Novak Djokovic’s Association of Professional Tennis Players has issued a statement in support of Simona Halep after the Romanian failed a doping test at the US Open. The former World No.1 has since received a suspension after it was discovered that she had used illegal substances.
Halep, who won Wimbledon in 2019, was provisionally suspended after testing positive for the anemia drug Roxadustat at the US Open earlier this year. She was defeated in the first round of the fourth and last Grand Slam of the year, falling to the Ukrainian Daria Snigur.
The world number 9 won two Grand Slam titles: at Wimbledon in 2019 and the French Open a year earlier. Last month, Halep announced that he would rest and avoid tennis until 2023 after undergoing nose surgery to improve his breathing.
The International Tennis Integrity Association confirmed that both sample A and B showed traces of the banned substance. Roxadustat increases the production of red blood cells through the endogenous production of the hormone erythropoietin (EPO).
However, the PTPA sided with her and confirmed its support for Halep in a statement.
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“The PTPA is committed to ensuring that Simona Halep, like all other tennis players, has a fair trial throughout the process,” the statement read. “We will fight for her rights and we will try to insist on transparency for all other tennis players.”
Following the remarkable news of her test failure, the 31-year-old has insisted she feels “completely confused and betrayed” by the news. She said: “Today begins the most difficult match of my life: a fight for the truth.
“I was notified that I tested positive for a substance called Roxadustat in an extremely low amount, which was the biggest shock of my life. Throughout my entire career, the idea of cheating never even crossed my mind as it totally goes against all the values I was brought up with.
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“Faced with such an unfair situation, I feel completely confused and betrayed. I will fight to the end to prove that I never knowingly took any banned 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’ve developed with tennis over the last 23 years.”
Halep is the most notable player since Maria Sharapova in 2016 to fail a drug test. The five-time Grand Slam champion’s suspension was reduced from two years to 15 months after her appeal.
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