Former world number one Simona Halep has been banned for four years by an independent court for violations of the tennis anti-doping program. This was announced by the International Tennis Integrity Agency (Itia). The Romanian, who had previously been provisionally suspended, was charged with two different violations.
The two-time Grand Slam tournament winner gave a positive sample while taking part in the US Open in August 2022. The banned substance roxadustat, which was included in the World Anti-Doping Agency's 2022 banned list, was found on her. A second charge related to irregularities in her biological athlete passport.
Halep maintains her innocence
Itia said that a negotiation took place in London on June 28th and 29th, at which, among other things, scientific experts from both sides were heard. On September 11, the court ruled that 31-year-old Halep had intentionally violated the anti-doping program.
Halep had always protested her innocence in both cases and explained the positive doping sample by saying that she had been a victim of contamination. The court accepted this argument, but at the same time found that the amount the player allegedly took could not have led to the roxadustat concentration found in the doping sample, Itia said.
Halep does not want to accept the ban. “My fight continues,” she wrote on her Instagram account and posted a lengthy document in her defense. She was "shocked and disappointed" by the decision, which she will probably take action against by going to the International Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).