Simona Halep has vowed to fight her four-year doping ban from tennis, with the two-time Grand Slam champion ready to appeal after ‘living in purgatory for over a year,”

The former world No. 1 from Romania was banned until October, 2026 for testing positive for traces of  anemia treatment roxadustat. as well as what an anti-doping tribunal called irregularities in her Biological Passport document.

 “The last year has been the hardest match of my life, and unfortunately my fight continues,” the 31-year-old said in a statement.

“I have devoted my life to the beautiful game of tennis. I take the rules that govern our sport very seriously and take pride in the fact I have never knowingly or intentionally used any prohibited substance.

“I refused to accept their decision of a four-year ban.

Halep said her legal team would be filing an appeal with the Lausanne,based Court for the Arbitration of Sport (CAS).

Halep was ruled guilty by an independent tribunal which held secret hearing in June and issued a 126-page report on the case.

“My representatives and I presented the ITIA and the tribunal with compelling evidence in support of my defence, including multiple legitimate questions regarding the conclusions reached around my Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) testing.

“While I am grateful to finally have an outcome following numerous unfounded delays and a feeling of living in purgatory for over a year, I am both shocked and disappointed by their decision.”

Halep added:  “I believe in a clean sport and in almost two decades as a professional tennis player, through hundreds of tournaments and two Grand Slam titles, 

“I’ve taken 200 blood and urine tests to check for prohibited substances – all of which have been clean, until August 29, 2022.”

Halep said she had adjusted her nutritional supplement intake prior to her positive test at the US open a year ago but said no illegal substances were listed in her new supplement regime.

She also contested the Biological Passport discrepancies charge: “The ITIA (anti-doping body) relied solely on the opinions of these experts who looked only at my blood parameters – which I’ve maintained for more than 10 years in the same range.

“This group ignored the fact no prohibited substance has ever been found in my blood or urine samples with the sole exception of one August 29 positive test for roxadustat, which was present at an extremely low level and which, when considering my negative test three days prior, could only have been caused by accidental exposure to roxadustat.

“I am continuing to train and do everything in my power to clear my name of these false allegations and return to the court.

“I intend to appeal this decision to The Court of Arbitration for Sport and pursue all legal remedies against the supplement company in question.”