Halep Appoints New Coach After Return From Suspension

Halep Appoints New Coach After Return From Suspension

by Nurein Ahmed

Simona Halep made her comeback from a doping suspension at this week's Miami Open but without a full-time coach in her box.

That situation will change as soon as the Romanian star returns to Europe to play on clay. Before she was provisionally suspended by the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) after the 2022 US Open, Halep was working with renowned French coach Patrick Mouratoglou.

But the pair cut ties once Halep was slapped with a hefty sanction of a four-year doping suspension last September, with Mouratoglou bearing the brunt of recommending the former World no. 1 a contaminated supplement.

Halep successfully challenged the initial ban, which, in retrospect, would have ended her career. The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled that the 32-year-old did not intentionally consume the blood doping agent Roxadustat.

The four-year ban was reduced to nine months and backdated to begin in late 2022. Having stayed out of the game for the entire 2023, waiting for a verdict, and then lodging an appeal, Halep was cleared to resume her career this month.

Miami Open tournament director James Blake wasted no time in granting the two-time Grand Slam champion a wild card. She played a superb match against Paula Badosa, but she lost in three sets.

After the defeat, Halep admitted that being on the court was a victory in itself. She also spoke to Romanian sports television, Digi Sport, and revealed that she has contacted Spain's Carlos Martinez to be her new coach.

"I spoke with Carlos Martinez, I will have a period of preparation, of getting to know each other, so to speak, after Miami, when I will return to Europe. I hope it goes well, I appreciate him very much, he worked with players who -I really liked them, like Svetlana Kuznetsova, and I admire her work very, very much."

Halep in an exclusive interview with Digi Sports (translated)

"I hope we get along and I hope I'm able to work at the level he wants and do good work together."


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