Anastasia Potapova cops reprimand from WTA over outfit at Indian Wells

The Russian caused an almighty stir when she wore the jersey onto court.

Russian player Anastasia Potapova returning serve and Potapova walking onto court.
Russian player Anastasia Potapova (pictured) has been warned by the WTA for wearing a Russian football jersey onto court at Indian Wells. (Images: Getty Images/WTA)

Russian tennis player Anastasia Potapova has been officially warned after she wore a Russian football jersey onto court at Indian Wells. Potapova caused a huge stir in the tennis world, and criticism from World No.1 Iga Swiatek, when she entered court wearing Spartak Moscow shirt before her loss to American Jessica Pegula.

Russian and Belarusian players are currently barred from competing under their national flags due to the invasion of Ukraine, however they are allowed to play as neutral athletes. Potapova's move was always going to cause a strong reaction and Polish World No.1 Swiatek called out the move.

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"To be honest, I was surprised," Swiatek said in her post-match press conference after beating Bianca Andreescu on Monday. "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 called on the WTA to make sure repeat situations don't occur while on the WTA Tour. "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," the 21-year-old said.

Since the uproar, the governing body has warned the player over the provocative move. "Regarding the Russian soccer team shirt, the WTA has formally warned the player that this was not acceptable nor an appropriate action," the statement read.

"We do not expect to see any reoccurrence of this in the future." Earlier this week, Swiatek admitted there was tension in the locker room.

At Indian Wells, Ukraine player Lesia Tsurenko withdrew from her match against Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka. She claimed after her withdrawal that she had a panic attack after a discussion with WTA chief executive Steve Simon over tennis' response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Tsurenko said Simon did not personally support the war. However, she claimed she was 'shocked' over Simon's answers on tennis' response to Russia's invasion.

Anastasia Potapova serving.
The WTA has spoken to Anastasia Potapova (pictured) after she caused uproar when wearing a Russian football team's jersey at Indian Wells. (Photo by George Walker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The WTA responded with a statement after the interview was published on Big Tennis Ukraine. "First and foremost, we acknowledge the emotions Lesia and all of our Ukrainian athletes have and continue to manage during this very difficult period of time. We are witnessing an ongoing horrific war that continues to bring unforeseen circumstances with far reaching consequences that are affecting the world, as well as the global WTA Tour and its members," the statement read.

“The WTA has consistently reflected our full support for Ukraine and strongly condemn the actions that have been brought forth by the Russian government. With this, a fundamental principle of the WTA remains, which is ensuring that individual athletes may participate in professional tennis events based on merit and without any form of discrimination, and not penalised due to the decisions made by the leadership of their country.”

Daniil Medvedev adresses tension on tour

Earlier this week, Russian star Daniil Medvedev was also asked about the pressure on Ukrainian players. Medvedev reiterated his position for peace, saying: "First of all, I definitely do feel sorry for all the Ukrainian players and what they go through.

"For sure, the situation with Tsurenko, I don’t know details. It’s more for her and for maybe a little bit [Aryna] Sabalenka to answer because I actually didn’t know about this till the next day.

"Talking about top players, of course, we have a responsibility and it depends how every person, individual, will do with it and will hold with it. I always said the same, I’m for peace all over the world, to be honest, and that’s all I can say."

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