Simona Halep Suspended for a Positive Doping Test
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) announced on September 17 that Simona Halep has been suspended for two months for testing positive for two banned substances in September. The two substances are recombinant human erythropoietin and triamcinolone acetonide. All players at the Grand Slam events must be tested under the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) anti-doping code for any prohibited substance they may have ingested. The testing is mandatory, and failure to test is a doping violation.
The WADA reports of positive tests are reviewed by the ITF in-competition panel, which then announces the players who have failed to meet their anti-doping obligations. Halep tested positive for erythropoietin on September 16-17. She has not played a match since August 3, because she has been out due to knee and elbow injuries. The banned substance triamcinolone acetonide was discovered in her urine in mid-September. She has not played since September 20 in Doha.
The ITF World Tennis Tour was suspended for two months by Tennis Australia, the national governing body for professional tennis. The suspension was announced after the ITF made a formal complaint to tennis authorities in Australia regarding how they handled the investigation. The ITF is conducting its own investigation into the matter. No other international tournaments have been affected by the suspension to date.
Halep was originally banned from competition for a month for missing two drug tests on August 12 and 15, and for not appearing at one of the tournaments. She has played in two tournaments since the start of the suspension, at the China Open in October and the Miami Open in December.
The news of Halep’s positive test came on the eve of her match with Maria Sharapova at the China Open. Halep has faced a long list of problems with drugs in her career. She has had to deal with two doping bans, one for an undisclosed and one for eight months for breaking anti-doping rules. She was stripped of her WTA Tour points title after her second doping ban. She has twice been banned for failing drug tests. Since her return to tour in August, she has played a total of 11 tournaments on the ITF circuit, including five