at the 2022 US Open. The situation went from bad to worse when she got charged with an additional anti-doping breach a few days ago, related to irregularities found in her Athlete Biological Passport (ABP).
Tennis legend Chris Evert believes that Halep wouldn’t take the route of taking prohibited substances: “It’s very hard for me to believe Simona would intentionally use performance-enhancing substances.”
Patrick Mouratoglou, Halep’s coach, retweeted Halep’s statement of extreme shock and disappointment with the latest delay and commented that the ITIA had played a “double game” from “day one”. When Halep received the second doping violation, Mouratoglou voiced his discontent with “the situation going way past the limits of the acceptable.”
Darren Cahill, Halep’s former coach of six years, is also absolutely by her side: “My belief and support of Simona is unwavering.”
Whether or not Halep is innocent, it doesn’t work in her favor that roxadustat is a highly potent doping agent. Tennis journalist Ben Rothenberg offers valuable insight: “It’s worth putting in context that these are the most severe doping charges any #1 tennis player has faced. Leagues more serious than Sharapova.” Moreover, he points to Halep’s frequent statements on social media as defense or PR strategy.
What is your opinion?
In the past, Halep was very vocal about being against doping. Is it possible that some people in power have the interest to put her on the sidelines? Or is she just trying to do damage control by presenting herself as a victim? Vote in the poll and tell us more in the comments below this article.