Halep’s former coach: She’s been through 18 months of torture

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Halep’s former coach: She’s been through 18 months of torture

Darren Cahill, the coach who steered Simona Halep to Grand Slam glory, says she would never knowingly take a banned substance and claims the former world No 1 has been through “18 months of torture”.

The Romanian two-time Grand Slam champion had her four-year doping ban cut to nine months by the top court for global sport last week, making her eligible to return to competition immediately.

Halep posted a video on Tuesday of her practicing on the courts of the upcoming Miami Open in what will be her first competitive appearance since winning an appeal over a doping suspension after receiving a wild card from tournament organisers.

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The 32-year-old Halep, a former Wimbledon and French Open champion, was suspended in October 2022 after she tested positive for roxadustat – a banned drug that stimulates the production of red blood cells – at the US Open that year.

She was also charged with another doping offence last year due to irregularities in her athlete biological passport (ABP), a method designed to monitor different blood parameters over time to reveal potential doping.

Halep, who vigorously denied the charges against her, said that she would most likely have been compelled to retire if the initial four-year ban was maintained.

Cahill, who recently guided Italian Jannik Sinner to his maiden Grand Slam at the Australian Open told Sky Sports Tennis: “For me it was the highlight of the year and I’ve had a really good year so far with everything that Jannik has done.

“To me it’s been 18 months of torture. I’ve always believed in her. I’ve always believed she would never deliberately or knowingly take anything that was wrong or banned.

“That came through when they went to CAS [The Court of Arbitration for Sport] and the truth came out so I know she’s been through a tough moment and a tough period of 18 months and I’m super proud of the way she’s handled herself and the way that she’s carried herself throughout this entire time.

“I could not be happier to see her playing in Miami. I can’t wait to see her next week.”

The Miami Open runs March 17-31.

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