Waiting game continues for Simona Halep as doping hearing pushed back again

Simona Halep reacts during a match

Simona Halep remains in the dark about whether or not she will be allowed to return to competitive tennis in the near future as the hearing into her positive doping result has once again been postponed.

Former world No 1 Halep was provisionally suspended by the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) in October last year after she tested positive for the anti-anaemia drug Roxadustat during the US Open a few months earlier.

Roxadustat increases the production of red blood cells, helping endurance, and is classified in the same category of banned substances as EPO.

The two-time Grand Slam winner immediately protested her innocence and vowed to clear her name, saying she will “fight for the truth”.

Halep also received the backing from her current coach Patrick Mouratoglou as well as her former mentor Darren Cahill with both confident that she would cleared of any wrongdoing.

In December she received a positive update from a Romanian judge serving with the Court of Arbitration for Sport as Cristian Jura revealed that Roxadustat entered Halep’s body when she “ingested a contaminated food supplement”, but warned that “the athlete must also prove the lack of guilt and negligence”.

However, it has been a slow going since then, but her father Stere Halep this week provided an update as he revealed the case will be heard by the Sports Resolutions tribunal at the end of April.

“We still don’t know anything. We’re waiting just like you are. We don’t know what’s happening,” he told Romania publication Gazeta Sporturilor.

“The deadline was initially set for the 28th, but from what we understand, it was postponed to 30th.

“We are doing okay. When you’re innocent, you fight tooth and nail.”

Another one of Halep’s former coaches, Firicel Tomai, also gave an update recently as he claimed the trial has been hit by several delays.

“The trial was supposed to take place twice so far, but it was postponed for various reasons,” he said. “Physical samples, the drugs or the can were sent, and as far as I know they were refused, a laboratory examination was requested.”

Halep has not played competitive tennis since she lost in the first round of the US Open in August as she underwent nasal surgery shortly after her defeat. The Romanian was ninth in the WTA Rankings when she was suspended in October, but has slipped to No 26.

READ MORE: Simona Halep gets more vocal backing as suspension continues