Simona Halep has been cleared to return to tennis immediately with the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruling that her four-year ban should be reduced to just nine months. Halep has already served that nine months as part of a provisional suspension, meaning the former world No. 1 and two-time Grand Slam champion can return to tennis with immediate effect and resume her career.

“The CAS Panel has unanimously determined that the four-year period of ineligibility imposed by the ITF Independent Tribunal is to be reduced to a period of ineligibility of nine 9) months starting on 7 October 2022, which period expired on 6 July 2023,” the CAS announced in its official statement.

Halep tested positive for roxadustat – an anti-anaemia drug which stimulates the production of red blood cells in the body – at the US Open in August 2022.

An investigation by the ITIA concluded the contamination was likely to have come from a collagen supplement called Keto MCT.

In a ruling announced on Tuesday, Cas said: “Having carefully considered all the evidence put before it, the panel determined that Ms Halep had established, on the balance of probabilities, that the roxadustat entered her body through the consumption of a contaminated supplement which she had used in the days shortly before 29 August 2022.

“The roxadustat, as detected in her sample, came from that contaminated product.

Halep was the highest-profile tennis player since Maria Sharapova to fail a drugs test, having won the French Open in 2018 and Wimbledon the following year as well as being ranked world number one, and will now look to rebuild her career.

The 2019 Wimbledon winner was later faced with a separate charge with irregularities in her Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) and had not played since October 2022.

“The nightmare that I have lived for a year and a half is finished,” Halep wrote in a statement following the appeals process in February. “I had the chance to present my defense … to show that I never did any kind of doping. This is what I have said from the first day I was accused.”

In the past few weeks, she has posted videos of on-court training sessions and now it looks likely one of the biggest names on the WTA Tour is set to compete again at the highest level.

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