Simona Halep Suspended for 4 Years for Anti-Doping Rule Violations

September 12, 2023

London, 12 September 2023 — The International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) confirms that an independent tribunal has suspended Romanian tennis player Simona Halep for four years following breaches of the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme (TADP).

Two-time Grand Slam title champion Halep, 31, was charged with two separate breaches of the TADP. The first related to an Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) for the prohibited substance roxadustat at the US Open in 2022, carried out through regular urine testing during competition. The second charge related to irregularities in Halep’s Athlete Biological Passport (ABP).  

The independent tribunal, established by Sport Resolutions, met on 28 and 29 June 2023 in London, and heard from expert scientific witnesses on behalf of Halep and the ITIA, with the player also giving evidence directly to the panel as part of proceedings.

On 11 September 2023, the tribunal confirmed that it had found the player had committed intentional Anti-Doping Rule Violations under Article 2 of the TADP: 

The tribunal accepted Halep’s argument that they had taken a contaminated supplement, but determined the volume the player ingested could not have resulted in the concentration of roxadustat found in the positive sample.   The ABP charge was also upheld, with the tribunal stating that they had no reason to doubt the unanimous “strong opinion” reached by each of the three independent Athlete Passport Management Unit (APMU) experts that “likely doping” was the explanation for the irregularities in Halep’s profile.

Halep has been provisionally suspended since October 2022, which the tribunal credited against the period of ineligibility. As such, the former world number one’s suspension will run from 7 October 2022 until 6 October 2026. The case remains subject to appeal.

Karen Moorhouse, Chief Executive Officer at the ITIA, said: “After a complex and rigorous hearing process, we welcome the independent tribunal’s decision.     

“The volume of evidence for the tribunal to consider in both the roxadustat and ABP proceedings was substantial.      

“The ITIA has followed the proper processes as we would with any other individual – in accordance with the World Anti-Doping Code – fulfilling our purpose and responsibility to uphold the principle of fair competition, on behalf of the sport. The panel recognised that appropriate procedure had been followed within the written decision.    

“We do understand the significant public interest in these cases and remain committed to being as transparent as possible and the full decision will be published in due course.”    

The ITIA is the delegated third party, under the World Anti-Doping Code (Code) of the International Tennis Federation, the international governing body for the sport of tennis and signatory of the Code. The ITIA is an independent body responsible for the management and administration of anti-doping across professional tennis.