While Simona Halep is still waiting for a verdict on her failed doping test appeal, her name has appeared in the entry list for the 2023 US Open, although the entry indicates that the Romanian is provisionally suspended.
I’ve been provisionally suspended for 8 months even though I’ve sent all the evidence regarding my contamination to the ITF last December. I don’t ask for any special treatment, but to be able to get judged by the Tribunal. I feel it is unfair. How long is it going to last? Simona Halep
The former World No 1 has not played a match since last year’s US Open, where she suffered a shock 1st-round defeat at the hands of Ukraine’s Daria Snigur.
Ranked No 6, Halep had entered as one of the Flushing Meadows title contenders, having won the Canadian Open two weeks earlier.
Shortly after leaving New York, the Romanian announced that she would be ending her season early to undergo nose surgery to aid her breathing, and then, in October, the news broke that she was provisionally suspended for failing an anti-doping test taken at the US Open.
According to several reports, Halep’s appeal still has not been heard, as proceedings were delayed for a third time by the ITIA.
From the outset, Halep has denied any intentional doping violations, and immediately appealed.
“I’ve been provisionally suspended for 8 months even though I’ve sent all the evidence regarding my contamination to the ITF last December,” Halep said recently. “I don’t ask for any special treatment, but to be able to get judged by the Tribunal. I feel it is unfair. How long is it going to last?”
Many players, including Chris Evert, Ash Barty and compatriot Sorana Cirstea, as well as her coach Patrick Mouratoglou and former mentor Darren Cahill, have all spoken out in support of her.
Halep has been training in the gym and has also reportedly been hitting with Caroline Wozniacki.
Her ranking has dropped to No 55, but she will lose all her points after the Canadian Open in Montreal when her last points will fall off, and she will have to gather new points from ITF tournaments or through wild-cards, just as Wozniacki plans to do when the Dane returns to the WTA Tour in August.
“Once again, tonight, I am devastated.The ITF (ITIA) has once again, for the third time postponed my hearing one month later!” Halep posted at the end of June. “I am waiting to be judged since last October.
“In December, I have finally been able, thanks to experts, to show that the lot of the supplement I was using had been contaminated, which caused the positive control.I have asked, as the rules of the anti-doping state it, for a quick hearing: this is my right, it is written in the rules!
“Unfortunately, the ITF (ITIA) has postponed my hearing three times. Denying me the right to be judged by an Independent Tribunal.- Not allowing me to participate into any tournament for 8 months. Now I know that I will have missed the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon.
“Not to mention that I will have lost all my points and my ranking. Not only they are killing my reputation, but also me as a professional player, and I don’t even talk about the consequences on my mental health.This disrespect of the rules by the ITF (ITIA) regarding the fast hearing I am entitled to have, is so disrespectful to me that I have no more words,” Halep said in a statement.
However she enters the US Open, either as a wild-card or via a special ranking, Halep would become a dangerous floater in the women’s draw as she would not be seeded.
Halep’s participation, however, depends entirely on whether the appeal is heard and a decision can be made ahead of the start of the US Open and, until that happens, the suspension remains in effect.
One of the most prominent and consistent players of the last decade, Halep won Roland Garros in 2018 and Wimbledon in 2019, while she also reached 3 Grand Slam finals, 2 in Paris and 1 in Melbourne, has 24 singles titles to her name, and finished both 2017 and 2018 as the World No 1.
The Romanian also lies 3rd on the WTA’s Career Prize Money Leaders listing, behind only Serena Williams and Venus Williams.