The International Tennis Integrity Agency, through an official statement, announced that Simona Halep will have to serve a four-year disqualification. The facts date back to last season, when the Romanian tested positive for one of the substances prohibited by the regulations after the US Open: Roxadustat.
The independent tribunal established by Sport Resolutions, despite having supported Halep's thesis that it was a contaminated supplement, established that the quantity of substance ingested could not have determined the concentration of Roxadustat found in the positive sample.
A sad story that follows that of her former Russian colleague Maria Sharapova by a few years. In 2016, Siberian was found positive for Meldonium and she was disqualified as a result. The 5-time Slam champion returned to the court in Stuttgart in April 2017.
Many tennis players, such as Eugenie Bouchard, Kristina Mladenovic and Halep herself, attacked Sharapova.
Halep, in particular, said: "I didn't talk to her before, there's no reason to talk now. It's been a difficult time for tennis, a bit disappointing.
I personally check the WADA updates every year and when I see something I always pass it on to those who take care of it, to anti-doping, so everything is safe. If you take something you have to look very carefully first."
When Halep accused Sharapova: now the Romanian is the 'doped' one
Simona said checked WADA's updates, and we have to believe in her honesty like in all tennis players honesty, but she anyway have ended up in this mess, so there is something wrong in the situation, and there can be any ending to this issue.
Let's be clear, Halep was the victim of a grotesque situation: the four-year ban came a year after she was found positive for doping. She is vehemently defending herself, declaring that she has never used (at least intentionally) this substance.
Regardless of how her battle continues, it seems clear that the words she talked about Maria Sharapova seven years ago now have a truly fatalistic quality, as if fate had wanted to send those words back. Seven years later she is the doped one, at least according to ITIA.
"A Tennis Anti-Doping Program tribunal has announced the provisional decision taken in my case. Last year I played the hardest game of my life and unfortunately my struggle continues. I have dedicated my life to tennis.
I take the rules that govern our sport very seriously and am proud of the fact that I have never knowingly or intentionally used any prohibited substances.
I refuse to accept their decision regarding the four-year ban. In a 126-page report, the court found that I am guilty of both charges brought by the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA): a urine test that came back positive during a tournament for a banned substance and a violation of my biological passport.
I, along with my representatives, have presented compelling evidence to the ITIA and the court in support of my defense, including multiple legitimate questions regarding the conclusions reached regarding my biological passport (ABP) test."
These are Halep's words.
It is very right for her to defend herself, if she believes she is in the right. But those words towards Maria Sharapova go back to the future, almost as if they were making fun of the Romanian.
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