In 2018 Simona Halep won the French Open in Paris, a year later she triumphed in Wimbledon. At the Australian Open she reached the final and at least the semi-finals in Flushing Meadows. Now the former number 1 in the tennis world has been provisionally suspended after a positive doping test.
The International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) announced the suspension on Friday. The Romanian, who is currently ninth in the WTA rankings, gave a positive sample while attending the US Open in August 2022, according to the organization.
The 31-year-old herself was shocked by the allegations: “Today the toughest match of my life begins: a fight for the truth,” Halep wrote on the Internet on Instagram and Twitter. “I was informed that I had tested positive for a substance called roxadustat at an extremely low level, which was the biggest shock of my life.”
Roxadustat is used in patients with chronic kidney failure and anemia. The drug promotes the formation of hemoglobin and erythrocytes and is also known as the “Epo pill” in connection with doping.
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 betrayed and irritated at the same time.” She will fight to the end to prove that she never knowingly used a banned substance. She is now “not about titles or money. It’s about honor and the love for tennis that I’ve 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 (WADA) 2022 banned list. Halep had exercised her right to have the B sample analyzed. However, this confirmed the result of the A sample, explained the ITIA.
The Romanian recently announced she will be sidelined for the remainder of this season after undergoing nose surgery to improve her breathing. The two-time Grand Slam winner, who won the French Open in 2018 and Wimbledon in 2019, is one of the most successful players in recent years.