On Tuesday, Simona Halep was served with a four-year ban by the AITA for pair of anti-doping violations.

Reactions to the outcome of the Romanian’s case poured in. There was sadness, there was outrage, there were goodbyes. And when a certain champion joined the conversation, it appeared there was some supreme shade.

With no context required, Serena Williams posted, “8 is a better number.”

Decoding what the eight might represent doesn’t require much investigative reporting. Williams lost to Halep in the 2019 Wimbledon final, when she was a) bidding for a 24th major singles title and b) seeking an eighth crown at the All England Club.


Halep famously won the match by committing just three unforced errors to pull off the surprising 6-2, 6-2 victory. Williams had only dropped one prior meeting in nine contested up until that point, and had never lost to the fellow former world No. 1 at a major until that day.

Williams' husband published a post titled, “some fashion is timeless,” after Halep's decision was handed down. Accompanying the caption was a photo that partially showed Ohanian wearing a D.A.R.E (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) t-shirt

Williams replied, “Seriously not out of style.” The 23-time major singles winner also liked a since deleted post from countrywoman Nicole Gibbs.

“Such a disappointment when you discover like half of your heroes from your sports days were cheating. Just so so frustrating and makes sports so dumb—not a fair fight and makes you wonder how many are skating by unnoticed (I think probably a lot),” said Gibbs.

Halep maintains she never doped intentionally and proclaimed that two of three experts reviewing the Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) charge against her changed their stances after learning of her identity. The 31-year-old, who was provisionally suspended last October, plans on appealing today's ruling.