Now We Know What It Takes To Beat Serena Williams | Simona Halep’s Doping Scandal Sets Serena Williams Fans On Fire

Halep is the most well-known tennis player to face a doping ban since five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova tested positive for a newly banned substance at the 2016 Australian Open. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

When tennis star Simona Halep was popped for a positive drug test for a banned substance, it sent shock waves through the tennis world. Especially for Serena Williams fans who are still feeling the sting of Halep defeating Williams at Wimbledon in 2019.

However, the former world No. 1 says she didn’t take the drug and is vowing to clear her name. Still, Serena’s fans are riding for her, and now it opens up questions about the validity of the 2019 win.

That defeat kept Williams one major title short of Margaret Court’s all-time record, although Williams has played in subsequent Grand Slams, including the 2019 U.S. Open, where she also lost in the final.

On Friday, Oct. 21, the 31-year-old Halep said she felt “completely confused and betrayed” after discovering that she was provisionally suspended by the International Tennis Integrity Agency, the anti-doping agency for tennis. Halep tested positive for the banned substance roxadustat. Halep is a two-time Grand Slam champion and is currently No. 9 in the WTA rankings.

She now faces a possible four-year ban from tennis after failing a drug test during the U.S. Open. Halep tweeted that she would start a “fight for the truth” and noted that her test showed “an extremely low quantity.”

“I will fight until the end to prove that I never knowingly took any prohibited substance, and I have faith that sooner or later, the truth will come out,” Halep posted.

Under the World Anti-Doping Code, Halep faces a ban of up to four years for her positive test. Halep can acquire a reduction from the prohibition, possibly for three years, if they quickly admit an offense and accept their sanction.

Tennis authorities will handle Halep’s case, and she can appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. During a provisional suspension, a tennis player is ineligible to compete in, or attend, any sanctioned events.

Roxadustat is a drug approved for medical use in the European Union to treat the symptoms of anemia caused by chronic kidney failure. It stimulates the body to produce more of the natural hormone erythropoietin, or EPO.

Halep considered retirement early this year after a series of injuries. However, she said she felt rejuvenated after teaming up in April with coach Patrick Mouratoglou, who used to work with Serena Williams.

When Halep defeated Williams in the 2019 Wimbledon final 6-2, 6-2 it was Williams’ most lopsided defeat in 32 Grand Slam finals, dating from 1999.

It does make you raise an eyebrow.

Halep is the most well-known tennis player to face a doping ban since five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova tested positive for a newly banned substance at the 2016 Australian Open.

Sharapova was initially given a two-year suspension but appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which reduced the penalty, ruling she bore “less than significant fault” in the case and could not “be considered to be an intentional doper.”

Serena Williams’ fans feel Halep’s win over her is questionable as is now her career.

Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. Rhett hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.