Simona Halep, the No. 9 player in the WTA rankings, has been provisionally suspended by the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) after she tested positive for Roxadustat at the 2022 US Open. In their announcement of Halep’s suspension, the ITIA said it took two samples from the tennis star at the US Open. The first one came back positive for Roxadustat, which the World Anti-Doping agency lists as a prohibited substance.
Halep then requested that the second sample also be tested, and ITIA said that it also produced a positive result for Roxadustat which is used therapeutically in anemia patients to boost red blood cell counts. The positive test required a mandatory provisional suspension for Halep, and she cannot participate or attend sanctioned tennis events until it ends.
Halep released a statement on her suspension, and she staunchly denies knowingly ingesting a prohibited substance. Halep said she will “fight” to prove that she didn’t do anything wrong.
“Today begins the hardest match of my life: a fight for the truth,” Halep said in her statement. “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.
“Throughout my whole career, the idea of cheating never even crossed my mind once, as it is totally against 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 never knowingly took any prohibited substance, and I have faith that sooner or later, the truth will come out.
“It’s not about the titles or the money. It’s about honor, and the love story I have developed with the game of tennis over the last 25 years.”
Halep, 31, is a former No. 1 ranked player who has won the French Open and Wimbledon in her impressive career. In 2022, Halep has won two singles titles, including the National Bank Open in Canada in August.
At the US Open, where the samples were taken, Halep was the No. 7 seed but lost to Daria Snigur in the Round of 128.