Romanian tennis player Simona Halep has been provisionally suspended for doping under Article 7.12.1 of the 2022 Tennis Anti-Doping Programme (TADP).
The announcement was made Friday by the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA).
In August, Halep gave a sample (split into A and B samples) while at the US Open. The analysis found that the A sample contained FG-4592 (Roxadustat), which is listed in the 2022 World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List.
Roxadustat is an anti-anaemia drug that stimulates the production of red blood cells in the body.
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“The player exercised their right to request that the B sample was analysed, which confirmed the finding in the A sample. While provisionally suspended, the player is ineligible to compete in or attend any sanctioned tennis events organised by the governing bodies of the sport,” the body said in a statement.
Just after the provisional suspension news was made public, Halep issued a statement.
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“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, which came as the biggest shock of my life,” the statement shared on Twitter read.
She defended herself, saying: “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 is the highest-profile tennis player to fail a drug test since Maria Sharapova in 2016.
“It’s not about titles or the money,” Halep said concluding the statement. “It’s about honour, and the love story I have developed with the game of tennis over the last 25 years.”