Simona Halep’s former coach has come to her defense after the former world No. 1 tested positive for a banned substance at the US Open earlier this year.

According to the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA), Halep tested positive for Roxadustat, which is a banned substance listed on the 2022 World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List.

The two-time Grand Slam champion, who has been provisionally suspended, denied knowingly taking the banned substance and vowed to clear her name.

She has since received a vote of confidence from Darren Cahill, her former coach with whom she worked for six years.

In a lengthy post written on his Instagram account on Sunday, he said there was “no way” Halep deliberately took a banned substance.

“She’s an athlete who stresses about anything prescribed to her by a medical professional (which was rarely the case), or any supplement she’s used or considered,” he said. wrote, alongside a photo of the two.

“Simona used the words” please check this, triple check this to make sure it’s legal, safe, and authorized. If you’re not sure, I don’t take it.

Halep was notified of the violation on October 7 and exercised the right to request that the B sample be tested, which confirmed the A sample finding.

According to the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), Roxadustat is in a class of drugs called HIF stabilizers.

“Athletes can use these products to increase their red blood cell count, which is a very effective doping technique that increases oxygen delivery to working muscles to increase endurance performance,” USADA said on its website.

The 31-year-old will not be allowed to participate or attend any tennis events organized by the sport’s governing bodies during his suspension.

“Simona’s integrity is unwavering, she respects her peers, she loves the game and she always has her feet firmly planted on the ground as a humble and approachable champion,” added Cahill.

“I sat proudly in awe of the person she grew into, watching the compassion she showed to others.

“I’m not talking about what the world of tennis can see, I’m talking about the kindness and the care that very few people are lucky enough to experience. The kind of actions that are done for love and not for advertising.

“Honesty has always been her greatest strength and her greatest weakness. We often laugh that she can’t act and can’t tell a little white lie.

“Ask her a question at a press conference and she’ll give you an honest answer. She carries her mood on her shoulder for the world to see, for better or for worse. That’s Simo.

“What you see is what you get. She’s built an incredible career and legacy doing it the hard way. The right way.”

Halep nearly retired in 2021 but said she fell in love with tennis again this year.

She was knocked out of the first round of this year’s US Open in August, losing in three sets to world No. 124 Daria Snigur.

Halep won her first Grand Slam at Roland Garros in 2018 and won her second at Wimbledon in 2019.

When confirming the doping test results in a statement on social media, Halep said “today begins the toughest match of my life: a fight for the truth.”

According to the Guardian, her new coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, later reacted to the statement on his Instagram Stories, writing: “I support you 100% in this fight Simona. All along.”

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