Simona Halep provisionally suspended after testing positive for banned substance
It’s a long way from the French Open semi-final against Elina Svitolina, and from any grand slam victory at the hands of either of Novak Djokovic or Stan Wawrinka.
Not even a second-place finish last week in Kitzbühel could console the disappointment of losing her match against Ana Ivanovic in one of the most memorable finals of the year.
She has still not found her best form since then, either mentally or physically.
But with victory already clinched against the Serbian, now she must confront another emotional barrier.
A few hours after the Kitzbühel final, she was found to have a banned substance in her blood.
“I’m not a perfect person,” Simona says. “I have my flaws. And every week I try to work and do everything right to make sure I improve on those flaws.
“But when I look that one person is ahead of the rest and he is playing very well and I will lose tomorrow, I get a bit too angry. I don’t even know how to talk to my friends and family about it.”
It was only a half an hour until she and her coach, Ana Sanchez, were boarding a plane home. But before she left, she met the man responsible for the banned substance.
“It’s crazy to think that I became so close to a person who is still in prison,” she says. “I had never met him until that day at the police station. I’m still not sure how he got there. He had been released a long time ago. He told us he was innocent. He told us he had been treated well.
“We wanted to thank him and help him, because he had become a friend, a real good friend. He was also a good person. After he left the police station, we had a message from him saying he was sorry.”
She has been to see him twice since. She has not spoken to him directly for