Lindsey Vonn has come under fire for showing support to Iga Swiatek at the WTA Finals despite facing the former alpine skier’s American compatriot Jessica Pegula in the final. French Open champion Swiatek was in ruthless form in the Cancun final, thrashing world No. 5 Pegula 6-0, 6-1 to not only clinch the WTA Finals title but also return to the summit of the world rankings.
The Polish star had been the top-ranked player for 75 weeks before she was usurped by Aryna Sabalenka at the US Open in New York, but having made light work of Pegula in the final, it is Swiatek who once again finishes the year as world No. 1.
In the wake of her success, skiing star Vonn posted a message of congratulations on social media. Writing on X (formerly Twitter), she said: “Yessssss!!!!! Go @iga_swiatek go!!!!!!”
Vonn is understood to be a close friend of Swiatek’s, explaining her support for the Pole, but not everyone on social media was impressed with the sentiment.
The 39-year-old received criticism online for not support her fellow American Pegula and was accused of being “happy” that Pegula had lost.
One X user wrote: “Strange an American happy with a defeat of another American.”
A frustrated Vonn soon replied, writing: “Can I just be happy my friend won a tournament? Jeez Louise smh”
There were no hard feelings as far as Pegula was concerned, who used her runners-up acceptance speech to praise her conquerer.
Pegula said: “First I just want to say congrats to Iga and your team and your family on an amazing year. Ending the year No. 1, winning this tournament, it’s really incredible.
“You know, you continue to push me to be a better player every single year, or at least, you haven’t been on tour that long but so far since you’ve been on tour, and it really makes me a much better player and I really appreciate that aspect of it.”
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The good feeling was shared by Swiatek, who returned the compliment during her own victory speech. She said: “Jessie, I wanted to congratulate you for the whole season and for your consistency throughout. Hopefully, we both progress and play many more finals together and your team as well.”
Swiatek reached the quarter-finals of Wimbledon this season but was knocked out in the fourth round of both the Australian and US Open. In 2022 she won at both Roland Garros and Flushing Meadows and also reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open.
The Pole has four Grand Slams to her name to date. Pegula is yet to get beyond the quarter-finals.
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