What is roxadustat and how long has Simona Halep been banned for? As the former Wimbledon champion is banned from tennis following an anti-doping violation

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Former Wimbledon champion Simona Halep has received a lengthy ban from the sport of tennis.  

It comes after the Romanian was found with the forbidden roxadustat, a drug to treat anaemia, in her system. 

The International Tennis Integrity Agency also discovered irregularities in her blood passport system 

Halep has since revealed that she intends to appeal the decision to ban her from competing.

Mail Sport breaks down how long Simona Halep has been banned and what roxadustat is.

Former Wimbledon champion and world No.1 Simona Halep has been banned from tennis

Former Wimbledon champion and world No.1 Simona Halep has been banned from tennis 

The news comes after she was found with the forbidden roxadustat in her system

The news comes after she was found with the forbidden roxadustat in her system

Who is Simona Halep?

Born in Constanta, Romania on September 27, 1991, Simona Halep began playing tennis at the age of four.

At the age of six, she began playing regularly. When Halep turned 16, she relocated to Bucharest to continue her tennis career,

She made a name for herself at the Australian Open – reaching the junior semi-final. In 2008, she won two major tournament – she won two junior tournaments: ITF 10,000 in Bucharest and the Trofeo Bonfiglio tournament.

Halep finished her junior career by winning Roland Garros junior title – defeating Elena Bogdan in three sets in the final.

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Her first taste of a Grand Slam title came in 2018 – when she defeated American Sloane Stephens in three sets to win the French Open.

A year later, she would win Wimbledon for the first time in her career. The Romanian beat tennis legend Serena Williams in straight sets at SW19.

Her triumph in 2019 was the last time Halep won a major Grand Slam. 

Since then, she has only reached the semi-finals of a major Grand Slam twice.

Throughout her career, Halep has been ranked world No. 1 twice – between 2017 and 2019. 

Born in Constanta, Romania, Simona Halep began playing tennis at the age of four

Born in Constanta, Romania, Simona Halep began playing tennis at the age of four  

What is roxadustat?

Halep was found with the forbidden roxadustat, a drug to treat anaemia, in her system.

The International Tennis Integrity Agency also discovered irregularities in her blood passport system.

Roxadustat is an oral medicine used to treat anemia – associated with chronic kidney disease. 

It is a HIF prolyl-hydroxylase inhibitor that increases endogenous production of erythropoietin and stimulates production of hemoglobin and red blood cells. 

Roxadustat, sold under the brand name Evrenzo, is used to help patients who suffer from kidney disease or people on chemotherapy.

As eluded to, it is used to increase red blood cell production. That means it increases the amount of oxygen available to the body.

Halep has been found to have committed two doping violations after an investigation

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Halep has been found to have committed two doping violations after an investigation

How long has she been banned for?

Following a lengthy process going back to the 2022 US Open, the 31-year-old Romanian received a four-year ban. 

Halep has denied knowingly taking the banned substance, and the former Wimbledon champion has said that she had evidence to show that small amounts of the anaemia drug entered her system from a licensed supplement.

The former world No. 1 has revealed that she will appeal the decision to ban her for four years.

Unless her appeal is successful, she will not be able to compete again until 2026, when she will be 35. 

What’s been said?

Halep released a statement on Tuesday insisting she had been ‘accidentally’ exposed to roxadustat. 

The player last night described herself as ‘shocked and disappointed’ and said she would be taking the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. 

‘Today, a tribunal under the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme announced a tentative decision in my case. The last year has been the hardest match of my life, and unfortunately my fight continues,’ the statement reads.

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‘I have devoted my life to the beautiful game of tennis. I take the rules that govern our sport very seriously and take pride in the fact I have never knowingly or intentionally used any prohibited substance. I refused to accept their decision of a four-year ban.

‘I am continuing to train and do everything in my power to clear my name of these false allegations and return to the court.

Halep released a statement insisting she had been 'accidentally' exposed to roxadustat

Halep released a statement insisting she had been ‘accidentally’ exposed to roxadustat

‘I intend to appeal this decision to The Court of Arbitration for Sport and pursue all legal remedies against the supplement company in question.

‘None of the listed ingredients included any prohibited substances. However, we now know – and the tribunal agreed – one of them was contaminated with roxadustat.

‘The ITIA relied solely on the opinions of these experts who looked only at my blood parameters – which I’ve maintained for more than 10 years in the same range,

‘This group ignored the fact no prohibited substance has ever been found in my blood or urine samples with the sole exception of one August 29 positive test for roxadustat.’

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