Simona Halep Australian Open 2020

Simona Halep frustrated over ‘unfair’ delay in doping verdict

Simona Halep has spoken out for the first time on awaiting a tribunal, following a failed drugs test at the US Open last year where she was subsequently suspended.

Halep has spent seven months awaiting a tribunal hearing which is due to take place in May and in a video on social media said, ‘‘I believe that it’s not fair to spend eight months without even being judged by the tribunal.”

She added, ‘‘I’m not asking for special treatment. I just ask to be judged. How much longer is this going to take?”

The 31-year-old has expressed her discontent at the prolonged length of time she has been unable to compete for, ‘’At this age, it’s really tough to lose days, weeks, and months. You are scared about the injuries. When time passes like this, it is harder to come back.’’

Halep tested positive for roxadustat, a drug which helps increase the production of red blood cells, and the two-time Grand Slam champion maintains that she did not ‘knowingly’ contravene anti-doping rules and believes that she had taken a contaminated authorised supplement.

“Knowingly, I have not taken any banned substance. I am a big supporter of clean sports and have always been against doping,” claimed Halep. “I really want to play again because I love this sport and I want to play for the big titles again. I have worked all my life for this.’’

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) said it ‘had no involvement in the management of this case, as the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme is managed and enforced by the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA).’

Halep was ranked WTA No.9 when she was suspended and has since fallen to No.26, as a result of one of the highest profile doping cases since Maria Sharapova at the Australian Open in 2016.

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