‘Devastated’ Simona Halep slams ITIA – ‘They are killing my reputation’

Simona Halep reacts during a match

Simona Halep has lashed out at the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) after the hearing into her failed doping case was once again postponed.

The ITIA announced in October last year that the former world No 1 has been provisionally suspended from competing after she tested positive for the blood-boosting drug Roxadustat at the 2022 US Open in August.

Last week her problems were compounded when ITIA announced that she had been slapped with “a further and separate breach of the tennis anti-doping programme” after an independent assessment found “irregularities in her athlete biological passport”.

The two-time Grand Slam winner protested her innocence and was hoping to explain her case at a hearing, but seven months later she is still waiting to put her case to a tribunal.

And the latest delay has taken its toll with the Romanian slamming the ITIA over the postponement.

These comments are a little misguided as the ITIA are a different organisation to the ITF has not authority over the ITIA.

“Once again, tonight, I am devastated,” she wrote. “The ITF (ITIA) has once again, for the third time postponed my hearing one month later!

“I am waiting to be judged since last October. In December, I have finally been able, thanks to experts, to show that the lot of the supplement I was using had been contaminated, which caused the positive control.

“I have asked, as the rules of the anti-doping state it, for a quick hearing: this is my right, it is written in the rules!

“Unfortunately, the ITF (ITIA) has postponed my hearing three times; denying me the right to be judged by an Independent Tribunal, [and] not allowing me to participate in any tournament for 8 months.”

Halep last competed at the US Open in August and finished the season at No 10 in the WTA Rankings, but she has slipped to No 34 and will slump even further down as she won’t be able to play at Roland Garros next week or Wimbledon.

She added: “Now I know that I will have missed the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon. Not to mention that I will have lost all my points and my ranking.

“Not only they are killing my reputation, but also me as a professional player, and I don’t even talk about the consequences on my mental health.

“This disrespect of the rules by the ITF (ITIA) regarding the fast hearing I am entitled to have, is so disrespectful to me that I have no more words…

“Justice delayed is justice denied.”

For clarification, the ITF issued this statement: “The ITF has had no involvement in the management of this case, as the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme is managed and enforced by the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) on behalf of the ATP, WTA, ITF and Grand Slams.”

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