The International Tennis Integrity Agency announced Friday that former top-ranked player Simona Halep was provisionally suspended after failing a drug test.
Halep, 31, is a two-time Grand Slam champion from Romania and is currently ranked No. 9 in the world.
The ITIA said Halep tested positive for the banned substance Roxadustat, which is sold as an anti-anemia medication for kidney disease, and took the drug test during the U.S. Open in August. ITIA sent Halep a pre-charge notice of an Anti-Doping Rule Violation on Oct. 7.
‘The player exercised their right to request that the B sample was analysed, which confirmed the finding in the A sample,’ the ITIA said in a statement. ‘While provisionally suspended, the player is ineligible to compete in or attend any sanctioned tennis events organised by the governing bodies of the sport.’
Halep said last month she would take off for the rest of the year after having nose surgery. She cannot participate or attend any event sanctioned by the WTA while she is suspended.
Halep said on social media she was shocked by the positive drug test, adding she felt ‘confused and betrayed.’
‘Throughout my whole career, the idea of cheating never even crossed my mind once, as it is totally against all the values I have been educated with.
‘I will 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,’ Halep wrote.
Halep has won 25 singles titles in her career, including Wimbledon in 2019 and the French Open in 2018. Her most recent tournament win came in Toronto, two weeks before the start of this year’s U.S. Open.