"The only court where you're judged guilty until you prove your innocence" - Martina Navratilova gives Simona Halep 'benefit of doubt' amid doping ban

Martina Navratilova has given Simona Halep the benefit of the doubt after she was handed a four-year doping ban.
Martina Navratilova has given Simona Halep the benefit of the doubt after she was handed a four-year doping ban.

Former World No. 1 Martina Navratilova has come out in Simona Halep's defense after the Romanian was recently banned for doping.

Earlier this month, the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) handed Halep a four-year ban from tennis for breaching the sport's anti-doping program. She had tested positive for Roxadustat (a banned substance) at the US Open last year and has since been on a provisional suspension.

The ITIA recently announced that an individual tribunal set up to investigate Halep decided in favor of banning her from participating in any tennis activities for four years.

While several players and coaches, both current and former, have since given their opinions on the issue, 18-time Grand Slam champion Navratilova took to social media to give Halep the benefit of the doubt.

"I always wanted to give benefit of the doubt to the athlete. The drug thing stinks as it is the only court where you are judged guilty until you can prove your innocence. As an athlete- even if legal- with the side effects from this drug I can’t see anyone wanting to to," she said in a post on X.

"There is no proof, it’s just insane" - Simona Halep defends herself following her four-year doping ban

Simona Halep is a two-time Grand Slam champion.
Simona Halep is a two-time Grand Slam champion.

Responding to the four-year ban from tennis, Simona Halep stated her innocence and insisted that the decision was made without proof.

"When I received the decision, I was in complete shock. I could not believe that they suspended me for four years when we found the contamination and my blood was totally normal. They didn’t find anything bad in my blood. It’s crazy that they made this decision with everything [her legal team presented]. They judged me on scenarios. There is no proof. It’s just insane," she told Front Office Sports.

The two-time Grand Slam champion further said that she has been mentally affected by the outcome as she has always been careful with everything she consumes.

"Mentally, it’s been a disaster for me because I wasn’t expecting something like this. I’ve always been careful with what I put in my body, and I have never taken something without checking. So, it is a shock,” she expressed.
"Tennis is tough to focus on. I need to stay healthy. It’s emotional [being on the tennis court]. When you are drained emotionally, you can get hurt physically. I am trying to protect myself, so I will keep going to the gym to stay in shape," she added.

Halep's attorney Howard Jacobs has stated that they will approach the Court of Arbitration for Sport to appeal the doping ban.

Quick Links

Edited by Samya Majumdar
App download animated image Get the free App now