Ukraine's Svitolina downs Russia's Potapova at Monterrey WTA

Reuters

Svitolina said on Monday she would not play against players from Russian or Belarus -- unless they were competing under a neutral banner -- as a protest against Russia's invastion of her homeland.

However the prospect of Svitolina boycotting her first round game was erased earlier Tuesday when the ATP and WTA issued a statement effectively granting her wish.

That left world number 15 Svitolina free to swat aside 20-year-old Potapova, ranked 81 in the world, with ease in a 6-2, 6-1 win.

Svitolina, who played in a yellow top and blue skirt, the colors of the Ukranian flag, thumped her chest repeatedly after wrapping up the win before shaking hands with Potapova. 

"It's a very special atmosphere each time I play here, and especially today, it's a very special match and moment for me," Svitolina said.

"I'm in a very sad mood, but I'm happy that I'm here playing tennis."

"I was just focused from the beginning. I was on a mission for my country."

Svitolina is donating the entirety of her earnings in Monterrey to the Ukrainian military.

"It's a very special event, all the prize money I earn here is going to the Ukrainian army, so thank you so much for the support," she said.


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