Simona Halep is “arrested preventively”, says tennis pundit


Romanian tennis pundit Cristian Tudor Popescu sees ITIA’s decision to postpone Simona Halep’s court hearing regarding her suspension as being the equivalent of a preventive arrest.

“Simona Halep, arrested preventively as far as possible. Simona Halep declares that she learned that on May 28, at the request of the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA), her hearing by an independent tribunal will be postponed – for the third time. I don’t believe in Western conspiracy theories against Romanians and Romania – I’ve never heard of Russian conspiracy theories. But if it will be like that on May 28, then it’s no longer about Roxadustat, doping, suspension, it’s not even about tennis or the player Simona Halep,” Popescu wrote on Facebook. “We will be facing a flagrant violation of a human right, of a citizen of a European Union country – the right to justice. Simona Halep has been denied access to the Act of Justice for months. It’s as if she is under preventive arrest, indefinitely, without a court order, at the gate of the professional tennis courts. Practically, ITIA replaces the legal court, subjecting Simona Halep to the execution of the sentence by eternalizing the provisional suspension. In this situation, I think the intervention of the Romanian government is required. Which must defend the rights of its citizens abroad, addressing the international institutions of Justice – the European Court of Human Rights, for example. I see no other explanation for such behavior of the ITIA towards Simona Halep than the intention of this body, with the complicity of the so-called “independent” tribunal, to make a title of glory out of punishing a big name in world tennis at any cost.”

Simona Halep’s latest statement

Simona Halep is blaming the International Tennis Integrity Agency for blocking her from addressing an independent tribunal. Here is a very short timeline of her fight with the ITIA so far:

October 2022: ITIA suspends Halep after the Romanian tested positive for the drug Roxadustat;
May 2023: ITIA hits Halep with a second anti-doping charge over “irregularities” in her athlete biological passport.

Now, Halep has a planned hearing in front of an independent tribunal on the 28th of May, but she suspects that the hearing will be postponed again, for the third time overall. “I am once again extremely shocked and disappointed by the ITIA’s attitude. While the ITIA via their representative Nicole Sapstead was publicly stating 3 days ago that the ITIA has remained committed to engaging Mrs Halep in an empathetic, efficient and timely manner’, they were at the same time officially requesting the Tribunal to delay my hearing for the third time. 

The ITIA publicly states one thing while privately doing another, I have repeatedly asked for my hearing and the ITIA has repeatedly sought to delay it. When is it going to stop? I ask the question once again. I am entitled to a quick hearing.

Acting this way is contrary to my rights,” Halep said in a new statement.

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