Russia’s Anastasia Potapova should not publicly show support for her country during its invasion of Ukraine, world number one Iga Swiatek said on Monday as she criticised the player for showing up in a Spartak Moscow shirt at Indian Wells.
Potapova sparked outrage when she went out for her third-round match against third-seeded American Jessica Pegula on Sunday wearing the Russian Premier League team’s shirt.
“To be honest, I was surprised,” Poland’s Swiatek told a news conference following her own victory over Bianca Andreescu, when she was asked for a comment by a Polish journalist.
“I thought the player realised that she should not, even if she is a fan of the team, show her views in this way at such times.”
Swiatek has openly condemned Russia’s aggression against Ukraine since the war, which Moscow calls a ‘special miliatry operation’, started in February last year, while she actively engaged in promoting support for Ukrainians.
Swiatek, 21, has discussed the shirt incident with the WTA.
“I’ve talked to the WTA and in a way I found out that there should be less such situations because they will explain to other players that you can’t promote any Russian teams these days, which reassured me a bit,” she said.
“On the other hand, I think these situations unfortunately happen because this announcement should have taken place much earlier. There was a lot of chaos in the locker room at the beginning of the war.
“It was not clear how to approach everything, which causes such unpleasant situations. I think if there had been better leadership from the beginning, maybe we would have avoided such situations.”
When asked about the shirt, Potapova said after her match against Pegula, which she lost in three sets, that she had supported Spartak since she was 13 and saw no provocation in it.
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