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Former Wimbledon champion Simona Halep banned from tennis for four years for doping
12 September 2023, 18:50
Former Wimbledon champion and tennis world number one Simona Halep has been banned for four years for doping.
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Halep, who won Wimbledon in 2019, had been provisionally suspended since last October.
The Romanian, 31, tested positive for the blood-boosting drug Roxadustat at the 2022 US Open, and was charged with irregularities in her Athlete Biological Passport.
An independent tribunal later upheld the charges against her.
Halep will only be eligible to play again in 2026, by which time she will be 35.
But she said she has never taken any prohibited substance intentionally, and vowed to prove her innocence.
Halep said: "Today, a tribunal under the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme announced a tentative decision in my case.
"The last year has been the hardest match of my life, and unfortunately my fight continues. I have devoted my life to the beautiful game of tennis.
"I take the rules that govern our sport very seriously and take pride in the fact I have never knowingly or intentionally used any prohibited substance. I refused to accept their decision of a four-year ban."
"I am continuing to train and do everything in my power to clear my name of these false allegations."
Roxadustat stimulates the production of red blood cells.
Halep said she accidentally took a nutritional supplement that contained Roxadustat.
She is the most famous tennis player to test positive for a banned substance since Maria Sharapova in 2018.
Halep has won 24 singles titles and earned £32.2m in prize money .
She was ranked number one in the world in 2017 and 2018.