Simona Halep, Caroline Wozniacki trade barbs over doping scandal at Miami Open: ‘Why did she say that?’

Simona Halep went from suspended for doping to competing in one of tennis’ glamour tournaments in the span of just two weeks.

Caroline Wozniacki is calling “fault.”

The volleying of passive-aggressive shots between the former world No. 1s and two of the biggest names in tennis turned heads Tuesday at the Miami Open, where Halep returned to competition as a wild card following more than 18 months on the sideline while she litigated a doping ban.

“If someone has tested positive for doping, I understand why a tournament wants a big star in the tournament, but it’s my belief, and it’s not a knock on anyone, that I don’t think people should be awarded wild cards afterwards,” Wozniacki said, via PA Media. “If you want to come back, and it’s been a mistake, I understand, you should work your way up from the bottom.

Simona Halep lost her opening match at the Miami Open. Larry Marano/Shutterstock

“Simona’s situation has dragged on for a long time. She got her suspension reduced. It wasn’t a clearance, it was a reduced sentence. I just hope for a clean sport. That’s all I want. I want to have good role models for the young generation. It’s a sport that has a lot of money in it, a lot of competitiveness, a lot of competitors. I want a fair fight.”

Halep had not played on tour since testing positive for the banned drug roxadustat at the 2022 U.S. Open. Halep maintained, in a series of increasingly desperate Instagram posts, that she was innocent and the failed test was the result of being exposed to a contaminated supplement.

Two weeks ago, the four-year ban Halep received in 2023 was cut to nine months by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The suspension was over on time served, effectively.

The Miami Open then gave Halep a wild-card invitation to enter the tournament’s field.

She sounded incredulous over Wozniacki’s fact-checkable comments.

Caroline Wozniacki took issue with the wild-card decision. Getty Images

“Why did she say that? I didn’t do anything wrong. I didn’t cheat. I didn’t dope,” Halep proclaimed. “Thank you to the tournament for giving me the wild card and have the possibility to play in such a big tournament. It was great to be back.

“Only one person being negative about me is not that important because I have hundreds of people that are giving me love, so I will take that.”

Halep, the 32-year-old former Wimbledon and French Open, faded down the stretch of a 1-6, 6-4, 6-3 loss to Paula Badosa.

“I came because the boost, the love for tennis, just brought me here,” Halep said, according to The Athletic. “It was fast, because it was just a few days after the decision, but I’m really happy that I did it. I came here and I felt again the love for the sport.”

Simona Halep was perplexed by Carolina Wozniacki’s comments. Getty Images

Wozniacki, 33, is back on tour after a three-plus-year hiatus during which she gave birth to two children. She accepted wild-card berths into prestigious hardcourt tournaments while beginning her comeback in the summer of 2023.

With a 6-1, 6-4 win over Clara Burel, Wozniacki advanced to face No. 32 seed Anhelina Kalinina in the Round of 64.

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