Halep vows to ‘fight for the truth’ after doping suspension

Former world number one Simona Halep suspended after testing positive for banned substance roxadustat at US Open.

Simona Halep
In a social media post, Halep wrote 'throughout my whole career, the idea of cheating never even crossed my mind once' [File: Matthew Childs/Reuters]

Former women’s world number one tennis player Simona Halep says she will “fight for the truth” after she was provisionally suspended for doping.

The Romanian tennis star, who has won two Grand Slam titles, was provisionally suspended after she tested positive for the banned blood booster roxadustat, the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) said on Friday.

Halep was tested during the US Open, where both her A and B samples were found with the presence of roxadustat, an anti-anaemia drug that stimulates the production of red blood cells much like the prohibited substance erythropoietin (EPO).

The 2019 Wimbledon champion described the ban as the “biggest shock of her life” and denied knowingly taking any banned substance.

“Today begins the hardest match of my life: a fight for the truth. I have been notified that I have tested positive for a substance called Roxadustat in an extremely low quantity,” she wrote on Twitter.

“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.”

Halep added that her fight was not about “titles or money” but her honour and she hoped that the truth would eventually come out.

In September, Halep announced that she was taking the rest of this season off after having nose surgery to improve her breathing. She considered retiring early this year after a series of injuries, but then said she felt rejuvenated after teaming up in April with coach Patrick Mouratoglou.

The suspension means that she cannot compete in or attend any sanctioned events organised by the governing bodies of tennis.

Another former world number one, Maria Sharapova, failed a drugs test at the 2016 Australian Open, saying a change in the World Anti-Doping Agency banned list led to the violation. She was initially banned for two years before it was reduced to 15 months.

Source: News Agencies