Infamous for His Nasty Comments on Serena Williams, Russian Tennis President Now Slams WTA and Iga Swiatek Over Indian Wells Row

Published 03/18/2023, 10:44 AM EDT

via Imago

Anastasia Potapova, the Russian tennis player, sparked a whole new controversy by expressing her love for her favorite soccer team on the tennis court. As Potapova was being chastised by the tennis community for her actions, Shamil Tarpischev, the head of the Russian Tennis Federation (RTF), came to her defense.

Yes, it is the same person who once was suspended for a year for his incredibly stupid and offensive comment about Serena and Venus Williams, calling them ‘Williams brothers’.

Now, his comment about the Russian tennis player wearing her favorite team’s football jersey was something that gives the tennis fans something to ponder about.


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Shamil Tarpischev’s take on Anastasia Potapova’s football jersey controversy 

In a recent conversation with Russia’s official state news agency, TASS, the RTF president expressed his take on the whole Potapova jersey controversy. For context, the 21-year-old got a warning from the WTA for wearing a FC Spartak Moscow jersey on the tennis court. She wore the jersey before her match against Jessica Pegula at Indian Wells.

Although, the general consensus is that wearing a Russian soccer team jersey would give rise to political tension amidst the Russian-Ukraine war situation.

However, the former Russian tennis player doesn’t feel the same. And shared that, the WTA should have handled the situation differently rather than jumping to conclusions.

He said, “This isn’t a coat of arms or flag, but a football club. I haven’t heard you can’t go out in club jerseys.” 

The 75-year-old former Russian coach stated that there is no such rule that a tennis player cannot wear a football jersey on the tennis court. With this statement, he clearly went against the Polish tennis player Iga Swiatek and the WTA’s take on the entire situation.


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While, on the one hand, a former Russian player came out in support of his fellow countryman. Meanwhile, the world’s number one WTA star, Iga Swiatek, was the first to express her concern about Potapova’s actions which forced the WTA to slap an official warning regarding the situation.

Iga Swiatek’s statement gave rise to the Potapova jersey controversy

The world’s number one tennis player’s statement regarding Potapova wearing the Russian football team’s jersey is what gave rise to the whole controversy. The three-time Grand Slam champion pointed out that the way the Russian tennis player showed her support for her favorite football team was a wrong call.


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Moreover, she explained that showing support for Russia on the tennis court was definitely not a good idea. And she also emphasized the fact that she has no idea why the Russian tennis player pulled such a bold move at a prestigious tournament like Indian Wells.



Pratishtha Prakash

818 articles

Pratishtha Prakash is a Tennis writer at EssentiallySports. She has completed her Bachelor’s degree in Mass Media and Journalism from MIT ADT University, Pune. In the past, she has interned at the sports desk of The Hitavada, a regional English daily newspaper.

Edited By: Arijit Saha