Elina Svitolina wore the yellow and blue of Ukraine to beat Anastasia Potapova of Russia 6-2, 6-1 in the first round of the Monterrey Open, concluding that participating rather than boycotting the match would be more beneficial to her country.
Top-seeded Svitolina had previously stated that she would not face Potapova in Mexico, or any other Russian or Belarusian opponent, until the International Tennis Federation and the men’s and women’s tennis circuits prohibited participants from those nations from using national insignia, flags, or anthems.
The tennis governing organisations released a statement on Tuesday announcing that Russian and Belarusian players will be able to compete at the highest level without their national flags. “Today was a very special match for me,” Svitolina, who is 27 years old, remarked.
She also announced that all her earnings from the tournament will go to the Ukrainian army fighting the occupying Russian army.
Svitolina stated in a social media post on Monday that her goal in requesting tennis follow the International Olympic Committee’s lead and only identify players from Russia and Belarus as neutral athletes were not to target a particular rival.
She thanked all her supporters and the Ukrainian army after her stellar performance.