Simona Halep’s former coach says ‘no chance’ the two-time grand slam champion knowingly took banned substance
Former Romania’s top women’s coach, Simona Halep, has admitted she took a banned substance without knowing it could give her cancer.
Halep, the world’s first grand slam champion, was diagnosed with the disease when she was 23 but she is convinced she fell ill from using a banned substance – although she was never tested for the banned substance.
In an interview with Romanian newspaper România Libertate, the former world number one said: “I know I have not been tested for the doping. But I know I took the substance I know I shouldn’t have and I know it is banned. So I have no idea what I did.” But Halep insists she “understood” what she was doing and she was “guilty of a mistake”.
“If I had known the problem and if I could have stopped it from happening, I would have taken the right action,” she added.
Halep was in a car crash in 2008 in which she was badly injured. She missed the 2010 French Open which was the first she missed since she was 16 to turn professional.
She started winning matches again from the 2014 UK Open to the 2017 US Open but she did not regain top spot until the 2018 Australian Open – where she won the first grand slam title by an Romanian since the World War II.
Halep has also had several surgeries to repair her arm, knee and her spine.
She remains a top player and has not been tested by the sport’s anti-doping agency and she insists she does not face any sanction for her use of the substance.
In a statement, the Romanian federation said: “It is very important that the Romanian sporting authorities are able to evaluate these issues in a rigorous and objective manner. If there are any doubts over the issue, the federation will decide independently whether or not to accept the verdict of the independent panel on the matter.”
Halep had said she would be ready to defend her title on September 29 in Australia, where WTA events start this week.