Former Women's World No.1 Simona Halep Suspended For Positive Doping Test

Former Wimbledon champion Simona Halep was 'provisionally suspended' after returning a positive test for Roxadustat at the US Open.

Simona Halep says she will 'fight until the end' to prove her innocence.

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. (More Tennis News)

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

Halep, a 31-year-old from Romania, who recently announced she was taking the rest of this season off after having nose surgery to improve her breathing.

She was seeded No. 7 at the U.S. Open when she lost to Daria Snigur of Ukraine 6-2, 0-6, 6-4 on Aug. 30.

The ITIA said Halep tested positive 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.

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, likely to three years, 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.

Halep, the current world number nine, said the positive test was "the biggest shock of my life".

"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," the Romanian tweeted.

"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."