Two-time Grand Slam champion Simona Halep has been charged with a second doping offence over “irregularities in her athlete biological passport”.
The former world No 1 and Wimbledon champion has been provisionally suspended since October last year after testing positive for the blood-boosting drug Roxadustat at the 2022 US Open.
Last month Halep criticised the delay in her case, but the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) said on Friday the Romanian had been charged with a “further and separate breach of the tennis anti-doping programme” after an independent assessment of her athlete biological passport.
Nicole Sapstead, senior director for anti-doping at the ITIA, said in a statement: “We understand this announcement adds complexity to an already high-profile situation.
“From the outset of this process – and indeed any other at the ITIA – we have remained committed to engaging with Ms Halep in an empathetic, efficient, and timely manner.
“We do, of course, appreciate there is a great deal of media interest in these cases.
“It would be inappropriate for us to comment on specifics until the conclusion of the process, but we will continue to engage with the Sport Resolutions independent tribunal and Ms Halep’s representatives as expeditiously as possible.”
Speaking in April, Halep said: “I’ve been provisionally suspended for eight months even though I’ve sent all the evidence regarding my contamination to the ITF last December.
“I don’t ask for any special treatment, but to be able to get judged by the tribunal. I feel it is unfair. How long is it going to last?”
Last October she said: “I will fight till the end to prove that I never knowingly took any prohibited substance and I have faith that, sooner or later, the truth will come out.”
Sky Sports News has contacted representatives of Simona Halep for comment.