Romanian billionaire Ion Tiriac is not expecting positive news from the outcome of Simona Halep's appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Two-time Grand Slam champion Halep received a staggering four-year suspension for breach of Tennis' Anti-Doping Programme in mid-September after a long-running saga regarding her positive test of the prohibited Roxadustat substance and irregularities in her athlete's biological passport.
Halep, clearly shaken and upset, promised to prove her innocence. She has since lodged her appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in late September.
But according to Tiriac, who has served as President of the Romanian Tennis Federation, and one of Halep's staunchest supporters, is doubtful if she'll be successful.
The 84-year-old was critical of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (also known as TAS - Tribunal Arbitral du Sport) for "manipulating" samples and has given an account of such a mishap in which it broke the rules. In light of such a previous occurrence, Tiriac is pessimistic about Halep's chances of overturning the ban.
"I don’t know what Simona is doing, now she goes to TAS. But does the world know what TAS is? In 2000, Andrea Răducan’s sample was manipulated, they sent 62 ml and returned 100 ml. What does TAS do? Break all the rules."
"So what world are we living in? Well, after a year someone comes and says that he dug and found something else, the biological passport. Well, you checked it 380 times in 10 years and you didn’t find. And then it’s a job that isn’t clean somewhere."
"Now Simona is going to TAS, with what hopes, I don’t know. I understand she went with some lawyers from Los Angeles. I don’t know them, but I wish them all the best from the bottom of my heart."
A few months ago, Tiriac spoke in an interview with AS, where he stated that someone must be culpable in this whole ordeal, having "finished" Halep's career. If the ban is upheld, Halep won't be able to play competitively until October 2026, when she'll be 35.