Suspended Simona Halep hits out at hearing delay in doping case

Suspended Simona Halep hits out at hearing delay in doping case

Simona Halep has hit out at the delay in her doping case.

The former world number one and Wimbledon champion has been provisionally suspended since last October after testing positive for the blood-boosting drug Roxadustat at the US Open.

In her first interview since the news broke, Halep, one of the most high-profile players to fall foul of anti-doping rules, said the hearing that she hopes will clear her name has twice been pushed back and is now scheduled for the end of next month.

She told tennismajors.com: “The next step is a hearing at the end of May, the 28th, but it is very fragile because the ITF (International Tennis Federation) said that they might cancel it as well.

“If they do that, it will be almost eight months since I’ve been provisionally suspended for the first time and I believe that it’s not fair to spend eight months without even being judged by the tribunal.

“Emotionally, the whole period has not been easy and I just felt the need to speak out loud to my fans, to my supporters, and actually to the whole public.

“I’m sure they really want to know what’s going on and why it’s taking so long. I wanted to remain silent until the case was solved but it’s too heavy.

“It’s been seven months since I’ve been originally suspended even though I’ve had all the evidence since December. I’m not asking for special treatment. I just ask to be judged. How much longer is this going to take?”

Simona Halep won Wimbledon in 2019
Simona Halep won Wimbledon in 2019 (Laurence Griffiths/PA)

Halep claims that analysis by experts has pinpointed a contaminated supplement as the cause of the positive test.

“After a lot of work, they found out that there was a contamination, a supplement contamination and that’s why the quantity was so, so low in my body,” said the Romanian.

Halep, who won the French Open in 2018 and Wimbledon the following year, has not played a match since losing in the opening round of the US Open last August.

A spokesman for the International Tennis Integrity Agency, which oversees the sport’s anti-doping programme, said: “The process is ongoing and is being run in line with the World Anti-Doping Code.”