Serena Williams appears to send pointed message over Simona Halep ban

Tennis icon Serena Williams appeared to respond to Simona Halep’s four-year ban by the ITIA (International Tennis Integrity Agency) in a pointed message on social media. The Romanian tennis player has been punished for anti-doping violations. 

Although the message was indirect, Williams took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to post, “8 is a better number.” The connection refers to Serena’s journey at the 2019 Wimbledon final, where she faced off against Halep but was denied an eighth single’s title at the tournament. 

Halep won the match with just three unforced errors, marking a surprising victory. Before that match, Williams had lost only once in nine previous meetings with Halep and had never been beaten by her at a major tournament.

It appears that Williams is not impressed with her former rival being found guilty of doping offenses and receiving a ban. 

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The ITIA has stated that 31-year-old Romanian tennis player Halep “committed intentional anti-doping rule violations” due to a failed drug test during the 2022 U.S. Open and irregularities in her Athlete Biological Passport. Halep, who intends to contest the decision, has been under provisional suspension since October 2022. 

Her four-year ban will be effective until October 6, 2026. The former world No. 1 in the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) rankings 2017 has a notable career, alongside her 2019 Wimbledon victory. One year prior, she won the French Open. 

“I am continuing to train and do everything in my power to clear my name of these false allegations and return to the court,” Halep said in a statement. “I intend to appeal this decision to The Court of Arbitration for Sport and pursue all legal remedies against the supplement company in question.”

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Alongside her post, Williams continued her silent endorsement on social media by liking a former American tennis player, Nicole Gibbs post. The post detailed the disappointment in finding out that your tennis heroes have tested positive for banned substances. 

“Such a disappointment when you discover like half of your heroes from your sports days were cheating,” wrote Gibbs on X. “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).”

Williams continued by liking another post on that platform from her husband, Alexis Ohanian, who ironically was wearing a D.A.R.E) shirt in the stands while she played Maria Sharapova, who was also once suspended for using a banned substance. D.A.R.E., short for Drug Abuse Resistance Education, is in Los Angeles. 

The program conducts classroom lessons led by police officers in schools to foster a drug-free lifestyle. Ohanian’s post read, “Some fashion is timeless,” hinting at the juxtaposition of the message on the shirt and the actual situation on the court. 

Halep has won 24 singles titles in her career, with £32,176,909 in prize money collected. The Romanian has been taken out of the WTA Tour rankings after her suspension. 

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