On Tuesday, months after Halep's torturous wait for the verdict of her doping case, she was officially suspended for four years by the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) for violating anti-doping regulations on two counts.
Halep revealed her immense shock upon receiving the news and vows that 'my fight continues' as she intends to appeal the independent tribunal's decision at the Court of Arbitration for Sport and will pursue all legal remedies. The case is therefore subject to appeal.
Professor Jean-Claude Alvarez, a director of the toxicology laboratory at the CHU de Garches and judicial expert for the French Supreme Court, was involved in the case, once Halep reached out to him to analyze samples of her hair and slammed the ITIA for withholding the right judgment.
Alvarez was staunch in defending Halep's innocence. In an interview with the French newspaper L'Equipe, reported by Tennis Majors, he explains that the levels of the Roxadustat (the substance which Halep tested positive for) were so small that 'it didn't mean anything'.
He is of the view that Halep would not have taken the banned substance in doses to actually make a difference, but got contaminated after using collagen powder that contained traces of roxadustat, asserting that the source of the contamination leaves no doubt.
"You’d think you were dreaming. Right now, we’re condemning an innocent woman. We’re making a mistake. Given the concentration she has in her hair, it’s not possible for her to be taking roxadustat effectively."
"The roxadustat level is 0.2 nanograms per milliliter (in urine) for Simona Halep. It doesn’t mean anything anymore. You may have them if you take food supplements. It’s all nonsense."
"We have identified the source. It’s collagen (powder to mix with water for physical pain), and there is roxadustat in it. Its collagen is made with ingredients that come from China. In China, roxadustat is very common."