Nastase on Serena doping: “If the truth came to light, all big tournaments would disappear, all sponsors would leave.”

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Wilson Blade 9

Ahead of Simona Halep’s recent three-day hearing at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland, former Romanian world No.1 tennis player Ilie Nastase bluntly pointed to preferential treatment of American athletes. Nastase specifically alleged that Serena Williams likely engaged in doping practices but the truth was never allowed to come to light because it would’ve had a major negative economic impact on the sport.

Ilie Nastase

The 32-year-old Halep is currently anticipating the decision from the Court of Arbitration for Sport regarding her appeal against a four-year doping ban resulting from the discovery of the prohibited substance roxadustat in her urine sample during the 2022 US Open. The Romanian WTA player asserts that her consumption was unintentional, attributing it to a contaminated supplement.

Halep’s former coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, has accepted responsibility for providing her with the said supplement: “We brought her collagen from a company. This collagen happened to be contaminated. There was no way to know it. But I feel responsible for what happened because it’s my team — so me, basically — who brought her this collagen.”

As Mouratoglou worked with Serena Williams for a decade between 2012 and 2022, Nastase’s remarks suggest suspicions regarding the broader implications of the coach’s practices, hinting that other athletes, including the American 23-time Grand Slam champion, might have been exposed to similar supplements under his guidance:

I think they (e.d., Mouratoglou’s staff) included Serena Williams and others. If he gave it to Simona, he certainly gave it to the other players he worked with. I think so, I don’t think Simona Halep is the first to receive this from Mouratoglou.

Simona Halep

Nastase insinuates that Halep’s situation raises concerns about potential discrimination, asserting that American athletes, such as Serena, may receive preferential treatment due to the financial ramifications of doping scandals:

Don’t you see what she looks like? No one controls the Americans when it comes to doping. If the truth came to light, all big tournaments would disappear, all sponsors would leave. You can’t even imagine.

In addition to Nastase’s remarks, the Russian Embassy in South Africa made similar accusations two weeks ago. In a now-deleted social media post, the embassy shockingly referred to Serena Williams and gymnast Simone Biles as dopers, drawing a sarcastic comparison to Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva, who received a four-year suspension after testing positive for a banned substance. (source: Tennis World USA)

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