Serena Williams - US Open 2022

Serena Williams branded ‘arrogant’ for alleged Simona Halep jibe

Serena Williams has faced backlash for her social media post following Simona Halep’s doping suspension, with the Romanian’s compatriot labelling the American as ‘arrogant’.

Williams posted to the social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter), “8 is a better number,” after it was announced that former No.1 Halep would be suspended until 2026 for two breaches of tennis’ anti-doping laws.

Many have speculated that this post from the 23-time Grand Slam champion was in relation to her 2019 Wimbledon final defeat to Halep, that prevented her from winning an eighth title at the grass major, despite the Romanian’s doping period taking place three years later.

Williams has not since commented on the matter, but Halep’s compatriot and former Billie Jean King Cup team member, Sorana Cirstea, has had her say.

“Serena as a player was extraordinarily good. As a person, she always had this arrogance,” Cirstea told Sport Romania. “She didn’t accept when someone could beat her or take a title from her.”

Halep has consistently denied ‘knowingly’ taking the substance known as roxadustat, and Cirstea also believes she is innocent, “I know Simona. I don’t think she ever consciously doped. This suspension is for an innocent person.”

Without naming Serena Williams specifically, Halep has also commented on those who have made comments about her suspension, “I think everyone has the right to judge me because the court has decided that I am guilty. Someone told me that some players make these hateful comments to me because I beat them.”

The 31-year-old has spoken of her intention to appeal the decision made by the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA), revealing that she was ‘in complete shock’ upon hearing the outcome of her case.

“I was confident after the hearing because there were so many things that made no sense and that are not fair,” said the two-time major winner. “When I received the decision, I was in complete shock. I could not believe that they suspended me for four years when we found the contamination and my blood was totally normal. They didn’t find anything bad in my blood.

Halep added, “It’s crazy that they made this decision with everything [her legal team presented]. They judged me on scenarios. There is no proof. It’s just insane.”

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.