Serena Williams was one of the greatest players in tennis history. She won 23 Grand Slams in her illustrious career, but, the legend finished one trophy behind Margaret Court. Of course, there’s always that controversial debate about the Open Era.

Meanwhile, Simona Halep emerged as a top rival for Serena. In 2019, the star from Romania gave a tremendous performance beating her 6-2 and 6-2 in the final of the tournament. The match only lasted 56 minutes.

Now, after Halep received a historic doping ban, Serena Williams published and incredible message. It seems that she wants a shot at the overall record of Grand Slams which now belongs to Novak Djokovic thanks to his win at the US Open.

What happened between Serena Williams and Simona Halep?

Simona Halep got a four-year suspension from the International Tennis Integrity Agency because of two different anti-doping rule violations. She will appeal the decision.

Halep was provisionally suspended in October of 2022 after testing positive for roxadustat at last year’s US Open. When the announcement became official, Serena Williams immediately reacted on social media.

The tennis legend published a very cryptic message on Twitter which seems to be aimed at Simona Halep and that famous 2019 Wimbledon final. “8 is a better number”.

Though there were no more details, Williams also liked some tweets related to the subject. The post could mean that if she hadn’t lost to the Romanian player, her total number of Grand Slams would be 24 tied with Novak Djokovic. However, Halep’s positive was on 2022 and there was nothing wrong in 2019.

In a very interesting detail, Eugenie Bouchard was the other player who joined Williams expressing her feelings about the situation with an ironic message. “I was told no to tweet today.” It came accompanied of a silent emoji.

What is the use of roxadustat?

Roxadustat is an oral medicament which is commonly used to treat anemia in cases of chronic kidney disease. The crucial thing in this case, which triggered Simona Halep’s suspension, is that the substance increases the production of red blood cells. This process is also known as erythropoiesis.

This situation is prohibited because roxadustat helps the production of erythropoietin. You might have heard of this term in cycling, especially in the Tour de France’s scandals.

EPO has been used by many cyclists to enhance their performance in such tough competitions and environments, because it increases the blood’s capacity to carry oxygen. Of course, that becomes an enormous advantage for the athlete.