Former world number one Simona Halep receives a heavy suspension for doping: “I am shocked and disappointed”

© REUTERS

Romanian tennis player Simona Halep has been banned for four years for doping violations. The International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) announced this on Tuesday.

Halep, 31, had already been provisionally suspended since October 2022. Her suspension takes effect retroactively from October 7, 2022 and applies until October 6, 2026. She can still appeal.

According to the ITIA, the Romanian committed two violations of the doping rules. On the one hand, she tested positive for a banned product during the 2022 US Open, and on the other hand, irregularities were found in her biological passport.

Halep won two Grand Slam tournaments, Roland Garros 2018 and Wimbledon 2019, and is a former world number 1.

The tennis star previously stated in her defense that her positive test during the US Open was due to contamination of one of her nutritional supplements. Traces of the banned substance roxadustat were found during the inspection. This drug stimulates the production of red blood cells and is often used to treat anemia in kidney diseases.

According to the tribunal, the amount of roxadustat found is too large to enter the player’s body solely through a nutritional supplement. Her explanation for the three missed checks was also dismissed. “51 blood tests were analyzed and irregularities were identified on this basis,” it said.

© AP

Halep heads to TAS

Halep is going to the international sports tribunal TAS to challenge her four-year ban. The Romanian tennis star said this on Tuesday in response to the verdict.

She is “shocked and disappointed” by the decision but does not accept it. She reiterates that she believes the positive doping test during the US Open is due to a contaminated nutritional supplement. She also does not accept the three infringements on her biological passport. “My fight continues,” she emphasizes. “I will continue to train and will do everything I can to clear my name and return to the court.”

© Simone Halep

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