Simona Halep had hoped to be on the court at this time of the year however new allegations against the former number one make her return very uncertain.
Halep was provisionally banned from tennis last year after one of her US Open samples yielded a positive test for a banned substance. Halep provided another sample but that too turned up positive for the same substance which caused the automatic suspension.
Since then Halep has been on a mission to prove her innocence and a hearing was scheduled to take place in May of this year. Unfortunately, it didn't take place as a second allegation became public knowledge, one that is a result of irregularities found in her biological passport.
She quickly released a statement calling the whole thing harassment with her coach Patrick Mouratoglou slamming the ITIA as well. The whole situation escalated with another delay to her hearing making her return this year highly unlikely.
"We first obviously heard about this last year at the Us Open with the failed drug test on her. She failed the test on Roxadustat, in fact, which produces additional blood cells. It's like EPO, basically. It's very serious."
"She has been provisionally banned, but both of her hearings in February and March have been postponed, which she has been very unhappy about. And the next hearing, the third, was now supposed to be in May. It has again been postponed in June. The reason for that is because a new allegation has just come out."
"That's the second and even more serious one in fact that her biological passport, which athletes have, have come back as irregular, what that means is that it's looked at your blood samples over a certain amount of time. And they've been irregular, which means that there's been something going on for a while. She has always said that this is a case of contamination."
Dokic further explained that these are the most serious allegation we've seen against a former number one player who has enjoyed a superb reputation for all of her career. Beloved by fans, a proven champion whose legacy could be completely tarnished if this doesn't end favourably for her.
"It's very, very serious. And this is the biggest allegation or the biggest case we've had for a former world number one, so this is massive. Look, I know Simona. Everybody in the tennis world that does know her, we know what an incredible fighter she is, competitor she's always fought for being in a clean sport."
"The reputation and name to her is massive more than titles, more than Grand Slams. So it's very hard, I think for all of us to believe this. So I really do hope she gets this opportunity that we see this go to trial and hearing very very soon because you want this cleared up you want to see what's happened and this is not even about her career anymore this is her reputation and her name."