Simona Halep's appeal of her four-year doping ban is set to be heard at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) beginning on Wednesday, February 7th.
Halpe was infamously found guilty of "illicit blood manipulation" following random in-competition testing at the 2022 US Open. Her urine sample contained the blood doping agent Roxadustat, which is prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
The Romanian tennis star was also deemed to have violated a second section of the Tennis Anti-Doping Program related to inconsistencies on her athlete's biological passport. After a year-long wait for a verdict, the ITIA'a sanction was very severe.
Halep was banned for a period of four years, meaning she would not be able to play, coach, or attend any professional tennis tournament authorized by a member of the ITIA. The length of her suspension left her crestfallen because she would be 35 by the time it ended.
However, the 32-year-old immediately lodged an appeal at the CAS last year, and her defense will now be listened to starting Wednesday. Halep's hearing will last three days and will take place in Lausanne, Switzerland, where the CAS is located.
"The parties, witnesses and experts will attend the hearing both in person and remotely, including Ms Halep who will be present in person."
Halep remains adamant that she is innocent, and her ex-coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, has taken responsibility for recommending the collagen that Halep ingested. It was later revealed that the collagen was contaminated.
The two-time Grand Slam champion has received public support from many tennis fans and players, including former No. 1 Chris Evert, who is convinced that Halep is innocent.
Halep is confident of at least shortening the suspension period and has been actively training while she is ineligible to compete. Even if the ban is upheld, the Romanian has stated that she will not retire from tennis.