Former Ukrainian tennis player Alexandr Dolgopolov called Iga Swiatek "a huge example" after the Pole condemned Anastasia Potapova's decision to wear a Russian football club jersey in Indian Wells. Potapova, a Russian tennis player ranked at No 28 in the world, entered the court for the Jessica Pegula match wearing a Spartak Moscow jersey.
Potapova later tried to clarify the situation by insisting she was just a fan of the club. But Swiatek didn't find it as a good enough explanation as the Pole underlined that even if that was indeed the reason why Potapova wore the jersey, the Russian tennis player should not have done that in the times when everyone is condemning Russia's actions.
"It’s no doubt @iga_swiatek understands all the nonsense that’s going on around and shows empathy and huge example for others. Considering it’s in the moment she is super busy and #1, means there is giant.
Ukrainians feel this support and thank you," Dolgopolov tweeted.
It’s no doubt @iga_swiatek understands all the nonsense that’s going on around and shows empathy and huge example for others.
Considering it’s in the moment she is super busy and #1, means there is giant ❤️.
Ukrainians feel this support and thank you 🙏🏻 🇵🇱🇺🇦 https://t.co/XXp31CYgTv — Alex Dolgopolov (@TheDolgo) March 14, 2023
Dolgopov praises Swiatek condemning Potapova's actions
Swiatek, the world No 1 on the WTA Tour, had a conversation with the WTA after the Potapova controversy.
"I was surprised as I thought she realised that she should not, even if she is a fan of the team, show her views at such times. I talked to the WTA and I found out that these situations will probably be less, as they will explain to players that it is not allowed to promote any Russian teams now, which reassured me a little bit.
On the other hand, I think the message should have been sent much earlier," Swiatek said. On Monday, Ukrainian tennis player Lesia Tsurenko claimed that WTA CEO Steve Simon told her she should not be upset if there were Russian and Belarusian players supporting their governments because it was just their opinion.
Just a few hours later, Potapova came out on the court wearing a Russian football club jersey, in what many deemed as a provocative political move.