Smiling and surrounded by her lawyers, the 32-year-old player entered the Palais Beaulieu, seat of the court, where her closed-door hearing opened at 9:30 a.m. and will be held until Friday 3:30 p.m., noted a photographer and a AFP videographer. She made no comment.
Sanctioned last year by the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) due to two separate infractions of anti-doping regulations, she announced in September her intention to “clear her name” to return to the courts.
His career has been on hold since October 7, 2022, the date of the start of his provisional suspension after a test carried out at the US Open 2022, positive for a banned product, roxadustat, a molecule which stimulates the production of red blood cells and which is classified as an EPO in the regulations of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
The former world number one was then caught up in the spring of 2023 by a second affair, this time “irregularities” in the data of her biological passport, a long-term monitoring tool for high-level athletes.
These two offenses were upheld by the independent tribunal which met at the end of June 2023 in London. If the ITIA “admitted the argument of taking a contaminated food supplement put forward by Halep”, it “determined that the concentration of roxadustat found in the positive sample could not result from the quantity ingested by the player », The anti-doping authority then explained.
As for Halep's biological passport, the court "has no reason to doubt the solid unanimous opinion of the three independent experts that probable doping was the explanation for the irregularities", "based on the analysis of 51 samples blood of the player,” indicated the ITIA.
Halep, the first leading tennis player caught in the anti-doping net since the suspension of Maria Sharapova in 2016, has however continued to proclaim her innocence, and again assured last September that she had “never taken any product intentionally prohibited.” The CAS sentence will be rendered on an as yet unknown date, usually a few weeks to a few months after the hearing.