Simona Halep: The former number one in the world has been provisionally suspended for the crime of doping

Simona Halep beat Serena Williams to win Wimbledon in 2019

Two-time Grand Slam champion Simona Halep has been temporarily suspended from tennis after testing positive for a banned substance.

The former world number one tested positive for roxadustat at the US Open in August.

Roxadustat is an anti-anemia drug that stimulates the production of red blood cells in the body.

Romania’s Halep, currently ranked ninth in the world, said the positive result was “the biggest shock of her life”.

“Today begins the hardest game of my life: the fight for truth,” the 31-year-old wrote. Twitterexternal link.

“Throughout my career, the idea of ​​cheating never once crossed my mind, as it goes against all the values ​​I was brought up with.

“In front of such an unfair situation, I feel completely confused and betrayed.”

Halep, who won the French Open in 2018 and Wimbledon the following year, said she tested positive for roxadustat in a “very low amount”, adding that she would “fight until the end”.

She is the first top tennis player to fail a drug test since Maria Sharapova in 2016.

“It’s not about titles or money,” Halep said. “It’s an honor, and about the love story I’ve developed with the game of tennis over the last 25 years.”

In September, Halep announced that she had undergone nasal surgery to improve breathing and was ending her 2022 season early.

This year she has won two titles on the WTA Tour, and her best Grand Slam result was at Wimbledon, where she reached the semifinals.

The International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) said Halep had exercised her right to analyze her B sample, which confirmed the finding of roxadustat. The drug is used in the treatment of patients with kidney problems.

In a statement, it said: “While temporarily suspended, the player cannot attend or participate in tennis events organized by the sport’s governing bodies.”