The news of Simona Halep’s ban has sent shockwaves throughout the tennis fraternity. The International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA) found her guilty of two anti-doping violations. As soon as the news broke, tennis legend Serena Williams wasted no time in making her stance on this matter crystal clear. As skillful as she was on the tennis court in her prime, Williams aimed for Halep’s jugular on social media.
Simona had tested positive for Roxadustat at the US Open last year. It is a banned drug since it increases the red blood cell count, thus giving athletes an added advantage. To add insult to injury, the ITIA also found irregularities in the Romanian’s Athlete Biological Passport (ABP). The ABP is used to monitor certain blood indicators, measured against a standard baseline reading.
The news came as a big blow to Halep and tennis fans in general. But Serena immediately took to X (formerly Twitter) to indirectly state that she deserved to win her eighth Wimbledon title.
8 is a better number.
— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) September 12, 2023
Williams and Halep locked horns at the Wimbledon final in 2019, where Simona defeated Williams. Serena was chasing an eighth title at SW19, but the Romanian defeated her 6-2, 6-2 in straight sets.
However, in light of this news, fans are looking at Halep’s Wimbledon win through a different lens. Many have wondered if she had started doping as early as 2019. While the truth of these fan speculations cannot be ascertained, Halep was the better player than Serena in that final.
For any avoidance of doubt. Simona Halep beat Serena Williams fair and square in the 2019 Wimbledon final.pic.twitter.com/v4wGGg7bYJ
— Pavvy G (@pavyg) September 13, 2023
Serena Williams might feel entitled to another Wimbledon title, Halep still won it fairly. And there is no evidence to suggest otherwise just yet.
Serena Williams caught liking a now-deleted post
Simona’s case has once again raised serious questions, as the world grapples with the fallout from it. Fans and tennis players alike have expressed their disappointment at Halep.
Former American tennis player Nicole Gibbs took to X (formerly Twitter) to state what many have been wondering. “Such a disappointment when you discover like half of your heroes from your sports days were cheating. Just so so frustrating and makes sports so dumb – not a fair fight and makes you wonder how many are skating by unnoticed (I think probably a lot)” she wrote (via Tennis World USA).
Serena was caught liking this tweet, which has since been deleted by Gibbs. In doing so, Williams made her feelings about this doping case very clear.
Simona Halep’s name has been dragged through the mud ever since the news came out. Serena Williams is one among many players to express their views, Nick Kyrgios being another. Halep has promised to challenge this appeal. Her fight for justice has only just begun.