June 20, 2024

Simona Halep said it was a "disaster" for a tennis player to be banned from tournaments (Image: Getty)

Simona Halep has reflected on her Miami Open comeback after having her doping ban reduced.
Simona Halep has opened up on one of the most difficult parts of her doping ban. The former world No. 1 recently appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and had her suspension reduced from four years to nine months. She immediately returned to action in Miami. But Halep claimed that it wasn’t just her time away from competition that took a toll as she shared another “disaster” consequence of her ban.

Just a few weeks after CAS slashed Halep’s ban, she made her comeback at the Miami Open as a wildcard. It’s no surprise that the two-time Grand Slam champion wanted to jump straight back into competition, with her last match coming in August 2022.

Although she lost in the first round, it was still a win for the 32-year-old to be back on the court. But there was another element of her trip to Miami that was just as special, as another consequence of Halep’s suspension meant that she couldn’t attend any official events.

Following her 1-6 6-4 6-3 defeat to Paula Badosa, the Romanian told WTA Insider that her absence from all events was one of the toughest parts of her ban. Reflecting on the moment that she heard the CAS panel’s decision, Halep said: “I was talking to my lawyers and I was just smiling.

Simona halep
Simona Halep was happy to be back at a tournament following her suspension (Image: Getty)

“I told them, ‘Guys, the decision is correct.’ I was so happy. I had tears after I finished the call with them. I was just happy that the truth came out and the decision was fair. So, 18 months of stress were finished, and I was now able to go play tennis.”

On top of competing again, Halep was just happy to be immersed in the sport. She continued: “Because the most difficult thing was that I was not able to go to watch a tennis match. This was a disaster for a tennis player. Because I was suspended, I could not even watch a tennis match [at a tournament]. So it was difficult.”

The former world No. 1 isn’t sure what the rest of her comeback will look like right now, though she is hoping to get back on the clay and compete as much as possible. For now, Halep is just enjoying what it means to be back on the tour after 18 months.

“I just want to enjoy the joy that I have. It’s been incredible this week. Even if I lost first round, it doesn’t matter. It’s not about tennis these days. It’s about my personal feelings, how I feel as a human being, and I feel great,” she explained.

“So I want to keep this feeling, and I want it to help me in future tournaments because I know I’m very excited now, but there are going to be moments when I will be like, ‘Why am I here?’ So it’s going to be difficult, in a way, but I want to make it easier by enjoying playing tennis.”

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