Simona Halep released a lengthy statement in response to the latest developments that she has been banned from tennis for the next four years.
The Romanian took to social media to state that she is both "shocked and disappointed" and that, moving forward, she intends to appeal the four-year ban that has been given to her by the International Tennis Integrity Agency.
Halep was initially given a provisional suspension due to the banned substance Roxadustat being found in her system in a positive test at the US Open last year. But the process has been covered in controversy ever since as further irregularities were found in the Romanian's Athlete Biological Blood Passport.
As time passed and Halep spent even more time on the sidelines with seemingly no end in sight in terms of when she could return competitively, it felt like it was going to be a long road back for her. She released a statement on social media in response to being hit with a four-year doping suspension, dating back to October 2022.
"Today, a tribunal under the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme announced a tentative decision in my case. The last year has been the hardest match of my life, and unfortunately my fight continues. 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."
The former World No.1 said that she'd presented compelling evidence to try to question the conclusion of the ITIA's initial findings, as she tried to prove the lower level of Roxadustat being in her system was due to contamination.
But even despite those attempts the Romanian may not ever feature competitively on a tennis court again. She concluded her statement by confirming she will in fact appeal the four year ban, drawing out the process a little longer.
"I am both shocked and disappointed by their decision. I intend to appeal this decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and pursue all legal remedies against the supplement company in question."