Simona Halep’s former coach says ‘no chance’ the two-time grand slam champion knowingly took banned substance
A former coach has called for the Australian Open finalist to be banned from tennis for life after she admitted to taking the performance-enhancing drug meldonium.
Simona Halep was forced to surrender her career at the end of 2014 after a seven-year ban for her failed drugs test at the start of this year.
Her former coach believes that ban should be upheld despite her admission to taking the substance.
Simona Halep, right, is accused of knowingly taking the illegal substance meldonium on the eve of her Australian Open final defeat to Dominika Cibulkova, left. Photo: Getty
The 23-year-old Italian-born Italian, who was given a seven-year ban by the ITF for failing a drugs test in February, has now admitted taking the drug on the eve of her loss to Dominika Cibulkova, but says the ban is not enough.
She was given a two-year ban for using meldonium and was also put on a four-year cycle of rehabilitation.
The second-seeded Italian said: “I did dope in the days before my final and I am not proud of it. I never wanted to be famous or have any consequences for it. It’s not about myself, it’s about my family.
“I told the ITF that I would never do it again, and that was when I really started to work with my coach. I am not a drug addict, but I am a victim of it.
“My coach is the best person I had. I think I really learned something about myself. Not all parents can teach their children about life.
“He showed me that drugs are bad because they destroy your life. Your life is ruined before you even start. I never wanted to do this.
“The ITF said if I was clean they would give me another two years. I know I’m innocent and that I didn’t want to do it. I want another chance.
“I want to return to the tour and I want to come back as a champion. But my career is over