Former Grand Slam champion suspended


Simona Halep, who has already walked away with the laurels at Roland-Garros and Wimbledon, has been banned for four years for using banned substances.

According to the international tennis integrity governing body (ITIA), the 31-year-old Romanian player tested positive for Roxadustat – a drug that boosts an athlete’s red blood cells and ultimate endurance – at the US Open last year.

Halep strongly denies that she knowingly took the drug and claims that contaminated supplements are the reason for the positive test.

“The past year has been the hardest match of my life and I will have to keep fighting,” the two-time Grand Slam champion said in a statement shortly after the finding was announced.

She added that she continues to train and do everything in her power to not only restore her name in honor, but also to make a speedy return to the track.

“I have dedicated my life to tennis and I take the sport’s rules and regulations very seriously. At the same time, I am proud of the fact that I have never knowingly used any banned substance. I refuse to accept the four-year suspension.”

According to Halep, she also has an apple to peel with the supplement manufacturer.

“None of the listed ingredients contained any banned substances. However, we now know that it was contaminated with Roxadustat. I am going to appeal the finding, while also considering legal action against the supplement company in question.”

In 2018, Halep beat Sloane Stephens in the final of the French Open, while a year later she settled with Serena Williams on the grass courts of Wimbledon.

She was also in the news last year after she had a panic attack in her French Open defeat against Zheng Qinwen.

The Romanian player then won the first set 6-2, but then began to struggle with her breathing and the help of a doctor was called in.

According to Halep, she put herself under too much pressure because she wanted to do well in the tournament.

“I didn’t know how to deal with it because it never actually happens. At the same time, I am unsure of the reason for the panic attack – I was ahead then. I played well, but after that I couldn’t concentrate at all.”

Zheng eventually won the match 2-6, 6-2 and 6-1 and it was a bitter pill for Halep to swallow.

“It was hard for me to deal with, but things are getting better now. I have recovered and will learn from this.”