'Definitely Not An Intentional Mistake': Halep Defends Ex-Coach In Doping Ban Saga

'Definitely Not An Intentional Mistake': Halep Defends Ex-Coach In Doping Ban Saga

by Nurein Ahmed

Simona Halep recently defended former coach Patrick Mouratoglou in light of her doping suspension in 2023.

Halep was infamously banned from competing by the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) for up to four years following a year-long wait for a verdict into her positive test of Roxadustat, a blood opening agent that is prohibited in professional sports, at the 2022 US Open.

The news came as a major shock not just to Halep and her fans but also to Mouratoglou, who was at the helm when investigations began almost two years ago.

The Frenchman was only able to bear the brunt of that verdict after establishing that a collagen powder he recommended to Halep was contaminated with the banned substance.

Halep did not take kindly to Mouratoglou's guilty confession, stating their trust was broken. The former World No. 1 did not play for the whole of 2023 and lodged an appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), for which she successfully reduced the length of the ban.

The CAS decision, which occurred in the first quarter of 2024, enabled Halep to rejoin the WTA Tour, an outcome that Mouratoglou had been confident would happen.

Halep has since shielded his now ex-coach from blame when she spoke to Jon Wertheim in an interview with US Sports Magazine Tennis. She believes Mouratoglou had no ill intention while at the same time claiming that she was never compelled to take any illegal substances.

"Definitely was not an intentional mistake or how should I say? That he wanted to make something wrong to me. No. And I heard many voices [say] that I was manipulated by him. That’s not true. He was my coach and I always trusted the people I work with."

"So I really believe that if you don't trust in your team, you cannot perform at your maximum level. So I trusted, I work with his academy with his people and everything was fine."

Since her return, Halep has played one tour-level match, losing to Paula Badosa in Miami. She retired during her most recent tournament at the 125K level in Trophee Clarins because of a knee injury.


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