Romanian tennis player Simona Halep has received a ban from the sport for a period of four years.
The International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) delivered the suspension after it found Halep breached anti-doping guidelines.
Halep is a two-time Grand Slam champion and former tennis world No. 1.
Here’s what you should know.
Halep was provisionally suspended from tennis after testing positive for a prohibited substance called ‘roxadustat’ at the U.S. Open last year.
This led officials to discover irregularities in her Athlete Biological Passport (ABP), which monitors certain biological variables over time to indirectly reveal whether a player is doping.
Testing found Halep used a prohibited substance or method during 2022, based on an analysis of 51 blood samples collected as part of the APB program.
The tennis ban
This week, the ITIA confirmed that an independent tribunal found Simona Halep intentionally breached anti-doping guidelines twice.
The independent body accepted Halep’s claim to have consumed roxadustat via a contaminated nutritional supplement. However, it concluded the volume she ingested could not have resulted in the amount found in the positive sample.
The ITIA ruled that Halep’s suspension would run from 7 October 2022 (in consideration of her provisional suspension) until 6 October 2026.
Simona Halep’s response
In a statement posted to X, Simona Halep announced her intention to appeal the decision to ban her from tennis.
“I take the rules that govern our sport very seriously and take pride in the fact that I have never knowingly or intentionally used any prohibited substance,” said Halep.
“I [refuse] to accept their decision of a four-year ban.”