Simona Halep has been banned from tennis for four years after committing two breaches of Tennis’s Anti-Doping Programme.
What happened – Simona Halep banned
The French Open 2018 and Wimbledon 2019 champion tested positive for the banned substance roxadustat at the 2022 US Open.
In a statement, the ITIA said that Halep, a former world No. 1, had committed two breaches of the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme (TADP).
The breaches were “the presence and use of roxadustat as evidenced in Halep’s urine sample collected on 29 August 2022 at the US Open” and “use of a prohibited substance or method during 2022, based on collection and analysis of 51 blood samples provided by the player as part of the ABP (Athlete Biological Passport) programme.”
ITIA announced the suspension on Tuesday, which can be read:
“The tribunal accepted Halep’s argument that they had taken a contaminated supplement but determined the volume the player ingested could not have resulted in the concentration of roxadustat found in the positive sample.
“The ABP charge was also upheld, with the tribunal stating that they had no reason to doubt the unanimous “strong opinion” reached by each of the three independent Athlete Passport Management Unit (APMU) experts that “likely doping” was the explanation for the irregularities in Halep’s profile.”
The former Wimbledon champion said that she would appeal the decision and released a statement on X:
“Today, a tribunal under the tennis anti-doping program announced a tentative decision in my case. The last year has been the hardest match of my life, and unfortunately my fight continues.
“I have devoted my life to the beautiful game of tennis. I take the rules that govern our sport very seriously and take pride in the fact I have never knowingly or intentionally used any prohibited substance. I refused to accept their decision of a four-year ban.”
Details of the breach
According to ITIA, the breaches were “the presence and use of roxadustat as evidenced in Halep’s urine sample collected on 29 August 2022 at the US Open” and “use of a prohibited substance or method during 2022, based on collection and analysis of 51 blood samples provided by the player as part of the ABP (Athlete Biological Passport) programme.”
Karen Moorhouse, Chief Executive Officer at the ITIA, said: “After a complex and rigorous hearing process, we welcome the independent tribunal’s decision.
“The volume of evidence for the tribunal to consider in both the roxadustat and ABP proceedings was substantial.
“The ITIA has followed the proper processes as we would with any other individual – in accordance with the World Anti-Doping Code – fulfilling our purpose and responsibility to uphold the principle of fair competition, on behalf of the sport. The panel recognised that appropriate procedure had been followed within the written decision.
“We do understand the significant public interest in these cases and remain committed to being as transparent as possible and the full decision will be published in due course.”