Simona Halep banned 4 years in doping case

Two-time Grand Slam champion Simona Halep has been suspended from professional tennis for four years for doping violations, the International Tennis Integrity Agency said Tuesday.

The 31-year-old Romanian had been accused of two doping offenses — failing a drug test during the 2022 U.S. Open and for irregularities in her Athlete Biological Passport, the ITIA said.

A panel concluded that Halep “had committed intentional anti-doping rule violations.”

Halep had been provisionally suspended since October 2022. The four-year ban will run to Oct. 6, 2026.

Halep reached No. 1 in the WTA rankings in 2017. She won Wimbledon in 2019, beating 23-time major champion Serena Williams in the final, a year after winning the French Open.

Halep, who had blamed a contaminated supplement, plans to appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

“I am continuing to train and do everything in my power to clear my name of these false allegations and return to the court,” Halep said in a statement.

She said she also will “pursue all legal remedies against the supplement company in question.”

The ITIA’s tribunal heard from Halep and her expert scientific witnesses but concluded that the player committed both offenses.

“The tribunal accepted Halep’s argument that they had taken a contaminated supplement, but determined the volume the player ingested could not have resulted in the concentration of Roxadustat found in the positive sample,” the ITIA said.

Halep’s biological passport profile had been examined by an expert panel. Such passports provide a baseline reading of substances in an athlete’s body and are considered a way to help chart doping.

The tribunal reported that “likely doping” was the explanation for the irregularities in Halep’s profile.