Simona Halep, former world tennis number one, authorized to return to the courts after reduction of sanction for doping

Former world tennis number one and two-time Grand Slam winner Simona Halep has been cleared to return to sport after her doping ban was reduced from four years to nine months, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) announced. on Tuesday.

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Judge Annabelle Bennett, chair of the CAS arbitration panel, along with two other judges, determined that Halep "established, on a balance of probabilities, that roxadustat entered her body through consumption of a contaminated supplement," leading to the reduction of his sanction.

Roxadustat is a substance banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and can increase an athlete's red blood cell count and improve athletic performance.

Halep, 32, had been suspended by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) in September 2023 after testing positive for this substance during the 2022 US Open.

In a statement, the CAS stated that Halep's anti-doping rule violations were "not intentional." The Romanian tennis player said she was relieved by her decision and expressed her desire to return to the professional circuit.

"Throughout this long and difficult process, I have maintained my belief that the truth would eventually come to light, and that a fair decision would be reached, because I am and always have been a clean athlete," Halep said in a statement obtained by CNN.

"My faith in the process was tested by the scandalous accusations that were made against me, and by the seemingly limitless resources that were aligned against me. But in the end, the truth prevailed, even if it took much longer than I expected. I would have liked."

Halep, who has been off the court since her suspension, is now cleared to immediately return to professional tennis. However, the exact time of her return has not been specified.

The Romanian athlete, who has won two Grand Slam titles in her career, has highlighted her desire to play in the Olympic Games in Paris, a city that she considers a dream. Despite the obstacles faced, Halep is determined to resume her career in professional tennis.

The case of Simona Halep has been one of the most prominent in the world of tennis in recent years and her return to the courts will be closely followed by the sports community and fans of this sport around the world.