The tennis world has been in shock ever since it learned about Simona Halep being provisionally banned for the consumption of a banned substance.
The news broke yesterday that Roxadustat, a drug that helps in creating red blood cells and is included in the list of the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) prohibited substances, was found in the Romanian's drug test during the US Open back in August. Incidentally, the World No. 9 cited a nose issue to end her season earlier this year after bowing out of the tournament in the first round, where she lost to Daria Snigur of Ukraine.
Former American player and 22-time Grand Slam doubles champion Pam Shriver took to social media to subtly target Halep's coach Patrick Mouratoglou, who started working with her this year.
Without naming anyone, Shriver warned players that they should be mindful of the people who can manipulate them, adding that they should beware of changing their trusted team completely when including new members.
"Players on all tours at all levels, beware of totally changing your team and letting go of all trusted and familiar colleagues of years and years. It’s easy to be manipulated and controlled by people good at controlling and manipulating," Shriver tweeted.
In her statement, the two-time Grand Slam champion Halep stated that she was shocked and vowed to fight for the truth to surface.
"I have been notified that I have tested positive for a substance called Roxadustat in an extremely low quantity, which came as the biggest shock of my life. I will fight until 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," Simona Halep said.
The International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) also released a statement, stating that the provisionally suspended player will not be able to compete or attend any sanctioned tennis events organized by the governing bodies of the sport.
"Hope this is a mistake, if not, then this is terrible" - Rennae Stubbs OLY on Simona Halep
Having won two titles this season — WTA 250 Melbourne Summer Set and the WTA 1000 Canadian Open — Simona Halep has a win-loss record of 39-11. Former Australian player and coach Rennae Stubbs expressed her disbelief after the Romanian was banned for failing a drug test, adding that she was hoping for it to be a mistake on the investigators' part.
"Shocked with this @Simona_Halep news. I’ll reserve my thoughts until she has gone through the process of investigating how it happened & how it ended up in her system. Shes never struck me as someone who would cheat to get ahead. Hope this is a mistake, if not, then this is terrible," Stubbs tweeted.