Published On: Thu, Jul 4th, 2024
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Wimbledon star in tears as she opens up on losing all her savings after heartbreaking loss | Tennis | Sport

Tara Moore was left in tears after crashing out of Wimbledon and losing the chance to try and pay off her legal bills after having her doping ban overturned. A former top 100 doubles player, Moore’s life was turned upside down when she tested positive for nandrolone metabolites and Boldenone in Columbia in 2022.

In December, an independent panel cleared her of any wrongdoing, ruling that contaminated meat was the likely source of the banned substances and that she bore no fault or negligence.

The 31-year-old now owes £200,000 in legal costs after draining her savings to fight her case. She received a Wimbledon doubles wildcard alongside Sarah Beth Grey but only lifting the title would’ve been enough to clear her debts.

The International Tennis Integrity Agency has appealed the decision and Moore is waiting to learn more about the next steps. In the meantime, she has been left in £200k debt after shelling out for her legal costs. And her early exit from Wimbledon won’t help her financial situation despite the excitement to be back at her home Grand Slam tournament.

“It’s been sort of mixed emotions, honestly,” the former doubles No. 77 said after her loss to third seeds Ellen Perez and Nicole Melichar-Martinez. “I think there’s a lot of times where I’m completely elated and happy that I’m back and then there’s other times where, even now I’m getting emotional about it but it’s difficult, it’s very difficult. You know, it’s difficult because I think it means so much to me so I think that coming back and being here is always special,” she added as she began to cry.

Moore has been crowdfunding through a GoFundMe page and will also take home £7,875 for her first-round doubles loss. Asked about the costs of her legal fight to clear her name, Moore joked: “Don’t make me cry more!” But she admitted that, while her crowdfunding efforts made her feel supported, the £9,000 raised barely touched the sides.

“I think that every little helps. It’s something that, it doesn’t touch the weight of it because it’s over £200,000. It’s something that will always be hanging over my head for a very long time,” she said of the bill. “I think a lot of the times, people see the aspect of this has come out, you’re guilty, and it’s very much like you’re very guilty until you’re proven innocent so you have to stand there and you’re like, Okay, I know I’m innocent, I know this is something I haven’t done. How do I move forward from here? So it’s something that has been just awful.”

As Moore attempts to rebuild her career with an ITIA appeal looming, she has let go of trying to pay off her costs with prize money. “The amount of prize money that you earn is so insignificant compared to what I owe to lawyers so I think that over time it’s something that I can’t look at. I have to look at what’s best for my career and how I can best navigate coming back and playing my best tennis,” the Brit explained.

Moore took up work as a tennis coach at amateur level in America with her ban leaving her unable to attend any professionally sanctioned event. And she gave up “a lot of things” to try and pay her legal team. She continued: “I worked very, very, very hard. I worked sometimes 10 hours a day on court. It’s difficult. Again, it’s something that you don’t expect.

“And it’s something that I had savings, I spent all of my savings. Because obviously I was already 30 so I was thinking, Okay, how much longer can I played tennis? I need to be wise with my investments, I need to be wise with my money and so I saved a little bit of money and it was just gone straight away. I think that for me, looking forward it’s finding ways to be able to keep playing because it’s not for sure, it’s not for certain.”

It’s not just the financial burden that has weighed heavy on the 31-year-old – she was also left in a dark place after losing her identity. “Obviously the last two years I’ve gone through just an influx of emotions. Sometimes I’m upset. I was incredibly depressed for a very long time,” Moore confessed.

“I think as a tennis player you start at a very young age that you are a tennis player and it’s very much your identity so I think that when that’s taken away from you, especially when it’s not on your terms, it really takes away part of your identity. So trying to figure out who I am as a person outside of tennis, it’s been a very long road.”

While Moore believes she can’t comment on any potential changes that can be made to the anti-doping system, whether it be allowing players to compete while provisionally suspended or having a system in place to cover their legal bills if they are cleared, her 19-month suspension has left a huge impact on her life.

The nine-time ITF winner previously kept track of everything she ate but she has been forced to become even more attentive “I am just incredibly cautious with everything. Even more so than before, I was already a very cautious person before and you just never think that food is going to really do that to you. Incredibly cautious. [It’s] completely changed me,” she said. “You don’t think that you’re going to eat meat and then test positive for a doping test. I think that these doping tests are so incredibly sensitive that you have to be so careful.”

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