Halep reacts to Wozniacki’s comment that dopers should not be given wildcards

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Despite losing her first match following her return from a doping ban, Simona Halep is thrilled to be competing again, displaying nothing but positive emotions about her return to tennis, as evidenced by the wide smile on her face. Not even Caroline Wozniacki’s negative comments that dopers should not be awarded wildcards could ruin the Romanian’s good mood.

Simona Halep waves to the Miami crowd with a smile on her face

Playing her first tennis match in 18 months, after having her four-year doping ban reduced to nine months, Halep lost 1-6 6-4 6-3 to Paula Badosa in the first round of the Miami Open. Even though her comeback was not victorious, the former world No.1 has a different perspective now, and left the court with a wide smile on her face, happy to even have an opportunity to compete. She later shared on social media: “Today will always feel like a victory.”

Simona Halep at the 2024 Miami Open

Taking a seat at the post-match press conference, brimming with happiness and excitement, Halep’s first comment was: “I missed this.” She went on to share that the positive energy from the crowd during her match had energized her, leading to a flood of positive emotions and a general feeling of acceptance. Additionally, she expressed satisfaction with the level of play she exhibited in her first match back. All in all, the two-time Grand Slam champion will forever remember it as “a special day” in her life.

Reflecting on her journey, the 32-year-old acknowledged that the announcement of her original four-year doping ban was the lowest point of her absence. She admitted that without the ban reduction, her career would most likely have ended. “Four years, it’s a lot, and I’m not that young anymore,” she stated. “But it didn’t happen, so I’m happy I’m here today.”

Not even Caroline Wozniacki’s remarks that dopers should not get wildcards on their return could phase Halep. The Romanian reminded everyone that the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled her intake of a prohibited substance as unintentional (a consequence of a contaminated supplement), therefore, she was not a doper.

Although she didn’t explicitly refer to Halep, the former world No.1 Wozniacki stated that players that served a doping ban “should work their way up from the bottom”. Halep’s response to that was: “Why she said that? Because I didn’t do anything wrong. I didn’t cheat. I didn’t dope.” Halep thanked the Miami Open tournament for giving her a wildcard and proceeded to comment on Wozniacki: “Only one person being negative about me is not that important, because I have hundreds of people giving me love.”

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