Former World No. 1 Simona Halep, serving suspension from tennis for allegedly testing positive for a banned substance, vowed to fight a second doping allegation.
The International Tennis Integrity Agency said Friday that Halep’s blood contains “irregularities.” The organization’s findings are linked to the first case, in which the ITIA said she tested positive for roxadustat in August 2022 and was provisionally suspended two months later.
Now, with the latest allegation, Halep said she wants to show her evidence to a tribunal but has been denied the chance thus far. In a lengthy statement, she said the initial charge stemmed from a contaminated sample, and that three experts who studied her blood determined it to contain only normal markers.
“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 any illicit substance,” Halep posted to Twitter.
She added later: “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 scheduled at the end of May, after several delays by the ITIA.”
Nicole Sapstead, the ITIA senior director for anti-doping, said in a statement that she could not discuss specifics of the case.
“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.”
Halep has not played since the 2022 U.S. Open, where she was stunned in a first-round loss to Daria Snigur of Ukraine.
The Romanian has $40.2 million in career earnings and 24 singles titles, including the 2018 French Open and 2019 Wimbledon.
–Field Level Media