Simona Halep staring at two-year tennis ban for doping

Romanian tennis star and former world No.1 Simona Halep has been banned from tennis temporarily
She tested positive for Roxadustat
She now faces a two-year ban

Romanian tennis star and former world No.1 Simona Halep has been temporarily banned from tennis after testing positive for banned substances.

A sample was taken during the 2022 US Open, and she tested positive for Roxadustat, International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) says. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List for 2022 lists includes Roxadustat as a prohibited substance.

The two-time Grand Slam champion has denied intentionally using the drug. In a statement on her social media accounts, the 31-year-old player said this is hard on her.

She said that the ITIA pronouncement marks another part of her career: fighting for the truth.  Halep said she took the news of her testing positive for banned substances with a lot of shock.

“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,” she stated.

Simona Halep. Photo by theScore.com

She adds that she has never thought of cheating in her entire tennis career because it goes against her values. Her provisional ban from playing tennis has now left her confused.

“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.”

On October 7, Halep was informed of the infraction. She then exercised her right to request that the B sample be evaluated, which supported the A sample’s discovery.

The HIF-stabilizing agents drug class, to which Roxadustat belongs to, was coined by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

According to USADA, in order to boost the amount of oxygen delivered to working muscles and improve endurance performance, athletes utilise these products to raise their red blood cell count.

The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), in a statement said ITIA administers the Tennis Anti-Doping Program (TADP), which offers a detailed procedure. According to the 2022 TADP, Simona is subject to an obligatory provisional suspension.

WTA expressed optimism that the proper result will be achieved through the meticulous procedures ahead. While in suspension, the Romanian tennis player will not be permitted to participate in or watch any tennis tournaments put on by the organisations that control the sport.

On the other hand, Simona notes that playing tennis has nothing to do with money and prizes but pure love for the game. Halep revealed she had fallen back in love with tennis this year after nearly retiring in 2021.

In August, she was eliminated from the first round of the 2022 US Open after falling to then-world No. 124 in three sets to Daria Snigur. She won the 2018 French Open and Wimbledon in 2019.

Simona Halep ban from playing tennis – although provisional – comes weeks after undergoing nose surgery. She had rhinoplasty surgery to improve her airflow, saying she didn’t like the way she looked.

In an Instagram post, the former world No. 1 said that her first-round loss to unseeded Daria Snigur at the US Open would be her last match of 2022.

Simona Halep. Photo/Unshared News

She explained that her defeat in this year’s US Open was a sign of mental exhaustion. She also grew tired of her breathing problems which she had battled for years.

The loss opened a window for surgery, and she took it up on advice from her doctors.

“When I lost at the US Open, I realized that I am completely exhausted mentally. Having problems with my breathing for many years already and becoming worse with time, I decided to follow the advice of my doctors and do the needed surgery,” read her post.

Tennis always came first in her life, so Halep never had the chance to give her body enough time to recover. She figured that 2022 was a good time to have the surgery and rest for her personal development.

That’s why she went ahead and got the cosmetic work done, something she says took a lot of time to decide. All along, she disliked how her nose looked.

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