The match between Anna Kalinskaya and Anastasia Potapova, for the access to the main draw of the WTA tournament in Cincinnati, ended up in the eye of the storm not for sporting merit or for the spectacle offered by the two players on the court.
As reported by journalist Ben Rothenberg on his Twitter account, Lola, a spectator on Court 8, was forced to leave the Lindner Family Tennis Center for displaying the Ukrainian flag during the match. One of the two protagonists of the match (Rothenberg decided not to publish her name, ed.), annoyed by the Ukrainian girl's protest, expressly asked the chair umpire Morgane Lara to order the spectator to put away the flag.
The referee of the dispute advised the woman not to display the flag so as not to upset the two players, considering their origin, labeling the gesture as not very nice and polite. Referring to the war waged by Russia in Ukraine, Lola responded in kind and pointed out that the only thing wrong with the affair concerns the invasion of a country.
Dolgopolov: "Display the Ukrainian flag"
The position taken by the player and the line judge has been around the world and has been strongly criticized by the press. Alexandr Dolgopolov, engaged on the front line against the Russian invasion, expressed all his disappointment on his social profiles and directly challenged both the ATP and the WTA.
The Ukrainian tennis player wrote on Twitter: "To all the people who have admired my tennis and who plan to follow the US Open live, I ask you to carry and display a flag of Ukraine in all matches involving Russian and Belarusian tennis players.
And I challenge the ATP and the WTA to make the same move again. Our country is drowning in blood and violence and no Russian will intimidate a quiet supporter with the flag of Ukraine. Have respect!" Here the original Twitter post: "To all the people who admired my tennis and planning to visit the US tournaments, I ask to bring a Ukraine flag to all russian or bellorusian matches they watch.
And I dare the @atptour @WTA to try this step again. Repost please." In the coming days should as a response to the issue from the WTA and ATP, especially also talking about the two players involved.
To all the people who admired my tennis and planning to visit the US tournaments, I ask to bring a Ukraine flag to all russian or bellorusian matches they watch.