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Simona Halep’s former coach Darren Cahill has come to the Romanian’s defense after the former Wimbledon and French Open champion failed a drug test.

Cahill said Halep’s “integrity is beyond reproach” and insisted there was “no way” she deliberately or knowingly took a banned substance.

It was made public on Friday that Halep, 31, tested positive for roxadustat while competing at the US Open in August.

Halep, who has been provisionally suspended, said she felt “confused and betrayed” by the news. She has not explained why, or by whom, she feels betrayal.

She now faces a tennis ban and faces a battle to clear her name, which she said she was determined to achieve.

Cahill was Halep’s coach when she won her first Grand Slam title at Roland Garros in 2018, and he pointed to her background as an athlete who meticulously checked everything she ingested.

He wrote in a statement posted on Instagram: “First and foremost, there is NO chance that Simona knowingly or deliberately took any substance on the banned list. None. Zero.

“She’s an athlete who stresses out about anything prescribed to her by a medical professional. [which was rarely], or about any supplement she has used or considered. Simona used the words “please check this, triple check this to make sure it’s legal, safe and authorized”. If you’re not sure, I don’t take it. “”

Australian Cahill has also worked with players such as Lleyton Hewitt, Ana Ivanovic, Andy Murray and Andre Agassi. He considers Halep a top notch player and person.

When they called it quits working together in September 2021, Halep thanked Cahill “for making me a better tennis player and a better person.”

Cahill wrote on Sunday: “Simona’s integrity is unwavering, she respects her peers, she loves the game and she always has her feet firmly planted on the ground as a humble and approachable champion.

“Honesty has always been her greatest strength and her greatest weakness. We often laugh that she can’t act and can’t tell a little white lie.

“She carries her mood on her shoulder for the world to see, for better or for worse. This is Simo. What you see is what you get. She has built an incredible career and legacy making the the hard way, the right way.

“Due process will now follow to reveal the answers to many questions. As Simona said, the toughest match of her life begins now. I believe in her. I always have and I can honestly never say more only now on this particular matter. I am with Simon.”

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