Romania’s Simona Halep suspended for testing positive at US Open: Today begins the hardest match of my life
Romanian tennis star and former WTA number one Simona Halep (31) has been provisionally suspended from tennis competitions after testing positive for a prohibited substance at the US Open in August. The International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) made the announcement on Friday, October 21, and the news quickly made the headlines across the globe.
According to ITIA, both samples taken from Halep at the US Open tested positive for Roxadustat, which is a banned substance.
“While provisionally suspended, the player is ineligible to compete in or attend any sanctioned tennis events organised by the governing bodies of the sport,” ITIA said.
Simona Halep defended herself in a message posted on Instagram, where she has 1.7 million followers.
“Today begins the hardest fight of my life: a fight for the truth,” she wrote, adding that the news that she was tested positive came as “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 the values I have been educated with. Facing such an unfair situation, I feel completely confused and betrayed,” Halep told her fans.
She added: “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 the money. It’s about honor, and the love story I have developed with the game of tennis over the last 25 years.”
Simona Halep is one of the greatest Romanian athletes of all times and an idol for many Romanian children. She is the only Romanian tennis player to have won two singles Grand Slam titles (Roland Garros in 2018 and Wimbledon in 2019) and was the leader of the WTA ranking for 64 weeks (from October 2017 until January 2019).
In 2022, Halep returned to the WTA Top 10 after two years marked by injuries that forced her to stay away from some major competitions. She won two WTA tournaments and reached the semifinals at Wimbledon, but was then eliminated in the first round at the US Open, after which she announced she would not play for the rest of the year to undergo nose surgery. On a personal level, Halep divorced her husband Toni Iuruc in September, less than a year after marriage.
(Photo source: Inquam Photos / Sabin Cirstoveanu)