Serena Williams reacts to doping ban of Wimbledon rival Simona Halep

Sep 13, 2023
Serena Williams has reacted to her Wimbledon rival Simona Halep's recent doping charges. Source: Getty Images

Serena Williams is easily one of the greatest tennis players of all time. She reigned as the No. 1 singles tennis player for 319 consecutive weeks according to the Woman’s Tennis Association (WTA) and managed to score 23 Grand Slam women’s singles titles over the course of her career.

Williams retired in 2022 but some recent developments in the sport have brought her back in to the world of tennis once again.

In 2019, Williams was defeated by Simona Halep 6-2, 6-2 in a game that lasted only 56 minutes. Williams aimed match Margaret Court’s 24 Grand Slam record during her career and her 2019 defeat was one of the four times where her hopes of doing so were dashed.

Halep’s career has recently suffered a major blow due to two recent charges of breaching the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme. She is currently facing a four year suspension from the game.

While making no mention of Halep or the charges, Williams recently posted on X (formerly known as Twitter), that “8 is a better number.”

The post is indirect but still evident reference to Williams’ seven Wimbledon victories. In light of the doping charges, Williams appeared to imply that she should have been awarded the 2019 title as well, thus raising her overall Wimbledon titles to eight.

Currently there is no evidence that Halep was doping in 2019 when she won the match against Williams. Despite no direct mention of Halep, the post did cause a stir amongst tennis fans. Supporters Williams were amused while fans of Halep were incensed by the post.

Halep is yet to comment on Williams’ post, however she has commented on her current circumstances. The first breach that she stand accused of involves a positive finding of the banned substance roxadust in her system during the 2022 US Open.

In May of 2023, the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) noted that there were several irregularities in Halep’s Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) as well. They ultimately concluded that “likely doping” was the explanation for the irregularities in Halep’s profile.

Halep has been provisionally suspended since October 2022 when the investigation began. This has been taken into account and her current suspension will run from 7 October 2022 until 6 October 2026.

In a public statement, Halep stated that she “refused to accept (the IATA’s) decision of a four year ban.” She maintains that she tested positive for roxadust due to a contaminated nutritional supplement.

She closed out her statement by stating “I intend to appeal this decision to The Court of Arbitration for Sport and seek legal actions against the supplement company involved.”

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