Two-time Grand Slam champion Simona Halep has been banned for 4 years for breaches of the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme.
An unbiased tribunal decided the 31-year-old Romanian had dedicated “intentional” anti-doping violations.
Halep has all the time denied knowingly taking the banned substance Roxadustat.
She confronted two fees: one for testing constructive for Roxadustat and one other for irregularities in her athlete organic passport.
The written causes behind Halep’s ban had been launched on Thursday. BBC Sport takes a have a look at the report’s most important findings.
What has Halep completed?
Former world primary Halep examined constructive for Roxadustat on the US Open in August 2022, resulting in one of the crucial high-profile doping circumstances tennis has seen.
Roxadustat is used medically to deal with anaemia – an iron deficiency which might trigger fatigue.
The drug will increase each the variety of purple blood cells and the quantity of haemoglobin – a protein that carries oxygen in your physique – present in these cells.
And having extra oxygen in your physique helps enhance endurance and restoration.
She was given a provisional suspension when the failed check was introduced in October 2022.
Halep stated she had ingested Roxadustat unknowingly, arguing it was brought on by contamination of a collagen complement.
In Might this 12 months, a second cost was added after irregularities had been present in her athlete organic passport (ABP).
The ABP programme collects and compares organic information to identify discrepancies in an athlete’s blood over time that counsel attainable doping.
Halep’s defence urged the irregularities noticed had been brought on by elements together with blood loss throughout an operation and durations when she was not coaching.
What did the report discover?
The report produced by an unbiased panel spanned 126 pages by which the complexity of the case was laid naked.
The conclusions centred across the two key areas: the alleged contamination of Roxdustat and the discrepancies in Halep’s athlete blood passport.
The report concluded the collagen complement taken by Halep – known as Keto MCT – was contaminated with Roxadustat “on the steadiness of likelihood”.
Nevertheless, it additionally concluded there was one other supply of Roxadustat within the pattern offered by Halep on the US Open on 29 August final 12 months.
“If Halep did use contaminated Keto MCT as she describes, it couldn’t have been the only real supply of the Roxadustat detected,” the report stated.
Halep has “not been capable of determine the supply of the opposite Roxadustat”.
The report stated: “We recognise our conclusions contain a discovering of one thing which in itself seems extremely inconceivable; that across the identical time in 2022, Ms Halep ingested Roxadustat from two totally separate sources [the supplement and somewhere else].
“We must always not and don’t speculate on how the apparently extremely unlikely coincidence of the 2 separate sources of Roxadustat took place. The proof simply doesn’t inform us.
“All we will add right here is that if we had been to discard one or different of the conclusions [One being the MCT was contaminated, two being she took it from another source], it could be conclusion one. The proof in assist of conclusion [two] is simply too compellingly robust for that to be the one to provide.”
The report stated three specialists had “a excessive diploma of confidence” there was not an “harmless clarification” for the irregularities in Halep’s athlete’s organic passport (ABP) profile.
The three specialists – Dr Jakob Morkeberg, Dr Laura Garvican-Lewis and Professor Giuseppe d’Onofrio – assessed the outcomes and every believed there was “possible doping”.
Halep’s defence – together with blood loss throughout surgical procedure and spells when she was inactive – was discovered to not be believable.
The knowledgeable panel had a “robust opinion” the reasons offered by Halep may “not individually or collectively account for the abnormalities”.
They concluded the potential for blood manipulation was “excessive”, including it was “possible” to be a prohibited methodology.
Why did she get 4 years?
The Worldwide Tennis Integrity Company (ITIA), which is accountable for testing inside the sport, requested for a six-year ban due to what they argued had been “aggravating circumstances”, believing Halep’s doping was “repetitive and complex”.
It additionally believed she will need to have been utilizing a prohibited substance or prohibited methodology from March 2022 on the newest.
The ITIA urged Halep was blood doping as a way to increase her efficiency at Wimbledon and the US Open final 12 months.
The ITIA additionally requested for her outcomes to be disqualified from 8 March 2022 by way of to her provisional suspension on 7 October 2022.
The report discovered it was not “comfortably glad” that Halep had been doping from March, although there have been “robust grounds for suspicion”.
No samples of Halep’s ABP had been collected between March and August final 12 months.
All of Halep’s outcomes from the US Open in 2022 – the place she performed her final match – have been disqualified, with the tribunal “comfortably glad” she had dedicated a doping violation on the match.
Halep has said her intention to attraction in opposition to the tribunal’s resolution on the Courtroom of Arbitration for Sport.
If she is to keep away from a four-year ban from tennis, she has to show “on the steadiness of likelihood” that her use of Roxadustat from one other supply was not intentional.
Why did Halep begin utilizing the complement?
Halep, who has all the time denied knowingly taking Roxadustat, stated the constructive outcome got here because the “greatest shock of her life” when her provisional suspension was introduced in October 2022.
She stated she had by no means heard of Roxadustat till then.
In her assertion offered to the unbiased tribunal, Halep stated the Keto MCT complement had been beneficial by her physiotherapist Candice Gohier to assist with nasal issues.
She described how she checked with Gohier and coach Patrick Mouratoglou that Keto MCT was protected to make use of, with each of them agreeing it was after checking the complement’s listed substances.
Gohier obtained the complement on the recommendation of Frederic Lefebvre, the director of bodily preparation at Mouratgolou’s academy.
Halep stated she began utilizing Keto MCT in the course of August 2022, and used it for 5 days between 23 and 28 August – sooner or later earlier than the US Open, the place she suffered an surprising first-round exit.
Nevertheless, Halep didn’t disclose the Keto MCT complement on her Doping Management Kind for the urine pattern that examined constructive on 29 August and he or she additionally didn’t point out it in an interview with the ITIA on 26 October.
At June’s listening to, Halep stated she had forgotten about it on each events.