Tennis player Halep pulls out of the Madrid Open

Simona Halep has dropped out of next week’s Madrid Open to work on her fitness. The Romanian said she needs more time to get ready to play at the top level after being out for more than 18 months.

Tennis player Halep pulls out of the Madrid Open

The former Wimbledon and French Open winner had her four-year doping ban cut to nine months by the world’s top sports court in March. She played in the Miami Open as a wildcard but lost to Paula Badosa in the first round.

“Unfortunately my body needs a little more time to be ready and I have made the tough decision not to play in Madrid,” she said on X.

“I wish I could be back on tour right away, but I know I shouldn’t rush. Thanks to my friends and @MutuaMadridOpen for giving me the wild card.

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The former world number one was banned in October 2022 after tested positive for roxadustat at the U.S. Open. Roxadustat is a drug that makes more red blood cells and is against the rules.

The 32-year-old woman was also charged with another crime last year because there were problems with her athlete biological passport. This is a way to keep an eye on different blood factors over time to find signs of doping.

But Halep, who denied doing anything wrong, was able to play again after the Court of Arbitration for Sport shortened her ban to nine months and believed her story that a contaminated supplement caused her failed drug test.

When Halep was banned, she was ranked in the top 10. Since then, her ranking has dropped to 1,146.

The WTA has started to look over its rules. Players who have been cleared of doping offences or have had their bans shortened may be able to return to the circuit with “special rankings” in the future, the group in charge of women’s tennis told Reuters last month.

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