In October of 2022, former WTA world number one Simona Halep tested positive to a banned substance and was provisionally suspended from all WTA events. She faces a hearing in February and bans of up to four years if found guilty by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
The substance, Roxadustat, is a new anti-anemia drug that allows the body to naturally produce more EPO. The result is more oxygen to the muscles to reduce fatigue and increase the level of endurance of an athlete, a significant advantage in Tennis.
After the positive test, Halep’s former coach Darren Cahill was quick to post a statement to Instagram claiming there was no chance that the Tennis Star had knowingly taken the banned drug. He said the system will clear up any misunderstandings and there was nothing that could change his mind.
He credited her integrity and morals, as well as explaining her trust in the testing system. Cahill was strong in his belief that there was no possible way for Halep to have purposefully ingested the substance.
Cahill recently featured on The Big Deal podcast, hosted by Warren Tredrea and Dion Hayman, and offered further support to the two-time major winner. Cahill insists there’s no chance that Halep could have known what she was taking, and she’s not the person at fault.
“The fault does not lie with her, she’s not wrong in this,” Cahill said.
“Whether it be, a company made a mistake, or a medical person, or whether its been someone in the WTA or on her own team, someone who didn’t do their due diligence.
“Whatever it may be, I hope somebody puts their hand up and takes responsibility and puts their hand up. Because the one thing I do know, is that Simona is not at fault here.”Embed from Getty Images
Cahill doubled down on his original statement, maintaining he’ll believe Halep throughout the entire process. After working with Halep for six years, he believes he’s seen the best and worst of her and knows that illegal substances are well outside of her personal limits.
Despite his full support of Halep, Cahill still believes in the anti-doping program but hopes to see a streamlined process put in development to put an end to the purgatory that athletes experience between hearings.
“I did release a statement when this came out a couple of months ago about Simona, and I’ll be buried standing by that statement because of her integrity and her DNA,” Cahill said.
“There’s no chance she would ever, ever cheat. She’s just a great woman and a great person. There’s no way she would ever do the wrong thing, I’ve got my fingers crossed for her.
“I do hope WADA puts this blanket statement out that every athlete is responsible for what goes in their system- and that’s true. Simona will pay the penalty for that, but hopefully it won’t be for too much longer.”
Halep is expected to present for a hearing in February, where she’ll be given more clarity as to the process of her future.
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