Former World No. 1 Simona Halep has been provisionally suspended from tennis.
On Friday, the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) announced that Halep tested positive for Roxadustat at this year’s US Open. Roxadustat is a banned substance listed on the 2022 World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List.
Roxadustat can be used to increase the red blood cell count in athletes, which increases the ability for oxygen to be delivered to working muscles — which increases endurance performance.
The 31-year-old Halep issued a statement on social media denying that she knowingly took the substance.
— Simona Halep (@Simona_Halep) October 21, 2022
“Today begins the hardest match of my life: a fight for the truth,” the two-time Grand Slam champion said. “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. 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.
“I will fight until the end to prove that I have never knowingly took any prohibited substance and I have faith that sooner or later, the truth will come out. It’s not about the titles or the money. It’s about honor, and the love story I have developed with the game of tennis over the last 25 years.”
Halep will be ineligible to compete in or attend any tennis events while she is suspended.