Russia's Anastasia Potapova Says She Has Received More Support Since T-Shirt Controversy - UBITENNIS
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Russia’s Anastasia Potapova Says She Has Received More Support Since T-Shirt Controversy

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Anastasia Potapova says she was surprised by the reaction she received after being issued a warning from the WTA for wearing a Russian football shirt.

The world No.24 came under scrutiny last month at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells for wearing a Spartak Moscow football team shirt during a warm-up on the court. Although such a decision wasn’t against the rulebook, it prompted criticism from other players who perceived it as a gesture of support towards Russia whose government has been conducting military operations in neighbouring Ukraine for over a year which has killed thousands of people.  

Women’s world No.1 Iga Swiatek said Potapova shouldn’t have “shown her views in this way at such times” due to tensions between players from Russia and Ukraine. Subsequently, the WTA formally spoke with Potapova about the incident. 

Speaking about the incident during an interview with the Russian website Championat, the 22-year-old said she received many supportive messages afterwards but has insisted that her actions were in no way a sign of support for the war. 

“I felt support from the Russian media and from many foreign media. Even increased activity in social networks, it became an unexpected hype. I received a lot of messages: “Nastya, do not pay attention, everything is fine, we know that there is nothing wrong with this,’” she said. 
”They spoke with support in different languages: they wrote not only in Russian. Never in my life have I received so many Russian-speaking people at this time, and with words of support.”

Under current rules, Russian and Belarussian players are only allowed to compete on the Tour as neutral athletes. However, they are currently suspended from all team events for the foreseeable future. 

Last year Wimbledon was the only Grand Slam to implement a blanket ban but has reversed their decision this year following pressure from tennis’ governing bodies. It is understood that as a compromise players from those countries will be required to sign a document pledging not to demonstrate pro-war or pro-government gestures at the tournament. 

Potapova has confirmed that she is yet to hear anything from the WTA regarding such a declaration. However, would she be willing to sign one? 

I read about this in the media, but personally no one from the WTA has approached me and said: “Here, Nastya, in a month we will send a paper to the post office, you will need to make a signature,” said Potapova who won the 2016 Wimbledon girls’ title. 
“I will make a signature, but who will be easier from it? It won’t end, it won’t change anything. I have repeatedly expressed my opinion about everything that happens. And like any reasonable person, I am against what is happening. But if you have to sign (a declaration) to go to England, I think all of us will. Because after all, we are athletes, our age is not so long, and we want to play as much as possible. Especially when it comes to the Grand Slam tournament.”

Potapova has won 15 out of 23 matches played so far this season and is on the verge of breaking into the top 20 for the first time. She won her second Tour title in Linz earlier this year and more recently was a quarter-finalist at the Miami Open.

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Novak Djokovic Withdraws From Masters 1000 Event In Madrid

Novak Djokovic will miss the Masters 1000 event in Madrid and will look to build up his Roland Garros preparations in Rome.

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Novak Djokovic has withdrawn from the Masters 1000 event in Madrid as he aims for quality over quantity in his bid for Roland Garros glory.

The world number one has had a rough start to the season by his standards as he is yet to win a title this season after a semi-final defeat to Jannik Sinner at the Australian Open.

Djokovic was hoping a change of surface would bring a change of fortunes but the Serb was defeated in three sets in the semi-finals of Monte-Carlo.

Now it seems that result has made Djokovic rethink his schedule as the current Roland Garros champion has withdrawn from Madrid.

No official reason has been given although the news seems to be not that surprising given Djokovic’s history in the Spanish capital.

The Serb hasn’t played since 2022, where he was beaten by Carlos Alcaraz in the semi-finals, and has now won the title there for five years.

It looks like Djokovic will be putting his faith into more favourable conditions in Rome, which is the most similar to Roland Garros in terms of conditions.

Djokovic is a six-time champion in the Italian capital and will aim for a seventh title when he plays there on the 8th of May.

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Thanasi Kokkinakis Questions ‘Insane’ Drug Testing

Thanasi Kokkinakis has been tested three times within the last six days.

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Thanasi Kokkinakis has questioned persistent drug testing after he revealed he was tested three times in six days.

The Australian is in good form at the moment having won the Sarasota Challenger in Florida.

Kokkinakis claimed glory with a three set win over Zizou Bergs in the final as he continues to climb the rankings.

However that glory has been overshadowed by the fact that Kokkinakis has revealed he was drug tested three times within a six day period.

The world number 94 described it as ‘insane’ and it comes after Alexandre Muller complained of persistent drug testing after his recent defeats.

Doping has been a huge topic of conversations with Simona Halep losing two years of her career after testing positive after the US Open before the Court Of Arbitration For Sport shortened her case.

Kokkinakis will be hoping that this is the last time he has to deal with persistent drug testing as he continues his clay court season.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas Saves Two Match Points To Extend Winning Streak In Barcelona

Stefanos Tsitsipas survived a scare to reach the Barcelona semi-finals.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas saved two match points to defeat Facundo Diaz Acosta 4-6 6-3 7-6(8) in Barcelona.

The former finalist saved two match points against the inspired Argentinian as Tsitsipas reached the semi-finals.

It means Tsitsipas is 9-0 in the clay court season and has the chance to set up a potential rematch with Casper Ruud in the final.

The duo met in last week’s Monte-Carlo final where Tsitsipas claimed his third title in Monaco.

Speaking after the match Tsitsipas admitted it was difficult to sustain his level, “I was coming close [to losing] at certain moments in the match. It seemed like a mountain,” Tsitsipas stated to the ATP website.

“I reminded myself that I have a headband that I wear here that has a mountain and that I need to climb it, so it kept me going. It was difficult. It was extremely difficult to sustain the same level throughout the entire match and I think he played incredible.

“I think he left everything out there. He is a good clay-court player. He has a title on the ATP Tour for a reason and today it was a level he was able to bring out on the court that made it quite obvious.

“I got a little bit tense on my serve, I won’t lie. I think I started decelerating a lot, but once I got a hold of that I was conscious of that, it went back to where it belonged and helped me a lot in the tie-breaker because if I didn’t figure it out, I don’t know. It was very mental in general. I really had to go to uncomfortable places mentally and go over the limit at some point.”

Tsitsipas is currently seven in the world in the live rankings as the Greek is looking to claim his first title in Barcelona.

Next up for the Greek will be either Dusan Lajovic or Arthur Fils while Tomas Martin Etcheverry takes on Casper Ruud in the other semi-final.

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