Simona Halep Charged With Second Anti-doping Offence | Simona Halep

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Simona Halep, the former world No 1, has been charged with a second breach of doping rules, the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) announced on Friday.

The additional charge relates to irregularities in Halep’s athlete biological passport (ABP), based on an assessment of her profile by an independent ABP expert panel. The 31-year-old former Wimbledon and French Open champion has already been provisionally suspended since October 2022 after testing positive for the banned blood-booster roxadustat at the US Open last year.

Halep has denied knowingly taking the banned substance and said she has evidence that proves low quantities of the anti-anaemia drug entered her body because of an authorised supplement that was contaminated. But the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) said on Friday the she had been charged with a “further and separate breach of the tennis anti-doping programme” after an independent assessment of her athlete biological passport.

Nicole Sapstead, the senior director for anti-doping at the ITIA, said in a statement: “We understand this announcement adds complexity to an already high-profile situation. From the outset of this process – and indeed any other at the ITIA – we have remained committed to engaging with Ms Halep in an empathetic, efficient, and timely manner.

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“We do, of course, appreciate there is a great deal of media interest in these cases. It would be inappropriate for us to comment on specifics until the conclusion of the process, but we will continue to engage with the Sport Resolutions independent tribunal and Ms Halep’s representatives as expeditiously as possible.”

Last month Halep criticised the delay in her case. According to the Romanian, her independent tribunal hearing was initially scheduled for 28 February, which gave her hope that she would know whether or not she could compete at Indian Wells. “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,” said Halep in an interview with the Tennis Majors website.

Anti-doping tests have been administered by the ITIA since January 2022. Guardian sport

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