Simona Halep added to the 2023 US Open entry list: Is the ex-world number 1 finally back?

The 2-time Grand Slam winner and ex-world number 1 Simona Halep last played on the Tour during the 2022 US Open. Banned since October last year the Romanian has been faced with multiple doping charges. No decisions have been made during all those months, hearings have been postponed numerous times, and Halep has grown more and more frustrated. Could this doping saga for one of the most talented female tennis players be coming to a happy ending after all? Simona Halep was just added to the 2023 US Open entry list. What does that mean? Do we know if she has been cleared of all charges?

Simona Halep
Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports/Sipa USA – Photo by Icon sport

What happened to Simona Halep to get “provisionally suspended” for doping?

Since October 2022 Simona Halep has been suspended from taking part in any WTA events. This is because Halep returned a positive test for roxadustat during the 2022 US Open. The Romanian immediately tried to clear her name and insisted that the substance has gotten into her body through a ‘contamination event’. However, her situation worsened further when in November 2022 she got charged with an additional anti-doping breach, related to irregularities found in her Athlete Biological Passport (ABP). Her case has been dragging since with the scheduled hearings postponed or cancelled on 5 separate occasions already, only for Halep to grow very impatient and angry with this entire process.

Simona Halep released an angry statement in May, clearly showing her feelings about this entire process:

“Not allowing me to participate into any tournament for 8 months. Now I know that I will have missed the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon. Not to mention that I will have lost all my points and my ranking. Not only they are killing my reputation, but also me as a professional player, and I don’t even talk about the consequences on my mental health.”

What is the status of Simona Halep’s doping case?

It seems after a few more months and another postponed hearing Simona Halep’s doping saga is finally changing for the better. In the last 24 hours, the 2023 US Open organisers added Simona Halep to the entire list for this year’s Grand Slam. Also, shortly before this happened Halper herself released online a video of her training hard on a tennis court.

All that said, neither the International Tennis Integrity Agency that is in charge of the case nor Simona Halep herself has yet made any public statements as to what the outcome of the behind-closed-doors hearing that took place in mid-July was. For the time being Simona Halep remains “provisionally suspended”, which means she can’t play on any WTA tournaments.

Could Simona Halep make her return at the 2023 US Open?

Halep US Open scaled
Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports/Sipa USA – Photo by Icon sport

It seems Simona Halep’s situation has changed for the better in the last few days and the ex-world number 1 could have all her doping charges dropped soon. Nothing is yet official and Halep remains provisionally suspended.

However, her name appearing on the entry list for the 2023 US Open + Halep herself posting videos of her training hard in a gym and practising on a hard court are all very positive signs that Halep’s many fans could see her back in action soon. A Halep US Open return will be an ideal ending to a year-long saga that Halep would want to forget as soon as possible.

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