Former world number one Simona Halep has just been banned for four years for ‘intentional’ doping. The news has sent shockwaves through the tennis fraternity, as many cannot wrap their heads around this judgment. While fans are sympathetic to Halep’s misfortune, her peers Serena Williams and Nick Kyrgios seem less inclined so.
Williams took to X, formerly Twitter, to throw shade at the Romanian star. The 23-time Grand Slam champion tweeted that “8 is a better number.” While Serena did not provide any additional context for her vague tweet, fans were able to connect the dots. Halep had defeated Williams in the Wimbledon final in 2019, dashing her hopes of winning her 8th title at SW19.
Australian tennis star Nick Kyrgios was not far behind in this regard either. Kyrgios, who has never shied away from making controversial statements on X, wrote, “Champion… smh.”
— Nicholas Kyrgios (@NickKyrgios) September 13, 2023
However, at this juncture, it is unclear if his post was directed at Serena or Halep. Both women are champions, with Serena leading the title race with 23 major titles. Simona has also won the French Open in 2018, and Wimbledon in 2019.
Fans are also confused by Nick‘s tweet. Many users think it was directed at Williams, and one fan in particular thanked Kyrgios for calling Serena out. Another openly wondered if Williams was implying that Halep doped to win against her at Wimbledon. Here are a few reactions to Nick’s tweet.
— Prof. Anna Brown (@KiaNeu6) September 13, 2023
Is Serena implying that Halep was doping to win the Wimbledon final against her?? What’s going on!? 😳
— MNNX CHZ CHI (@nniminn) September 13, 2023
Someone should have called out Serena long time back . glad you did
— AshX (@DjokoAsh) September 13, 2023
These are trying times for Simona Halep. The veiled tweets by Serena and Kyrgios will not help the public’s perception of her either. Regardless, of whether Serena Williams thinks that she is entitled to an 8th Wimbledon title, the past cannot be changed.
The rivalry between Serena Williams and Simona Halep
Serena and Simona have locked horns 11 times in their careers, with Williams walking away victorious 9 times. However, their matchups got progressively more charged as the years passed, until Halep defeated her in 2019.
The two played each other for the first time in 2011, at SW19. Williams had just returned after an injury lay-off and Halep was only 19 years old at the time. Serena won the match 3-6, 6-2, 6-1. The last time they clashed was at the Australian Open in 2021. Despite 33 unforced errors, Williams defeated Halep 6-3, 6-3 in straight sets.
Between the two of them, Williams was the leading player with 23 Grand Slams, to Halep’s 2. Serena, however, retired from the sport in 2022.
Simon Halep has been dealt a harsh blow but she plans to contest this decision. Nick Kyrgios is currently sidelined due to injuries and will make a comeback next year. As for Serena, she is happily retired and just gave birth to a second daughter.