Simona Halep banned 4 years for anti-doping violations

League: Tennis

Posted on: 12 Sep, 2023 at 07:00 PM

Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports

An independent tribunal suspended former World No. 1 Simona Halep four years for two violations of anti-doping rules, the International Tennis Integrity Agency said Tuesday.

The two-time Grand Slam winner from Romania has not played since the 2022 U.S. Open, when she lost in the first round as the No. 7 seed to Ukrainian qualifier Daria Snigur.

Last October, she was provisionally suspended by the ITIA after a positive test for the banned substance roxadustat at the 2021 U.S. Open. In May, the ITIA filed a second charge against her after the organization said it found discrepancies in her biological passport, which reveals the effects of doping.

Halep, from Romania, has denied all charges.

"It is of the utmost importance for players to be aware of the Tennis Anti-Doping Program rules and to follow them," the WTA said in a prepared statement. "The WTA will support the decisions reached through the process and will continue to follow this closely."

Halep has the right to appeal the ruling and said she plans to do so. If the suspension is not overturned or reduced, she is prohibited from playing pro tennis until Oct. 6, 2026.

"The last year has been the hardest match of my life, and unfortunately my fight continues," Halep posted to social media Tuesday. "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 that I have never knowingly or intentionally used any prohibited substance. I refused to accept their decision of a four-year ban."

Halep has acknowledged adjusting her nutritional supplements in the summer of 2022 on the advice of her "trusted team and physiotherapist" and said one of the supplements contained roxadustat, which wasn't listed as an ingredient. She said subsequent tests came back negative.

"I am continuing to train and do everything in my power to clear my name of these false allegations and return to the court," she said. "I intend to appeal this decision to The Court of Arbitration for Sport and pursue all legal remedies against the supplement company in question."

Halep reached No. 1 on Oct. 9, 2017. She has 24 career singles titles, including wins at the French Open in 2018 and Wimbledon in 2019. Her career earnings total $40.2 million.

--Field Level Media