London | Moore exonerated of doping but has lost 19 months off tour

Britain’s Tara Moore has been absent from the women’s tour for 19 months through no fault of her own its has transpired, having been suspended in May 2022 for testing positive for the anabolic steroid boldenone.

19 months. 19 months of lost time. 19 months of my reputation, my ranking, my livelihood, slowly trickling away. 19 months of emotional distress. 19 months and my team and I are finally given the answer we knew from the very start. It's going to take more than 19 months to rebuild, repair and recuperate from what we've been through, but we will come back stronger than ever. Tara Moore

Moore last played on tour at the 2021 Grand Prix Sar La Princesse Lalla Meryem in Morocco, where she bowed out in the 2nd-round of qualifying for the WTA 250 tournament.

The Brit attained her highest ranking of World No 145 in singles in 2017 and World No 77 in doubles in 2022, while she had secured 9 ITF titles and also reached the 2nd-round at Wimbledon.

She and Chilean player Barbara Gatica were cleared last week by the ITIA who stated they ‘bore no fault or negligence for their adverse analytical findings and are therefore not subject to a period of ineligibility’.

The 31-year old has maintained her innocence throughout, and took her case to the independent tribunal, which led to the ITIA revealing that further investigation had determined that Moore had eaten contaminated meat that had contained the banned substance.

“19 months. 19 months of lost time. 19 months of my reputation, my ranking, my livelihood, slowly trickling away. 19 months of emotional distress,” Moore posted on X, formerly Twitter. “19 months and my team and I are finally given the answer we knew from the very start.

“It’s going to take more than 19 months to rebuild, repair and recuperate from what we’ve been through, but we will come back stronger than ever. Thank you to everyone for the messages and support and I hope to see you on the tennis court in 2024!”

Judy Murray has spoken out about the emotional and financial stress caused to Tara Moore in clearing her name.

© Ian MacNicol/Getty Images for LTA

Both Judy Murray and Darren Cahill have joined Billie Jean King and others in criticising the time it has taken to resolve Moore’s false doping charges.

“So happy to see Tara Moore cleared by an independent panel after testing positive for anabolic steroids boldenone + nandrolone during WTA Bogotá in April last year,” Murray said. “Panel agreed she had consumed contaminated meat + her provisional suspension has been lifted after 19 months.

“Tara had just broken into the top 100 and become the British #1 doubles player. 19 months is a long time to lose at any stage of a player’s career, and you can’t put a price on the emotional + financial stress involved in clearing your name.”

Cahill, the former coach of Simona Halep, who is also currently under suspension since October 2022, and who is now working with World No 4 Jannik Sinner, also emphasised the detrimental impact of the time Moore has had to spend away from the tour on her career.

“This timeline is so bad,” Cahill said. “It’ll take Tara 18-24 months to recover her rankings if everything goes perfectly.

“Tennis is a unique sport where we are wiped out & back to zero after 12 months. The @WTA should reinstate her rankings or at the very least provide provisional rankings,” Cahill added.

Moore’s independent hearing was convened remotely by Sport Resolutions on 14 and 15 December 2023, following which the tribunal determined that contaminated meat consumed by each player in the days before the tests was the source of the prohibited substances found in the players’ samples.

Billie Jean King voiced her support for Moore after the provisional suspension for doping was lifted, and called for the Brit’s ranking to be reinstated, including her World No 77 ranking in doubles when she was the highest-ranked female doubles player from Britain.

King also stated there should be a process to compensate Tara Moore for lost prize money during her unjust time away from tennis.

“Pleased to hear this news. @TaraMoore92 should have her ranking reinstated, and we need to address how to compensate her for lost prize money,” King tweeted on X.

Darren Cahill has criticised the authorities over the length of time it is taking to resolve doping accusations

© Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

This is a similar situation that former World No 1 Halep could face should she win her appeal hearing at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which is set for February to challenge her 4-year suspension for doping.

32-year-old was banned in September after testing positive at the 2022 US Open, which was later followed by alleged irregularities in her biological passport.

Halep claims contaminated nutritional supplements caused her positive test for Roxadustat, which is said to stimulate the body to produce more of the natural hormone erythropoietin, or EPO, which has long been a doping product favoured by endurance athletes.

She has recently cut ties with her coach Patrick Mouratoglou, who recently admitted that he felt responsible for the doping ban as he had recommended the supplements, and hoped that the sentence would be revoked, or, at the very least, reduced.

Halep felt the Frenchman should have spoken out sooner and had betrayed her trust.

The Romanian, who will be 35 when her ban is due to expire in October 2026, won the French Open in 2018 when she beat Sloane Stephens in the final, and captured the Wimbledon title a year later, beating Serena Williams.

Her former coach, Cahill, has come to the Romanian’s defence a number of times, and has called out tennis’ governing bodies for their unfair handling of her case.

“The details of this case will eventually come to light but regardless of the outcome, this process has been handled appallingly by the ITF & ITIA,” Cahill said a while back. “Zero care, or concern for the athlete, or her well-being, with this case dragging on for nearly 12-months and still no judgement or resolution.

“I respect our testing program and a fair process but this has been anything but fair. Simona deserves the right to get on with her career and/or her life. At the moment she can do neither. No player should ever have to go through a process of delays like this again.

“The WTA, the board and the player council need to do better to ensure the players have some protection and rights to a quicker resolution. At the moment, they have none.

“I understood they found the source of the contamination, not sure if it was in food or supplements, but they found out where it came from. There’s no chance she cheated.

“She’s a great person, no chance that she did the wrong thing. I wish her good luck,” Cahill added. “Firstly, and most importantly, there is NO chance Simona knowingly or purposely took any substance on the banned list. None. Zero.

“She is an athlete that stressed about anything prescribed to her by a medical professional (which was rarely), or about any supplement that she used or considered. Simona wore out the words ‘please double check this, triple check this to make sure it’s legal, safe and permitted. If you are not sure, I’m not taking it’,” Cahill wrote on Instagram.

If Halep is successful in her appeal and is able to return to the tour, she has deep enough pockets to take on the establishment over the handling of the whole affair and help to alter the process.

Billie Jean King believes a n innocent player should have their rankings reinstated and receive some sort of compensation for loss of earnings during an alleged doping suspension

© Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for WSF



Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Social Media Auto Publish Powered By :