Former world No. 1 and two-time Grand Slam champion Simona Halep has been provisionally suspended from tennis after failing a doping test.
The International Tennis Integrity Agency announced on Friday that Halep tested positive for Roxadustat at the US Open.
Roxadustat is an anti-anaemia drug that can increase the production of red blood cells and therefore help with endurance.
‘’Simona Halep, a 31-year-old Romanian tennis player, has been provisionally suspended under Article 7.12.1 of the 2022 Tennis Anti-Doping Programme (TADP),’’ the ITIA announced.
Following the announcement, Halep took to social media to protest her innocence. The 31-year-old stated that she never ‘knowingly’ consumed any prohibited substances and promised to ‘fight for the truth’.
‘’Today begins the hardest match of my life: a fight for the truth,’’ Halep wrote.
‘’I have been notified that I have tested positive for a substance called Roxadustat in an extremely low quantity, which came as the biggest shock of my life.
“Throughout my whole career, the idea of cheating never even crossed my mind once, as it is totally against all the values I have been educated with.
“Facing such an unfair situation, I feel completely confused and betrayed. I will fight until the end to prove that I never knowingly took any prohibited substance and I have faith that, sooner or later, the truth will come out.
“It’s not about the titles or money. It’s about honour, and the love story I have developed with the game of tennis over the last 25 years.’’
Halep, currently ranked ninth in the world, is the highest-profile tennis player to fail a drugs test since Maria Sharapova in 2016.
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