Tennis coach Patrick Mouratoglou has revealed his shock after former World No.1 Simona Halep tested positive to a banned substance at the US Open.
The two-time grand slam winner returned a positive test for Roxadustat, a substance which stimulates red blood cells and is commonly used for patients with kidney problems.
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Halep’s positive sample sent shockwaves through the tennis world, and is arguably the biggest doping scandal to hit the sport since Maria Sharapova tested positive for meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open.
Mouratoglou, who has worked with the likes of Serena Williams, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Grigor Dimitrov and has coached Halep since the start of 2022, said he was ‘shocked’ to learn of her positive test result.
Halep, who is provisionally suspended from competition, has vowed to find the ‘truth’ of the matter and maintains she has never knowingly taken any performance-enhancing substance.
In a statement on Instagram responding to the news, Mouratoglou described Halep as a ‘woman of value’ and said he doubted she had attempted deliberately break the rules.
“First, I want to express how much of a shock our team has been in since Simona informed me about the positive doping test from the US Open,” he wrote.
“In almost 30 years of working with hundreds of professional athletes, I have never faced a situation like this.
“I appreciate that many people from the tennis world who have closely worked with Simona or have known her personally for many years have spoken up.