Simona Halep in devastating new twist amid 'nightmare' doping scandal
The former World No.1 said she is living a nightmare after the latest news.
Former World No.1 Simona Halep has lashed out at the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) after she was charged with a fresh doping charge in a brutal blow in her bid to clear her name. Halep, a two-time grand slam champion, was left shocked last year when the ITIA announced she had tested positive for the blood-boosting drug Roxadustat at the US Open.
The 31-year-old was provisionally suspended pending a hearing. Halep immediately announced she would fight the finding and claimed she has never cheated throughout her career.
SAD: Rafa Nadal news leaves fans 'devastated' ahead of French Open
'NEVER BEEN FRIENDS': Djokovic's brutal admission about Nadal and Federer
UNFORTUNATE: Kyrgios reveals true reason behind French Open withdrawal
In a frustrating process, Halep confirmed the trial has been pushed back twice as she fights to clear her name. But in a stunning development, the ITIA has announced a fresh doping charge against Halep.
“The International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) confirms 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),” a statement read.
“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.”
The news left Halep floored. The two-time grand slam champion immediately hit back at the result and alleged she was being 'harassed' throughout the ordeal in her bid to clear her name.
"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," she wrote on social media after the latest update.
"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." Halep thanked the support of the tennis world as many continue to rally around the much-loved champion.
— Simona Halep (@Simona_Halep) May 19, 2023
Tennis world reacts to latest Simona Halep news
Halep's latest development means not only will she miss Roland Garros, but most likely Wimbledon as she continues her fight. If the charges were to be upheld, it would most likely end Halep's career at 31 years old.
Aussie tennis legend Ash Barty recently claimed she hoped Halep would have a chance to explain her side of the story in the doping scandal. Many tennis fans reacted with just as much shock as Halep with the latest news. Tennis reporter Ben Rothenberg claimed the 'severe' charges were one of the strongest accusations against any former No.1 player ever.
Things going from bad to worse for former WTA #1 Simona Halep, who has been off tour since her positive test at 2022 US Open for a banned substance.
She's now charged with a second, separate anti-doping breach for irregularities found in her biological passport.
From the ITIA: pic.twitter.com/E6IJFfoSZU
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) May 19, 2023
This is not looking good... https://t.co/9kLTkEZfwS
— José Morgado (@josemorgado) May 19, 2023
Simona Halep on new doping charge: “I feel helpless facing such harassment & a motivation on their behalf to prove me guilty of something I never did. Once again, all my life I’ve been totally against any sort of cheating. It doesn’t align with my values.”
This is heartbreaking. pic.twitter.com/XLGWIYasdJ
— The Tennis Letter (@TheTennisLetter) May 19, 2023
The World No.36 hasn't competed since the US Open and would be desperate to clear her name and take part in her first tournament in 2023. At the time of the announcement, Halep was adamant she would fight the provisional suspension and return to tennis. "I have been notified that I have tested positive for a substance called Roxadustat in an extremely low quantity, which came as the biggest shock of my life," she wrote on social media.
"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. 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 and I have faith that, sooner or later, the truth will come out. It's not about the titles or money. It's about honour, and the love story I have developed with the game of tennis over the last 25 years."
Sign up to our newsletter and score the biggest sport stories of the week.