Eurosport tennis expert Mats Wilander has defended Iga Swiatek following the hand-waving criticism as he thinks that players should feel free to express themselves on the court. During last month’s San Diego Open final versus Donna Vekic, Swiatek found herself in controversy after seemingly trying to distract the Croatian.
While Vekic was preparing to hit a shot at the net, Swiatek raised her arms and started waving them in an attempt to distract the Croatian. Vekic won the point but Swiatek still caught criticism for what some deemed as very unsportsmanlike.
“I think part of being a tennis player today and getting the most out of yourself, I think what you project outwards is really important, because the other players are soaking up what they see. If I was the coach, would I try to get her to tone that down? Most probably because other players eat it up, but at the same time we want you to be yourself, and if that what comes out, that needs to come out of you,” Wilander told Eurosport.
Wilander defends Swiatek
“Iga Swiatek is driven, and when you’re that driven, sometimes you don’t know what you do physically in terms of arms up in the air or whatever so I don’t think it’s anything to worry about.
But I think for other players, yeah they look at it, and try to think ‘wow, maybe she’s a bit disappointed in herself’,” Wilander added. In an interview with Polish media, Swiatek said she wasn’t aware of what she was doing when she raised her arms and tried to distract Vekic.
Swiatek described it as a stress reaction and revealed that Vekic accepted her apology after the match. That was not the first time that Swiatek caught criticism for the exact same thing. During the US Open, Swiatek pulled the same move during one of her matches.
In the same interview with Polish media, Swiatek admitted that she wasn’t proud of that “unconscious” move.