Banned women’s tennis star makes new discovery in doping case – media
Former women’s world number one Simona Halep is seeking an urgent meeting with tennis authorities after potentially finding the source of her positive doping test, according to a report.
Halep was provisionally suspended in October by the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA), which revealed that the Romanian had tested positive for banned anti-anemia drug Roxadustat in a sample taken at the US Open.
Halep, 31, responded by vowing to “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.”
According to Romanian outlet ProSport, Halep commissioned an investigation by experts at the Laboratoire Antidopage Francais (LADF) as part of her efforts to clear her name.
The probe has reportedly found that nutritional supplements taken by the two-time Grand Slam champion had “accidental sources of compounds that exceed the purity criteria of the substances listed” on their labels.
According to the report, tests confirmed the minimal presence of Roxadustat in Halep’s urine sample taken at the US Open, but added that “research shows the risks in the production line... and the contamination of the products ingested by Halep.”
Halep is said to have requested an emergency hearing with the ITIA to discuss the findings.
A previous report in Newsweek Romania had suggested that Halep was looking at the possibility of contaminated meat being behind her positive test.
Under the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code, Halep could face up to a four-year ban if she is unable to prove her innocence.
The doping scandal is the biggest to hit tennis since Russia’s Maria Sharapova was suspended for 15 months in 2016, after testing positive for the banned substance meldonium.
The five-time Grand Slam winner said she and her team had failed to notice that the substance had been added to the WADA banned list shortly before her appearance at that year’s Australian Open.
Halep has spent a total of 64 weeks as world number one during her career, racking up more than $40 million in prize money.
She has 24 WTA titles to her name, including triumphs at the French Open in 2018 and Wimbledon in 2019.
Her season came to a disappointing end in 2022 when she exited the US Open in the first round. Halep revealed that she would undergo nasal surgery before her doping scandal emerged.