Serena Williams reacts to rival Simona Halep’s four-year doping suspension from tennis with cryptic tweet about 2019 Wimbledon final: ‘8 is a better number’

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  • Under the suspension, Halep will not be able to play until October of 2026 
  • Eugenie Bouchard, an outspoken anti-doping player, also Tweeted on Tuesday 
  • DailyMail.com provides all the latest international sports news 

Serena Williams couldn’t pass up the opportunity to make a comment about the suspension of her former tennis rival, Simona Halep.

The Romanian former world No. 1 was suspended from tennis for four years after testing positive for the banned substance roxadustat at last year’s US Open.

Williams took to Twitter after the suspension was upheld, saying, ‘8 is a better number’.

That’s likely in reference to the 2019 Wimbledon women’s singles final – where Halep denied Williams an eighth title.

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In addition to finding roxadustat, a drug to treat anaemia, in her blood, the International Tennis Integrity Agency also discovered irregularities in her blood passport system.

Serena Williams commented about the suspension of her former tennis rival Simona Halep

Serena Williams commented about the suspension of her former tennis rival Simona Halep

Halep, a two-time women's Grand Slam champion,  has been banned from tennis for four years

Halep, a two-time women’s Grand Slam champion,  has been banned from tennis for four years

Williams sent a cryptic tweet, referring to Halep's win at the 2019 Wimbledon women's final

Williams sent a cryptic tweet, referring to Halep’s win at the 2019 Wimbledon women’s final

Unless her appeal is successful she will not be able to compete again until 2026, when she will be 35.

Halep, who also won the 2018 French Open, was a respected and popular figure. She has maintained her innocence throughout the episode, which became public in October 2022 when the positive test was revealed from a urine sample at the US Open.

The player last night described herself as ‘shocked and disappointed’ and said she would be taking the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. 

She described the presence of roxadustat as at ‘an extremely low level’ and added that she adjusted her supplement regime last year on her team’s advice.

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Yet in announcing their ruling, the ITIA said: ‘The tribunal accepted Halep’s argument that she took a contaminated supplement, but determined the volume ingested could not have resulted in the concentration of roxadustat found. 

‘The ABP (biological passport) charge was also upheld, the tribunal stating they had no reason to doubt the unanimous “strong opinion” of three independent experts that “likely doping” was the explanation.’

Halep had a turbulent 2022. She split with long-time manager Virginia Ruzici and hired Serena Williams’ former coach Patrick Mouratoglou. 

After a first round loss at the US Open it emerged she was ending her season and divorcing — after less than a year of marriage — Toni Iuruc, a billionaire businessman.

Halep has been found to have committed two doping violations after an investigation

Halep has been found to have committed two doping violations after an investigation

Halep released a statement insisting she had been 'accidentally' exposed to roxadustat

Halep released a statement insisting she had been ‘accidentally’ exposed to roxadustat

Halep's ban will run from 7 October 2022 until 6 October 2026 but she is able to appeal the decision

Halep’s ban will run from 7 October 2022 until 6 October 2026 but she is able to appeal the decision

It was decided by a tribunal that 'likely doping' was the cause of her irregular samples

It was decided by a tribunal that ‘likely doping’ was the cause of her irregular samples

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Eugenie Bouchard, who has been outspoken against doping players before, also tweeted

Eugenie Bouchard, who has been outspoken against doping players before, also tweeted

Williams was not the only one who appeared to comment on Halep’s ban. Canadian Eugenie Bouchard, a tennis player who often speaks out against those who are found guilty of doping, said, ‘I was told not to tweet today.’

Bouchard and Halep have met in Grand Slam events before, but they haven’t had the same significance as a final.

In 2014, Bouchard beat her Romanian counterpart in straight sets of the Wimbledon semifinals to reach her first and only Grand Slam final. She lost that to Petra Kvitova.

They met again in the 2018 Australian Open second round, where Halep got some revenge. Halep would advance to the final of that tournament, where she lost to Caroline Wozniacki. 

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