(Reuters) – Former world number one Simona Halep has been charged with a second breach of doping rules, the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) said on Friday.
The additional charge relates to irregularities in Romanian 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 banned blood-booster roxadustat at the U.S. Open last year.
Halep has denied knowingly taking the banned substance and said she has evidence which proves low quantities of the anti-anaemia drug entered her body because of an authorised supplement that was contaminated.
“We understand that today’s announcement adds complexity to an already high-profile situation… We have remained committed to engaging with Ms. Halep in an empathetic, efficient, and timely manner,” said Senior Director for Anti-Doping at the ITIA, Nicole Sapstead, in a statement.
“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 called on tennis’s anti-doping body to allow her to clear her name, questioning the long delay in her doping hearing after being denied the right to be heard by an independent court.
(Reporting by Angelica Medina in Mexico City; Editing by Ken Ferris)
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