Romania’s Simona Halep, former world number one, has been provisionally suspended for doping, the Tennis Integrity Agency announced on Friday. Currently ranked ninth in the world, Halep (31) tested positive for Roxadustat, an anti-anaemic that promotes the natural production of erythropoietin (EPO) and stimulates the production of hemoglobin, during the US Open last August. , specifies the Agency.
Notified in writing of a violation of the World Anti-Doping Code on October 7, the two-time Grand Slam winner (Roland-Garros 2018, Wimbledon 2019) requested the analysis of the B sample, which confirmed the first results. She was therefore provisionally suspended, in accordance with the rules of the tennis anti-doping program.
She denies doping
Halep, who won the WTA 1000 in Toronto in August, was eliminated in the first round of the US Open by a player from qualifying, the Ukrainian Daria Snigur (124th in the world). She ended her season more than a month ago after undergoing nose surgery to treat breathing problems.
Upon the announcement of her provisional suspension, which prohibits her from taking part or attending any official competition, she immediately denied having doped.
“Today begins the toughest match of my life: a fight for the truth, she wrote in a message posted on her Twitter account. I was notified of a positive test for a substance called Roxadustat, in extremely small quantities, an unprecedented shock for me. »
“I will fight until the end to prove that I never knowingly took a prohibited substance”
“Throughout my career, the very idea of cheating never even crossed my mind because it is totally against the values that have been transmitted to me. Faced with such an unfair situation, I feel lost and betrayed. I will fight until the end to prove that I never knowingly took a prohibited substance and I am convinced that sooner or later the truth will come out”she adds.
“It’s not a question of titles or money. It’s a question of honor, and of the love story that I have developed with tennis over the past twenty-five years. »