Simona Halep’s former coach says ‘no chance’ the two-time grand slam champion knowingly took banned substance ahead of match against German youngster Andrea ITA
The first official word of the controversial move is that the reigning world number one was found to have taken nandrolone, a banned substance, before the match by a medical expert.
It came as Tennis Australia confirmed they were also in the process of “extracting evidence” from Maria’s medical file, which they plan to reveal in due course.
But her former coach, Stefan Edberg, made it clear there’s no way the tennis star could have known her new trainer was on the verge of uncovering a positive test for nandrolone at the time of the match. He said he didn’t think Halep “was capable” of any action that could come under scrutiny from the WTA or the USF.
“This is a very serious matter, and I want to make one thing very clear: No chance that she knew about it. She wasn’t aware. No chance,” Edberg said in a news conference on Tuesday with US Open director of sport Peter Kilduff and the president of the WTA, Patrick McEnroe.
Maria Halep speaks to the media after her 6-1, 6-0 defeat to Andrea ITA during the US Open. Photo: Tim De Wever
“If she was thinking about her next match, it’s not on a scale of like, ‘I’ll be back the next three or four, five or six weeks’, you know what I mean? That would be normal human behaviour.
“You don’t take a day off because you think your match is coming up. She wasn’t thinking about her upcoming match. It wasn’t on a scale of like, ‘Oh, I’ll be back tomorrow’.
“You go to work and you think about the next job, the next job. That’s a normal human behaviour.”
Edberg, himself a former world number one, said he had no reason to think anyone else other than Maria had been involved in the decision to have the nandrolone tested, adding that Maria was “a highly motivated individual”.
“I think if someone thinks you’re going to have a positive for steroids,