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Simona Halep Hit with a Second Doping Charge

Simona Halep of Romania was hit with a second doping charge. EPA-EFE/Rodrigo Jimenez

Simona Halep now faces a double dose of doping charges.

Former world No. 1 Halep, who has been provisionally suspended since October 2022 after testing positive for the banned drug Roxadustat, has been hit with a separate doping charge, the International Tennis Integrity Agency announced today.

“Romanian tennis player Simona Halep has been charged with a further and separate breach of the Tennis Anti-Doping Program (TADP), relating to irregularities in her Athlete Biological Passport (ABP),” the ITIA announced in a statement.

The ITIA emphasized this doping violation is different and separate from the existing Roxadustat charge from August 2022 which launched Halep’s original provisional suspension.

Fighting for her competitive future, the 31-year-old Halep hit back at the charges slamming the ITIA for what she calls “harassment.” 

Halep claims she is the victim of contamination and says “three world renowned experts” have “clearly established that I have been the victim of a contamination.”

“Once again, all my life I have been totally against any sort of cheating,” Halep said. 

This has become a contentious case with Halep suggesting the ITIA has intentionally stalled her case.

“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,” Halep said.

The ITIA counters it “would be inappropriate” to comment on details of the charge until Halep and her team have been given opportunity to officially respond.

“We understand that today’s announcement adds complexity to an already high-profile situation,” Nicole Sapstead, Senior Director for Anti-Doping at the ITIA said. “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.”

The 2019 Wimbledon champion has strenuously denied she knowingly doped at any time.

“I have been provisionally suspended for 8 months even though I have sent all the evidence regarding my contamination to the ITF last December,” Halep told Tennis Majors in an interview last month. “I don’t ask for any special treatment. I just ask to be able to get judged by the Tribunal.

“I feel it is unfair and I am asking: how long is it going to last?”