Caroline Wozniacki gets blunt on Miami giving Simona Halep WC after doping ban

Wozniacki didn't seem to be too thrilled or happy about Halep's Miami return.

by Dzevad Mesic
Caroline Wozniacki gets blunt on Miami giving Simona Halep WC after doping ban
© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Simona Halep didn't really receive a warm welcome back message from Caroline Wozniacki as the Dane didn't seem to be too happy with the Romanian receiving a Miami wildcard in her first tournament since her doping ban. 

After getting a four-year doping ban on the allegations of using Roxadustat and irregularities in her athlete biological passport, Simona took her case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and earlier this month saw her doping ban reduced to just nine months. 

Since Halep had been out of action for a year and a half, that verdict meant she was free to return to tennis immediately and a WTA 1000 tournament in Miami made sure she would not have to wait for too long and gave her a main draw wildcard into the tournament that started this week. 

And on Tuesday, two-time Grand Slam champion Halep kicked off her comeback. After a strong start, Halep failed to maintain the same level for the entire match as former world No. 2 Paula Badosa earned a 1-6 6-4 6-3 comeback win. 

Simona Halep
Simona Halep© Getty Images Sport - Brennan Asplen

In Miami, Halep received very strong support and many players sounded happy about the 32-year-old being back to action. But Wozniacki - who defeated Halep in the 2018 Australian Open final for her first and lone Grand Slam title - didn't agree that the Romanian or any other player returning from a doping ban should be receiving wildcards.

Wozniacki on Halep returning from a doping ban in Miami with a wildcard

After ousting Clara Burel 6-1 6-4, Wozniacki was asked directly to share her thoughts on Halep's Miami comeback.

"Well, first of all, I've always liked Simona. We've always had a good relationship," Wozniacki said.

"I've been very outspoken in the past how I feel about doping and all of that. I think my view on doping is the same. I have always wanted a clean sport, fair for everybody. I think it's definitely still my opinion.

"Again, this is not directly at Simona, but if someone purposely cheats, if someone has tested positive for doping... I understand why a tournament wants a big star in the tournament, but it's my personal belief, and it's not a knock on anyone, but it's my personal belief that I don't think people should be awarded wild cards afterwards.

"If you want to come back, and it's been a mistake, I understand, you should work your way up from the bottom. That's my personal opinion upon things."

Caroline Wozniacki
Caroline Wozniacki© Getty Images Sport - Megan Briggs

Wozniacki: Halep only got her suspension reduced... 

During and throughout the entire doping process, Halep maintained her innocence and insisted that banned substance Roxadustat only entered her body through a contaminated supplement and that she couldn't be blamed there.

When announcing the decision in the Halep case, the CAS said that the former world No. 1 "bore some level of fault or negligence for her violations" but that she "bore no significant fault or negligence." When it comes to the athlete biological passport charge, the Romanian was cleared there.

But Wozniacki argues that the CAS reducing Halep's suspension to nine months still meant that she did something wrong.

"Simona's situation has obviously dragged on for a long time. She got her suspension reduced. It wasn't a clearance, it was a reduced sentence. She's now been off of the game for a while and she's coming back," Wozniacki added.

"Again, 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.

"I've always been a very honest athlete and always looked at everything that I've taken. Even taking Tylenol is something I double and triple-check three times. All I want is for my kids to look up and say, You know what, I want to play tennis and I want to play fair.

"I still got a chance. I want to be out there competing fair and square with everyone else. That's my view on things, how I'm raising my kids as well."

Caroline Wozniacki
Caroline Wozniacki© Getty Images Sport - Megan Briggs

For Halep, the decision the CAS made was the game-changer for her as if her initial four-year doping ban remained, she would have been allowed to return to tennis only in 2026 October. By then, Halep would have been 35 and it would have been hard to imagine her returning to tennis at that age after being out of action for four years. 

Meanwhile, the clay season starts in April and Halep will likely get more main draw wildcards in the upcoming period. 

Caroline Wozniacki Simona Halep