'Halep Is Innocent, Period': WTA Legend Evert Backs Halep Ahead Of 2024 Doping Ban Appeal

'Halep Is Innocent, Period': WTA Legend Evert Backs Halep Ahead Of 2024 Doping Ban Appeal

by Nurein Ahmed

Simona Halep's doping saga has been one of the major talking points in 2023, and it is set to dominate the tennis pages once again in the early part of next year.

The Romanian has received the backing of former WTA No. 1 Chris Evert, who was recently diagnosed with a recurrence of ovarian cancer and has announced her leave of absence from next month's Australian Open coverage on ESPN to focus on treatment.

But Evert didn't stop to show her allegiance and public support for Halep, who was banned from playing professional tennis for up to four years for doping. Halep's year-long verdict was determined in September when an independent tribunal concluded there was "illicit blood manipulation."

"Simona Halep appeal set for February. I, for one, believe she’s innocent. Yes, she had roxadustat in her system, but she handed her whole life over to her coach and his team, who controlled her career, nutrition, management. I think she’s innocent. Period."

Evert wrote on X in support of Halep's pending appeal

Following confirmation by Halep that her appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport will take place in February 2024, Evert took to X (formerly Twitter) to reiterate that the Romanian star was "innocent" and was not culpable for something that she had no control of.

Halep thanked Evert, writing on Instagram, "Thank you, Chrissie, your words mean a lot to me," and topping off the message with three love emojis.

Halep was found to have breached the Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV) for ingesting an oral medicine called Roxadustat, which is prohibited by WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) because it is considered a blood doping agent because it increases hemoglobin and production of red blood cells.

Her second count of breaching the ADRV was related to inconsistencies in her athlete's biological passport. As she looks to clear her name of any wrongdoing, Halep has ripped into her now former coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, who confessed to guilt in the ordeal, by admitting that their "trust is broken."


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