Patrick Mouratoglou ‘accepts blame’ for Simona Halep drug ban in shock statement

Simona Halep and Patrick Mouratoglou chatting
Simona Halep and Patrick Mouratoglou at practice

Simona Halep is set to appeal her four-year ban from competition for breaking anti-doping rules and now there has been a big twist in this long-running story.

The 2019 Wimbledon singles champion was suspended by an International Tennis Integrity Agency tribunal in September, having been provisionally suspended in October 2022 after returning a positive test for the banned substance Roxadustat.

The tribunal ruled that the 32-year-old Romanian had committed intentional anti-doping run violations with reference to two charges, but she has now lodged an appeal with CAS for that finding to be overturned.

If the ban is upheld it means she will not be free to compete again until October 2026, by which time she will be 35 years old.

In a statement issued at the time of the ban, Halep said she had “never knowingly or intentionally used any prohibited substance.”

CAS has not given a timeframe for the appeal to be considered but noted that she would be free to appeal the court’s decision via the Swiss Federal Tribunal if it is unfavourable.

READ MORE: Simona Halep officially lodges appeal with Court of Arbitration for Sport

Now Halep’s coach Patrick Mouratoglou has made a shock revelation, after confirming the origins of the illegal substance that was found in the body of the Romanian player.

Mouratoglou, who was a long-time coach of tennis icon Serena Williams, confirmed his team were part of the decision making process to give Halep collagen, which helps make your bones denser, slowing the ageing process that makes them brittle and helping your body to produce new bone.

The ITIA report that led to Halep’s ban confirmed that physiotherapist Candice Gohier, who joined Halep’s team in April 2022, was the person who recommended the collagen supplement.

Now Mouratoglou has made a statement on the incident and admitted his team have taken responsibility for giving Halep collagen that was contaminated with a banned substance.

“I feel responsible for what happened because it’s my team, so me basically me, who brought her this collagen,” said Mouratoglou in an Instagram post.

“It opened my eyes to the fact that any athlete can become contaminated tomorrow because apparently, this happens more and more.

“This is terrible because you are completely innocent, your reputation is impacted, hurt by the fact that your name has to do with doping even though you didn’t do any doping.

“Your career is stopped for a period of time that is extremely long. It can affect your whole career, it affects your reputation for a very unfair reason because you have done nothing.

“So it opened by eyes that it can happen to anyone, and the companies that you decide to go with for supplements, you have to be sure at 100% that this cannot happen.”

“I feel confident for the future of Simona with her appeal to the CAS, because it’s an independent tribunal,” he said.

“We have done all possible tests to be able to establish that we are talking about a contamination. I’m very confident that this independent tribunal will recognize the fact that she never did doping.

“She is a victim and she has to come back to the court and be able to compete as soon as possible.”