In a long and multi-layered drama, tennis journalist Matt Dowell has criticized Sorana Cirstea after the Romanian player called Serena Williams 'arrogant.' This came after the tennis legend threw shade at Simona Halep in light of her doping ban.
Former World No. 1 Halep was hit with a four-year suspension earlier this month due to anti-doping violations. In October last year, the Romanian player was provisionally suspended after she tested positive for the banned substance roxadustat. In May of this year, she received a second charge as a result of irregularities in her Athlete Biological Passport (ABP).
After almost a year, the tribunal was finally held and the verdict was given, with Halep stating that she was 'shocked and disappointed' by the International Tennis Integrity Agency's (ITIA) decision. Meanwhile, the tennis world has had a divided reaction.
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Serena Williams and Sorana Cirstea's contrasting reactions
Halep's compatriot Cirstea defended her colleague, saying that she believed in the two-time Grand Slam champion's innocence. However, 23-time major champion Serena Williams was much more critical of Halep in the aftermath of the ITIA's verdict.
The American posted the loaded tweet: "8 is a better number," shortly after the news was announced. This not only suggests that she thinks Halep's suspension should be doubled to eight years, but also refers to the 2019 Wimbledon final, where Halep defeated Williams, consequently stopping the latter from winning her eighth title at the grasscourt major.
Following this, Cirstea hit out at Williams, calling her 'arrogant.'
"Serena as a player was extraordinarily good, but as a person, she always had this arrogance. She didn't accept when someone could beat her or when someone took a title from her," Cirstea said.
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Dowell hits back at Cirstea's comments about Williams
However, the drama did not stop there, as journalist Dowell defended Williams in light of Cirstea's remarks, sarcastically saying that it was 'bold' of her to criticize the 41-year-old in this situation.
"Wild to me that people have been more up in arms over Serena's tweet than they have been over Halep's actual drug suspension, especially after all the info released last week. It's also bold to say this about Serena when Cirstea won a total of 7 games in 3 matches against her," Dowell wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.