Grand Slam winner backs Simona Halep in doping case

The Romanian was handed a four-year ban by the ITIA

By Web Desk
February 21, 2024
Simona Halep reached her highest No. 1 in the WTA ranking in 2017. — Reuters

Former US Open winner Andy Roddick expressed empathy for Simona Halep, noting that she has become "the face of a discussion" surrounding her current suspension from tennis.

Halep has been absent from the sport since testing positive for a prohibited substance at the 2022 US Open. The International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) handed her a four-year ban, but she has appealed this decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in hopes of a lesser punishment.

Roddick, alongside his co-host and former World No. 1 Kim Clijsters, shared their thoughts on the matter, criticising Halep's coach at the time, Patrick Mouratoglou.

"We're talking about Mouratoglou, where she basically flipped her whole team and he was kind of in control, brought in his people, but it stinks because she's going to end up being potentially the poster child of a conversation," he said on his podcast 'Served With Andy Roddick'.

Both Roddick and Clijsters agreed that Mouratoglou played a significant role in the events leading to the ban, with Roddick likening the Frenchman's self-promotion to that of popular artist Diddy (formerly known as 'Puff Daddy').

"It's like, well, you know, this guy who comes in is great at self-promotion. His website, I went on it the other day and it's like 18 different photo shoots. It's like a pre-packaged situation. I say it's like Puff Daddy, who used to like, jump into every music video in the 90s. Now, that's like him and player boxes," he added.

Mouratoglou has acknowledged his responsibility for Halep's suspension but remains optimistic that it will be overturned. The timing of the verdict on Halep's return remains uncertain.

Remember, if Halep’s ban is not overturned by CAS, Halep will return to the court in 2026, by that time she will be 35.

She reached her highest No. 1 in the WTA ranking in 2017. Halep won the Wimbledon title in 2019 by beating the 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams in the final, a year after clinching the French Open.