Former world No. 1 Simona Halep has been charged with a further anti-doping breach, the International Tennis Integrity Agency said in a statement.
The additional charge is in relation to irregularities in her athlete biological passport.
The International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) has confirmed that Romanian tennis player Simona Halep has been charged with a further and separate breach of the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme (TADP), relating to irregularities in her Athlete Biological Passport (ABP),” read a statement on the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) website.
“Ms Halep has been provisionally suspended since October 2022, as a result of testing positive for prohibited substance Roxadustat at the US Open in August of last year.
“The ABP programme, developed by the World Anti-Doping Agency and incorporated into the TADP under the World Anti-Doping Code (WADC), is a method by which anti-doping organisations monitor various blood parameters over time, to identify potential Anti-Doping Rule Violations (ADRVs).
“The additional charge of an Adverse Passport Finding was based on an assessment of Ms. Halep’s ABP profile by an independent ABP Expert Panel. That charge is separate and in addition to the existing Roxadustat charge from August 2022 which triggered Ms. Halep’s original provisional suspension.”
Halep was provisionally suspended in October after testing positive for banned substance, Roxadustat.
The two-time Grand Slam winner released a statement later on Friday in response to the new charge.
“Since October 7, when I got charged by the ITIA, for a suspicion of doping, I have lived the worst nightmare I have ever gone through in my life.
“Not only has my name been soiled in the worst possible way, but I am facing a constant determination from the ITIA for a reason that I cannot understand, to prove my guilt while I haven’t ever even thought of taking an illicit substance.
“I tried two times to have the opportunity to be judged by an independent tribunal, and the ITIA has constantly found reasons to postpone.
“Now that we have clearly established that I have been victim of a contamination, they came up with a so-called not normal evolution of my blood. Three world-renowned experts that have studied my blood test have been extremely clear that my blood is totally normal.
“I feel helpless facing such harassment and motivation on their behalf to prove me guilty of something I never did. Once again, all my life I have been totally against any sort of cheating. It doesn’t align with my values.
“The only thing I hope for, at this point, is to have the possibility to finally access the independent and impartial judges in a tribunal, that will give me the chance to prove my innocence.
“I have full trust in justice and 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.
“The support of my loved ones, the tennis world, and my fans have given me the courage to continue to practise every day and fight for the truth. I cannot thank you more for that.