Simona Halep provisionally suspended after testing positive for banned substance
World No. 1 Simona Halep has been provisionally suspended for two months following the finding of a positive test for a banned substance in her sample.
The French tennis player was given the red penalty card for the positive test on the eve of the third round match against world No. 7 Caroline Wozniacki in Brescia, where the pair reached the final last year.
The positive test was found in her urine sample taken on Sunday in a routine doping control last week.
“I learned this news this morning on the phone,” Halep said in a statement on her Instagram account, adding that she was “happy and relieved” because “it’s not a surprise for me”.
“I am very happy. I am relieved. I have two months of tests. It’s not a surprise for me. I love to be with my family, I thank them for their support all the time, I feel very good today,” the 23-year-old said.
“Now I want to be strong for all the people who love me. I will never stop playing. That is my resolve.”
The French coach Richard Gasquet said in a statement that Halep “has been tested twice for doping and, at the moment, no trace of the substance detected”.
“She is suspended from her next tournament (a Davis Cup quarter final against Russia), the following one and two months. We are waiting for the final outcome of the tests,” he said.
The player added: “I have always believed that I can do no wrong. I will never change my behaviour or my values, as I feel they are very important to me.”
The suspension means Halep is out of the French Open.
According to court documents, the positive test was discovered after a routine doping examination by the French Federation of Sports and the French Tennis Federation, which conducted anti-doping control at her match on Sunday.
The document showed that Halep was tested for the anabolic steroid testosterone in a test taken on March 8. A sample from another day of testing on that date, a blood test, was also positive.
French sports court documents show that the results of urine drug testing, which measures the levels of testosterone and other drugs, are forwarded to the federation for the purposes of doping control.
When the test on the day of the