Simona Halep believes her career will be over if the Court of Arbitration for Sport rules against her, while awaiting a ruling on her appeal of a four-year doping suspension.
The two-time grand slam champion is no longer working with coach Patrick Mouratoglou’s academy, saying she hasn’t spoken to the Frenchman in months.
“Four years is going to be a lot for my age,” Halep, a 32-year-old from Romania who has been No.1 in the WTA rankings, said in an interview with euronews posted online Friday.
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“It’s catastrophic if it’s going to be four years,” she said.
“And I don’t know how I will handle it. Probably it’s going to be (the) end of (my) career, yes.”
Simona Halep and coach Patrick Mouratoglou ahead of the 2022 US Open Credit: Corbis via Getty Images
A three-day hearing with the Court of Arbitration for Sport is scheduled for February 7-9 in her appeal against the International Tennis Integrity Agency, which ruled Halep “committed intentional anti-doping rule violations.”
Halep tested positive for the drug Roxadustat at the 2022 US Open and also was cited for irregularities in her biological passport.
Roxadustat stimulates the body to produce more of the natural hormone erythropoietin, or EPO, which has long been a doping product favoured by cyclists and distance runners.
Halep said in Friday’s interview she hasn’t spoken to Mouratoglou since “a few months ago.”
In a video Mouratoglou posted on Instagram in November, he took blame for providing a tainted substance to Halep.
“We brought her collagen from a company. This collagen happened to be contaminated,” Mouratoglou said.
“There was no way to know it. But I feel responsible for what happened because it’s my team – so me, basically – who brought her this collagen.”
Halep won the French Open in 2018 by beating Sloane Stephens in the final, and Wimbledon in 2019 by defeating Serena Williams in the final.
She spoke with euronews in Paris and said she hopes she wins her appeal and will be eligible to compete in next year’s Summer Olympics in that city.
“I know I didn’t do anything wrong and I know I’m clean,” Halep said.
Mouratoglou had a hugely successful stint as Serena Williams’ coach for a decade between 2012 and 2022.
The master coach has also worked with top-10 stars Stefanos Tsitsipas, Holger Rune and Grigor Dimitrov.
– With 7NEWS.com.au