Twice Grand Slam champion Simona Halep has been banned until October 2026 for two separate anti-doping rule violations, the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) said.
The 31-year-old Romanian former Wimbledon and French Open champion has been provisionally suspended since October 2022 after testing positive for banned blood-booster roxadustat at the US Open last year.
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“The first [charge] related to an Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) for the prohibited substance roxadustat at the US Open in 2022, carried out through regular urine testing during competition,” the ITIA said in a statement on Tuesday.
Halep has strongly denied knowingly taking the banned substance and said she had evidence to show that small amounts of the anaemia drug entered her system from a licensed supplement that was contaminated.
“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 second charge related to irregularities in Halep’s Athlete Biological Passport (ABP),” the ITIA added.
It said the ABP charge was also upheld as three independent experts were unanimous that “likely doping” was the explanation for the irregularities in Halep’s profile.
The case remains subject to appeal.
Halep reached number one in the WTA rankings in 2017. She won Wimbledon in 2019, beating 23-time major champion Serena Williams in the final, a year after winning the French Open.