'Devastated' Halep says doping hearing postponed again
Former world number one Simona Halep on Wednesday said her doping hearing, scheduled for this weekend, had been postponed for a third time by the International Tennis Federation.
The Romanian was provisionally suspended last October after testing positive for the banned substance roxadustat and was charged with a separate second anti-doping breach last week "relating to irregularities in her athlete biological passport".
Halep previously complained that the ITF cancelled hearings set for February and March.
"Once again, tonight, I am devastated," she said in a post on social media.
"The ITF (ITIA) (International Tennis Integrity Agency) has once again, for the third time postponed my hearing one month later...
"I have asked, as the rules of anti-doping state it, for a quick hearing: this is my right, it is written in the rules."
The 31-year-old has claimed that experts found she had accidentally taken a contaminated supplement.
Halep had climbed back into the world's top 10 before she was suspended having dropped out of the top 20 in 2020 following injury problems.
But the two-time Grand Slam champion is set to tumble further from her current mark of 34th as she waits to find out when she can return.
"Not only they are killing my reputation, but also me as a professional player, and I don't even talk about the consequences on my mental health," Halep added.
"This disrespect of the rules by the ITF regarding the fast hearing I am entitled to have, is so disrespectful to me that I have no more words...
"'Justice delayed is justice denied.'"
No comment could be immediately obtained from the ITIA, which acts on behalf of the ITF.
Roxadustat is a drug that stimulates the production of red blood cells and is used in the treatment of patients with kidney problems.