Misc Tennis

WTA Warns Potapova for Wearing Moscow Team Soccer Shirt

WTA Warns Potapova for Wearing Moscow Team Soccer Shirt

By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Thursday, March 16, 2023

A top tiff is the latest sign of growing tension on the WTA Tour.

Russian player Anastasia Potapova was “formally warned” by the WTA after repeatedly wearing a Moscow Spartak soccer team jersey on social media.

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The Russian flag, symbols and branding are banned on the pro tour in condemnation of Russia’s unprovoked invasion of neighboring Ukraine. At the Australian Open in January, a small group of fans waving Russian flags and pro war symbols were booted from the Melbourne major.

β€œRegarding the Russian soccer team shirt, the WTA has formally warned the player that this was not acceptable nor an appropriate action,” WTA spokesperson Amy Binder told CNN. β€œWe do not expect to see any reoccurrence of this in the future.”

Potapova posted this image of her wearing the Moscow Spartak soccer jersey while on court at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

The WTA’s statement on Potapova comes two days after world No. 1 Iga Swiatek called out both the WTA and players themselves to do more to support Ukrainian players.

Swiatek strong stand came after she was asked her reaction to the Lesia Tsurenko case.

Ukrainian Tsurenko withdrew from Indian Wells prior to her scheduled match vs. Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka saying she suffered a panic attack after hearing WTA Chief Steve Simon’s statements on Russian players.

β€œThere is a lot of tension in the locker room that – well, obviously it’s going to be there, because there is a war,” Swiatek said. β€œBut maybe it should be a little bit less if WTA put some action at the beginning to kind of explain to everybody what is right and what is not.

β€œI totally understand why she withdrew, because honestly, like, I respect Ukrainian girls like so much, because if like a bomb landed in my country or if my home was destroyed, I don’t know if I could handle that, honestly, and play on WTA and compete.”

Tsurenko was quoted by Ukrainian media as saying she was “absolutely shocked” by comments from WTA CEO Simon.Β Β 

β€œHe told me that he himself does not support the war, but if the players from Russia and Belarus support it, then this is only their own opinion, and the opinion of other people should not upset me,” Tsurenko was quoted as saying. “At the same time, he noted that if this happened to him and he was in my place, he would feel terrible.”

Asked his reaction to the issue, Russian Daniil Medvedev told the media in…

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