Tennis, Halep banned for 4 years for doping

The former world number one risks ending his career. She tested positive a year ago for roxadustat. Now the appeal

Luigi Ansaloni

Heavy, very heavy sentence for Simona Halep. The former world number one was disqualified for four years due to her testing positive for doping, an affair that dates back to a year ago, with the Romanian always maintaining her innocence on several occasions. Halep, 32 years old, really risks ending her career. The disqualification starts from 7 October last year and will end on the same day in 2026.

the facts

Halep was disqualified for allegedly taking Roxadustat, detected in September 2022 after her US Open first-round defeat against Daria Snigur. It is a drug used in the treatment of anemia and illicit in the sports field (unless medical approval) as it is capable of increasing the production of erythropoietin (Epo) and stimulating that of hemoglobin. Obviously we are only at the beginning of a battle that promises to be long and with no holds barred, and there will certainly be an appeal from the Romanian. What is certain is that they went really hard on Halep, even in the reasons for such a long disqualification. And it couldn’t be otherwise, given the extent of the sporting penalty. The independent tribunal wanted by Itia (International Tennis Integrity Association) met as communicated on 28 and 29 June in London and heard the versions of scientific experts summoned by Halep and the player herself to propose information and printouts but it was not enough. On 11 September the court declared the former world number 1 guilty of an anti-doping violation in two points of the code: the presence of Roxadustat in the urine taken on 29 August 2022, but above all the intake of a prohibited substance also in the merit of the program on the athlete’s biological passport with 51 blood samples provided.


The court accepted Halep’s argument that they had taken a contaminated supplement, but also ruled that the volume ingested in this case by the player could not have determined the concentration of roxadustat found in the positive sample. The Athlete Biological Passport is a method developed by Wada (World Anti Doping Agency) and incorporated into the Tadp (Tennis Anti Doping Program) where the various anti-doping agencies monitor the athlete’s blood values ​​over time, so as to detect any violations of the anti-doping program. Therefore, for Halep there would also be a problem in her biological passport, and this would explain such a long disqualification.