Former world number 1 Simona Halep has been temporarily suspended from tennis after testing positive for a banned substance at this year’s US Open.
According to the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA), Halep tested positive for Roxadustat, which is a banned substance on the 2022 World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List.
The two-time Grand Slam champion has denied having taken the particular banned substance.
“Today begins the hardest game of my life: the fight for the truth,” said the 31-year-old. a statement on social networks Friday.
“I have been informed that I have tested positive for a substance called Roxadustat in a very low amount, which has been the biggest shock of my life.
“Throughout my career, the idea of cheating never even crossed my mind, because it goes completely against all the values I was brought up with. Faced with this unfair situation, I feel completely confused and betrayed.
“I will fight to the end to prove that I have never taken any particular banned substance and I believe that sooner or later, the truth will come out.”
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Halep was informed of the breach on October 7 and exercised her right to request the analysis of the B sample, which confirmed what was found in the A sample.
According to the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), Roxadustat belongs to a class of drugs called HIF stabilizing agents.
“Athletes can use these products to increase their red blood cell count, which is a highly effective doping technique that increases oxygen to working muscles to increase endurance performance,” USADA said on its website.
A Romanian tennis player will not be eligible to participate or participate in tennis events organized by the sport’s governing bodies.
“It’s not about titles or money. It’s about honor, and about the love story I’ve developed over the last 25 years with the game of tennis,” he added.
Halep almost retired in 2021, but said she fell in love with tennis this year.
She was knocked out of the first round of this year’s US Open in August, losing in three sets to world number 124 Daria Snigur.
Halep won her first grand slam at the French Open in 2018 and her second at Wimbledon in 2019.