Romanian world No.25 tennis player Sorana Cirstea has criticised Serena Williams’ “arrogant” response to Simona Halep’s four-year ban for anti-doping rule violations.
Last week, Halep was charged with two breaches of the Tennis Anti-Doping Program.
According to the International Tennis Integrity Agency, the first charge related to Halep returning a positive test for the banned substance roxadustat at last year’s US Open.
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The second charge related to irregularities in Halep’s Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) with the World Anti-Doping Agency.
In response, Halep maintained that she had “never knowingly or intentionally used any prohibited substance” and declared that she would appeal the ban.
Halep, a two-time grand slam champion, defeated Williams in the 2019 women’s singles final at Wimbledon.
In the immediate aftermath of Halep’s ruling, Williams took to social media to suggest that the Wimbledon title should be bequeathed to her, awarding her an eighth All-England Club crown.
“8 is a better number,” she wrote on X, formally known as Twitter.
The accrued victory would also bump Williams up to 24 grand slam titles, drawing her level with Margaret Court as the most successful female tennis player of all time.
Cirstea took aim at the comment, claiming it shows Williams’ ego around winning.
“Serena as a player was extraordinarily good. As a person, she always had this arrogance. She didn’t accept when someone could beat her or took a title from her,” she told Sport Romania.
Halep believes that one of her nutritional supplements was contaminated with roxadustat and stated that she would “pursue all legal remedies against the supplement company in question”.
Cirstea also defended her countrywoman, claiming Halep was blameless.
“I know Simona. I don’t think she ever consciously doped. This suspension is for an innocent person,” she said.
“I was afraid to take anything, I was afraid to take an aspirin. I’m maybe a little paranoid, but it’s no joke. It’s every athlete’s nightmare.”
Halep’s suspension has been backdated and will run from October 7 2022 until October 6 2026.
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