Simona Halep's telling comments about Maria Sharapova re-emerge
Tennis fans have dragged Maria Sharapova into the Simona Halep saga after the Romanian's comments about the Russian's ban in 2016 have re-emerged.
Halep has been embroiled in the biggest doping drama in the sport since Sharapova in 2016 after the Romanian failed a doping test from a sample at the US Open for the blood-boosting drug Roxadustat.
HUGE: Djokovic's staggering move amid Simona Halep doping furore
'TOTAL MESS': Ash Barty at centre of bizarre WTA controversy
The former World No.1 has been provisionally suspended, but has vowed to clear her name after denying any wrongdoing.
"Today begins the hardest match of my life: a fight for the truth," she wrote.
"Facing such an unfair situation, I feel completely confused and betrayed. I will fight until the end to prove that I never knowingly took any prohibited substance and I have faith that, sooner or later, the truth will come out."
Halep, a fan favourite, has also received plenty of support from the tennis community.
Her former coach, Darren Cahill, has fervently defended her integrity.
While current coach Patrick said he will back Halep to clear her name.
Meanwhile, Novak Djokovic's Professional Tennis Players Association has also offered Halep support.
However, fans have dug up Halep's comments years ago about her rival Sharapova.
Halep was quite critical of Sharapova following the Russian's failed test for meldonium back in 2016.
Sharapova faced a two-year ban, but it was reduced to 15 months after an appeal.
The Russian admitted she had been taking the drug (at the time legal) for years, but failed to realise it had been placed on the banned substance list on January 1.
Her ban finished before April 2017, which then prompted the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix to hand Sharapova a wildcard.
When Halep was questioned on the wildcard for her rival, she offered a critical view on athletes that have been found to have doped.
"For the kids, for the young players, it is not okay to help a player with a wild card who was banned for doping," Halep said at the time.
"It is not about Maria Sharapova here, but it is about all the players that are found doped. I cannot support what the tournament director did, but also, I cannot judge."
When she was asked in 2016 on whether she had reached out to Sharapova, Halep responded: "I didn't speak with her before, there's no reason to speak now."
Since Halep's own incident, there has been backlash about her comments.
While Halep will fight to to clear her name, many have claimed the two players have been treated differently by fans and the media after initially failing a drug test.
The silence on simona's doping ban is baffling lol. Sharapova was vilified, bullied, taunted and so so many cheap articles but Simona gets with no accountability? Not saying Simona should be vilified or anything, just pointing out hypocrisy and the agenda is so clear now.
— High Blood Pressure (@thetwinkwolf) October 22, 2022
I think the biggest difference in the media treatment of Sharapova and Halep is that Maria immediately called a press conference and admitted guilt. She blew up her own defense from the jump.
— janie jimplin (@landyklk) October 22, 2022
Statement from Halep.
Even if she proves her version, her best case scenario probably won’t be great… for her career
She turned 31 in September. pic.twitter.com/X1fGAPPeeu
— José Morgado (@josemorgado) October 21, 2022
Tennis world rallies behind Simona Halep
Halep, who suffered a shock loss to Daria Snigur in the first round of the US Open in September, decided to end her season to an end last month following nasal surgery.
She was notified of her failed test on October 7.
However, the Romanian has received plenty of support since the bombshell news and one of the biggest supporters is her former coach.
Cahill spent six years as Halep's coach, which brought with it a Roland Garros title, and fervently defended the 31-year-old Romanian.
"Simona wore out the words 'please double check this, triple check this to make sure it's legal, safe and permitted. If you are not sure, I'm not taking it," he wrote.
"We both believe in the ITIA testing program and would often discuss the number of times she was tested, both at tournaments and randomly.
"She did it without complaint, with the reassurance of knowing other athletes were being tested just as frequently.
"Competing against clean athletes was important to her.
"Simona's integrity is faultless, she respects her peers, she loves the game and she always has her feet firmly planted on the ground as a humble, approachable champion."
He finished with: "I stand with Simo."
Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.