WTA CEO Steve Simon has responded to Iga Swiatek calling for the WTA to show more support to Ukrainian players as the WTA chief insists the organization condemns Russia’s actions and is doing its best to support Ukrainian players.
On Monday, Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko claimed she had a panic attack after her conversation with WTA CEO Simon. Also this week in Indian Wells, Russian tennis star Anastasia Potapova entered the court in Indian Wells wearing a Russian football club Spartak Moscow shirt.
Swiatek, ranked at No 1 on the WTA Tour, criticized Potapova’s action and said that could have been avoided had the WTA shown better leadership and imposed stricter sanctions. Now, WTA CEO Simon says they warned Potapova that her actions “were not appropriate.”
WTA CEO Simon addresses Swiatek’s comments
“We continue to do as much as we have the ability to do.
We have done a lot for our athletes, I know there’s a variety of opinions on that out there. What’s going on in Ukraine is reprehensible. You can’t support it any way – nor what the Russian government is doing. We spoke with Anastasia directly and also have given her a warning so she knows that this was not appropriate and I don’t think we will see any further instances of this going forward,” Simon told BBC Sport.
In recent weeks, there have been reports coming out of Great Britain indicating that Russian and Belarusian players will be allowed to return to Wimbledon this year. Following the recent developments in the tennis world, some feel tennis’ resistance to Russia’s aggression on Ukraine is weakening.
But Simon does not agree with that claim. “Our sympathies are at the highest level with everybody in Ukraine and I don’t think any of us can properly understand what they are going through. I don’t think that any of this is lessening what’s going on over there,” Simon said.