Simona Halep suspended after failed drug test

Two-time grand slam champion Simona Halep failed a doping test at the US Open, the International Tennis Integrity Agency has announced.

The world number nine tested positive for the anti-anaemia drug Roxadustat in New York and has been provisionally suspended.

Halep, who won the French Open in 2018 and Wimbledon the following year, is the highest-profile tennis player to fail a drugs test since Maria Sharapova six years ago.

Halep, who suffered a shock loss to Daria Snigur in the first round of the US Open, brought her season to an end last month following nasal surgery.

In a statement on her social media channels, Halep wrote: “Today begins the hardest match of my life: a fight for the truth.

“I have been notified that I have tested positive for a substance called Roxadustat in an extremely low quantity, which came as the biggest shock of my life.

“Throughout my whole career, the idea of cheating never even crossed my mind once, as it is totally against all the values I have been educated with.

“Facing such an unfair situation, I feel completely confused and betrayed. I will fight until the end to prove that I never knowingly took any prohibited substance and I have faith that, sooner or later, the truth will come out.

“It’s not about the titles or money. It’s about honour, and the love story I have developed with the game of tennis over the last 25 years.”