Tennis: Simona Halep, after a new accusation of doping: I feel helpless in the face of such hounding

Simona Halep has come out firing against the latest twist in her doping case. Provisionally suspended from October 2022 for testing positive for the banned substance Roxadustat (similar to EPO) at the US Open, she has now been charged with “an additional violation” for irregularities in her biological passport.

The International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) reported that this additional charge of an ‘adverse finding’ in the biological passport is based on an assessment of Halep’s profile by a panel of independent experts.

“We understand that the announcement adds complexity to an already high-profile situation. From the outset of this process, and any other at the ITIA, we have remained committed to engaging with Ms. Halep in an empathetic, efficient and timely manner. It would be inappropriate for us to comment specifically until the conclusion of the process, but we will continue to engage with the independent sports adjudication panel and Ms. Halep‘s representatives as expeditiously as possible,” says Nicole Sapstead, ITIA Director of Anti-Doping.

The winner of 24 WTA titles, including Roland Garros in 2018, Wimbledon in 2019 and the WTA Finals in 2014, issued a statement through her social networks in which she insists on her innocence and claims to feel helpless: “I’m living the worst nightmare I have ever had in my life. Not only has my name been soiled in the worst possible way, but I am facing constant accusation by the ITIA, now for a reason I cannot understand, trying to prove my guilt while I have never even thought of taking any illegal substance.”

The tainted supplement ban

Following the positive released in October, Simona Halep‘s defense strategy focused on claiming that there was evidence of ‘tampering’ in one of the dietary supplements used by the tennis player.

“Now that we have clearly established that I have been the victim of contamination, they came up with an alleged abnormal evolution of my blood. Three world-renowned experts who have studied my analyses have made it very clear to me that my blood is totally normal. I feel helpless in the face of such harassment, to see them motivated once again to declare me guilty of something I never did. I repeat once again: all my life I have been totally against any kind of cheating, it is something that does not fit with my values,” Halep continues in her statement.

The hearing on Halep‘s positive is scheduled for the end of May.

“I hope to have the possibility to finally have access to independent and impartial judges in a Tribunal, who will give me the opportunity to prove my innocence. I have full confidence in justice and look forward to finally being able to present my case at my hearing which is scheduled for the end of May, after several delays by the ITIA. The support of my loved ones, the tennis world and my fans have given me the courage to keep training every day and fight for the truth,” Halep‘s statement concludes.