Simona Halep provisionally suspended after testing positive for banned substance
World No. 4 Simona Halep was provisionally suspended after testing positive for a banned substance after she and her coach accused each other of doping before their recent French Open quarter-final tie.
The Italian, who was due to face Garbine Muguruza in Sunday’s quarter-finals, tested positive for nandrolone, the final serving of all-powerful anti-androgenic steroid clomifene. Halep is currently serving a two-year ban for a separate doping offence in August 2014, during which she also tested positive for clomifene. She was due to return to competition last week in the second round of the China Open.
In an interview with the Spanish newspaper, El Pais, just hours after the test, Halep said that she had asked her long-time manager to stop using the substance, but her coach, Franco Foda, denied there was any problem with her use of the drug, which is banned from tennis.
“I really didn’t think much of it,” said Halep. “It was a very normal thing for us to use. I had a medical and the doctor said that this was normal, but then to have two positive tests, I was really shocked.”
Foda defended his players. “I do not know why she said that she told my players that I was doping, what she said, because they have always been on good terms with me and I have been very honest with them,” he said. “I think Simona can play tennis. She does not need to use the substance we take to be able to.”
Halep said she will not be able to attend the fourth round of the China Open this week, with Muguruza making the semi-final to play world No. 1 Roger Federer. She is expected to miss the rest of the US Open season and the French Open.
The news prompted an outcry on social media.
@SimonaHalep you are not playing any tournaments during or after the ban. Please be at least prepared to play in China