Romanian tennis star Simona Halep is living through her worst nightmare currently. The International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) has banned Halep for four years for doping. According to the ITIA, Halep is guilty of breaching the anti-doping laws twice. However, Simona has found a powerful ally, one who might just be able to clear her name.
Simona got in touch with Professor Jean-Claude Alvarez to test a sample of her hair. Alvarez is the director of the toxicology laboratory at the CHU de Garches, and also the judicial expert of the French Supreme Court.
In an interview with L’Equipe, the professor claimed that Simona was innocent. He disclosed that the concentration of roxadustat he found in her hair was negligible.
“You’d think you were dreaming. Right now, we’re condemning an innocent woman. We’re making a mistake. Given the concentration she has in her hair, it’s not possible for her to be taking roxadustat effectively,” said Alvarez (via Tennis Majors).
Jean-Claude Alvarez, director of the laboratory where Simona Halep’s hair was analyzed: “Right now, we’re condemning an innocent woman. We’re making a mistake. Given the concentration she has in her hair, it’s not possible for her to be taking roxadustat effectively.” pic.twitter.com/PqdW3icY6Q
— giacomo fantozzi (@giafantozz) September 14, 2023
Professor Alvarez elaborately spoke of the entire process and how he got to the conclusion. Simona apparently had less than 0.5 picograms per milligram in her hair. He then compared it with a patient who takes roxadustat for renal failure thrice a week. The results were astounding, as the patient had 50 picograms per milligram in her hair, as compared to Simona.
Professor Alvarez added that only 0.2 nanograms per milliliter of roxadustat was found in Halep’s urine samples. It is a negligible amount, that can be found in food supplements. He also dismissed the irregularities in Halep’s Athlete Biological Passport (ABP). He alluded that the experts changed their opinions when they found roxadustat in her samples.
These are trying times for Simona Halep, who has been ridiculed since the news broke. At 31 years of age, a four-year ban could very well mean the end of her professional tennis career. However, she has vowed to contest this decision.
Simona Halep will not give up her fight
Following the news of her ban, Halep gave a brief interview where she maintained her innocence. Simona expressed her disappointment at the ‘unjust’ decision.
Halep did not mince words as she said that the judgment was not based on concrete facts. There was a whole lot of speculation involved instead of evidence.
The Romanian press caught Simona outside her home earlier today.
Reporter: Good morning Simona, how do you feel?
Simona Halep: Shocked, I can say, it’s very unfair what is happening, I have never taken any prohibited substances and all of it will be proven one day. I will let… pic.twitter.com/4EVutjKXIL
— Romanian Tennis (@WTARomania) September 13, 2023
Simona Halep will contest this decision in the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS). She can only hope that the truth comes out before it gets too late to salvage her career.