Former world number one tennis star Simona Halep charged with second doping offence

Former world number one tennis star Simona Halep charged with second doping offence

Former world number one and Wimbledon champion Simona Halep has denied that she knowingly never consumed a prohibited substance.

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Saturday, May 20, 2023, 03:23 PM IST
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Simona Halep. | (Image Credits: Twitter)

Two-time Grand Slam winner Simona Halep has landed in hot waters after being charged with doping violation for the second time in her career. The former number one has issued a statement denying the allegations, saying she hasn't even thought of consuming a prohibited substance.

Halep has been under provincial suspension since October last year after testing positive for blood-boosting drug Roxadustat at the 2022 US Open. She criticized the delay in their case, but the International Tennis Integrity Agency, on Friday, charged the former Wimbledon champion with a separate breach of the tennis anti-doping programme after an independent examination of her athlete biological report.

The Romanian took to her official Twitter handle and issued a statement saying that she has gone through the worst nightmare of her life since being charged in October last year.

"Since October 7, when I got charged by the ITIA, for a suspicion of doping, I have lived the worst nightmare I have ever gone through in my life. Not only has my name been soiled in the worst possible way, but I am facing a constant determination from the ITIA for a reason that I cannot understand, to prove my guilt while I haven't ever even thought of taking an illicit substance. I tried two times to have the opportunity to be judged by an independent tribunal, and the ITIA has constantly found reasons to postpone."

The 31-year-old continued:

"Now that we have clearly established that I have been victim of a contamination, they came up with a so-called not normal evolution of my blood. Three world renowned experts that have studied my blood test have been extremely clear that my blood is totally normal. I feel helpless facing such harassment and motivation on their behalf to proven guilty of something I never did. Once again, all my life I have been totally against any sort of cheating. It doesn't align with my values."

She added:

"The only thing I hope for, at this point, is to have the possibility to finally access the independent and impartial judges in a tribunal, that will give me the chance to prove my innocence. I have full trust in justice and I look forward to finally being able to present my case at my hearing that is schedule at the end of May, after several delays by the ITIA. The support of my loved ones, the tennis world, and my fans have given me the courage to continue to practice every day and fight for the truth. I cannot thank you more for that. Love, Simona."

ITIA anti-doping director issues statement regarding the matter:

ITIA anti-doping senior director Nicole Sapstead said they understands the complexity of the situation; however, they have refused to reveal the minute details until the completion of their investigation. Sapstead said, as quoted by Sky Sports.

"We understand this announcement adds complexity to an already high-profile situation. From the outset of this process - and indeed any other at the ITIA - we have remained committed to engaging with Ms Halep in an empathetic, efficient, and timely manner. We do, of course, appreciate there is a great deal of media interest in these cases."

"It would be inappropriate for us to comment on specifics until the conclusion of the process, but we will continue to engage with the Sport Resolutions independent tribunal and Ms Halep's representatives as expeditiously as possible."

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