Simona Halep bluntly rips Caroline Wozniacki's criticism: 'Why? Not important'

Halep appeared to be stunned by Wozniacki saying she should not have been awarded a Miami wildcard.

by Dzevad Mesic
Simona Halep bluntly rips Caroline Wozniacki's criticism: 'Why? Not important'
© Getty Images Sport - Megan Briggs

Simona Halep appeared to be stunned by Caroline Wozniacki's comments about her Miami return but shut it down by saying that "one person being negative" doesn't change the fact that many others were thrilled to see her back. 

On Tuesday, 32-year-old Halep officially played her first match since the 2022 US Open and having her doping ban reduced from four years to nine months

At a WTA 1000 tournament in Miami - for which Halep received a main draw wildcard - the former world No. 1 did well in her first match in a year and a half but Paula Badosa still won 1-6 6-4 6-3. 

After the CAS announced the Halep appeal case decision on March 5th, Miami gave the Romanian a main draw wildcard two days later. At the time, many were very positive about Miami's decision and looking forward to Halep's return. 

But when former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki was asked about Halep's return in Miami, she pretty much said that players returning from a doping ban shouldn't be helped with wildcards.

When told about Wozniacki's comments, Halep's first reaction was to ask: "Why did she say that?"

Then, Halep proceeded to highlight that the CAS determined that a banned substance entered her body through a contaminated substance.

"Yeah, but why? I didn't do anything wrong. I didn't cheat. I didn't dope. So it's better if we read the decision from CAS that it was a contaminated supplement, it wasn't doping. I never had something to do with doping. I never doped, so I'm not a cheater," Halep responded.

"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 giving me love, so I will take that."

Simona Halep
Simona Halep© Getty Images Sport - Megan Briggs

Halep reveals her true feelings on her comeback 

For a year and a half, Halep was battling to clear her name and prove that she was innocent. During that period, Halep often described her state as very stressful and didn't hide that the entire situation was negatively impacting her mental health. 

For Halep, Tuesday and playing in Miami marked a very special day because the two-time Grand Slam champion felt enormous satisfaction just to be out there playing again after everything that she had been through.

"I would rate it as a special day, honestly, considering the period I had. Playing so well, feeling so well on court, feeling so well outside of the court with so many people that are very nice to me and giving me the love, I would say that this day is going to stay very special for me," Halep said.

"Of course, I had many results in the past, big results. But here it's something more than tennis, it's something personal. I really love to see that people are appreciating me besides tennis and besides everything that happened."

Simona Halep
Simona Halep© Getty Images Sport - Megan Briggs

Halep has not yet set her goals 

This month, everything has been pretty quick for Halep, who in two days went from hearing that she was allowed to tennis to preparing for her next tournament. 

Against Badosa, Halep looked physically extremely well early on and her game was also sharp. While Halep didn't manage to beat Badosa, it was still a very encouraging performance and showed that the former world No. 1 certainly still has what it takes to compete at the highest level. 

However, Halep has yet to determine clear goals in her return as this month was just about preparing for Miami and making sure her comeback went well. Before the doping suspension, Halep had been one of the best players on the Tour for many years. 

"Here I came just because (of) the boost, the love for tennis, just brought me here. 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 sport," Halep said.

"Saying about goals and plans in the future, it's too early. I'm going home. I will need to practice harder because the level is very high these days, and then I will see."

Simona Halep
Simona Halep© Getty Images Sport - Brennan Asplen

Meanwhile, the next on Halep's schedule is representing Romania in the Billie Jean King Cup qualifiers against Slovakia between April 12-13 in Bratislava. 

Currently, Halep is not signed up for any of the clay tournaments scheduled for April. However, that will likely change in the upcoming days as the Romanian can get a wildcard for pretty much any tournament she wants to play. 

Simona Halep Caroline Wozniacki