Simona Halep, 2-time major champ, gets provisional drug ban

Oct 20, 2022, 6:54 PM | Updated: Oct 21, 2022, 2:17 pm

FILE - Romania's Simona Halep reacts after dropping a point during her win over Jessica Pegula duri...

FILE - Romania's Simona Halep reacts after dropping a point during her win over Jessica Pegula during the women's National Bank Open semifinal tennis match in Toronto, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022. Former No. 1-ranked player Simona Halep was provisionally suspended by the International Tennis Integrity Agency after failing a drug test during the U.S. Open last month. The ITIA announced the suspension Friday, Oct. 21, 2022, for Halep, a two-time Grand Slam champion who is currently No. 9 in the WTA rankings.(Chris Young/The Canadian Press via AP, File)

(Chris Young/The Canadian Press via AP, File)

Two-time Grand Slam champion Simona Halep was provisionally suspended by the International Tennis Integrity Agency after failing a drug test during the U.S. Open in August.

The ITIA announced the punishment Friday for Halep, a former No. 1 player who is currently No. 9 in the WTA rankings. She won Wimbledon in 2019, beating 23-time major champion Serena Williams in the final, and the French Open in 2018.

In a social media post, Halep called the news of her positive test “the biggest shock of my life,” adding: “Facing such an unfair situation, I feel completely confused and betrayed.”

“I will fight until the end to prove that I never knowingly took any prohibited substance,” Halep wrote, “and I have faith that sooner or later, the truth will come out.”

She is the most prominent tennis player to face a doping ban since five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova tested positive for a newly banned substance at the 2016 Australian Open. Sharapova initially was given a two-year suspension but appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which reduced the penalty, ruling she bore “less than significant fault” in the case and could not “be considered to be an intentional doper.”

Halep, a 31-year-old from Romania, announced in September she was taking the rest of this season off after having nose surgery to improve her breathing. She considered retiring early this year after a series of injuries, but then said she felt rejuvenated after teaming up in April with coach Patrick Mouratoglou, who used to work with Williams.

Seeded No. 7 at the U.S. Open, Halep lost in the first round to Daria Snigur of Ukraine 6-2, 0-6, 6-4 on Aug. 30. It was the first tour-level win of Snigur’s career.

Spokesmen for the U.S. Tennis Association and Mouratoglou declined comment.

The ITIA said Halep tested positive in New York for the banned substance Roxadustat, a drug approved for medical use in the European Union to treat the symptoms of anemia caused by chronic kidney failure.

Halep said she was told her test showed “an extremely low quantity.”

According to the EU’s medicines agency, which approved Roxadustat last year, it stimulates the body to produce more of the natural hormone erythropoietin, or EPO, which has long been a doping product favored by cyclists and distance runners.

During a provisional suspension, a tennis player is ineligible to compete in, or attend, any sanctioned events.

Under the World Anti-Doing Code, Halep faces a ban of up to four years for a positive test for a substance like Roxadustat. Athletes can earn a reduction in their ban if they quickly admit an offense and accept their sanction.

Tennis authorities will handle Halep’s case and any ruling can be challenged by the World Anti-Doping Agency in an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

“Today begins the hardest match of my life: a fight for the truth,” Halep wrote Friday.


AP Sports Writer Graham Dunbar in Geneva contributed to this report.


More AP tennis: and

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]

3 months ago

Joe Jarzynka...

Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]

3 months ago

FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...

Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]

3 months ago

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...

Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]

3 months ago

FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...

Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]

3 months ago

FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...

Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]

3 months ago

Simona Halep, 2-time major champ, gets provisional drug ban