Former world number one in tennis Simona Halep, a 31-year-old Romanian tennis player, currently ninth in the WTA rankings, has been provisionally suspended after testing positive for a banned substance, the International Tennis Integrity Agency announced. “The biggest shock of my life,” she declared, after she has tested positive for Roxadustat, a prohibited anti-anemia drug recently approved for medical use in the European Union. The medication is usually used by cyclists and distance runners owing to its ability to enhance the production of red blood cells and improve the flow of oxygen to muscles.
The 2019 Wimbledon champion said she feels “confused and betrayed” by the result. “I will fight to 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,” she also said. Now suspended, the Romanian faces a ban of up to four years if found guilty by the World Anti Doping Agency. “Today begins the hardest match of my life: a fight for the truth,” Halep wrote on Twitter. “It’s not about the titles or the money. It’s about the honour, and the love story I have developed with the game of tennis over the last 25 years.” Tennis authorities will handle Halep’s case.