Former number one tennis player Simona Halep has been provisionally suspended after testing positive for doping.
The International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) announced the suspension. The Romanian, who is currently ranked ninth in the WTA rankings, gave a positive sample during her participation in the US Open in August 2022, according to the organisation’s statement.
The 31-year-old herself reacted shocked to the accusations: “Today the hardest match of my life begins: a fight for the truth,” Halep wrote on Instagram and Twitter. “I was informed that I tested positive for a substance called Roxadustat in an extremely small amount, which was the biggest shock of my life. “
“Never knowingly taken a banned substance “
In her entire career, “it never once crossed my mind to cheat because it goes against all the values I was taught. In this unfair situation, I feel cheated and irritated at the same time,” it continues. She will fight to the end to prove that she never knowingly took a banned substance. It is now “not about titles or money. It’s about honour and the love for tennis that I have developed over the past 25 years,” Halep continued.
According to the ITIA, the A sample contained a substance that is on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) 2022 Prohibited List. Halep had exercised her right to have the B sample analysed. However, this confirmed the result of the A sample, the ITIA explained.
The Romanian had only recently announced that she would take a break for the rest of this season after undergoing a nose operation to improve her breathing. The two-time Grand Slam winner, who won the 2018 French Open and 2019 Wimbledon, is one of the most successful players in recent years.