Polish tennis star Iga Świątek has been praised after talking openly about premenstrual syndrome following her defeat to Maria Sakkari at the WTA Finals.
Świątek, competing in her second match of the WTA Finals group stage, was comprehensively beaten 6-2, 6-4 by Greece’s Sakkari.
Towards the end of the match, Świątek could be seen in tears on court. She even incurred a time violation warning for delaying play while crying.
Once her loss was confirmed, the 20-year-old left the court with her towel draped over her head. Świątek has now revealed PMS was behind her tears.
"I worked pretty hard the past two days to understand a little bit more of, like, why I felt so bad during the match against Maria," Swiatek said.
"I don't want to make excuses or something. It's pretty hard to talk about that because I know in sports it's not that often. But PMS really hit me that day.
"I'm telling this for any young girl who doesn't know what's going on. Don't worry, it's normal. Everybody has it."
Świątek has been praised widely for being so open about PMS, which is the name for the symptoms women experience in the lead up to their period.
According to the NHS, common symptoms include mood swings and feeling upset, anxious or irritable. Physical symptoms can include tiredness, headaches and bloating.
In response to Świątek’s comments, Sportskeeda tennis writer Musab Abid posted on Twitter: "This is such a refreshingly honest answer. Iga Swiatek is an absolute superstar for talking about PMS so openly.
"It is about time we stopped overlooking this matter and started appreciating how difficult it is for players to play through it."
Another Twitter user wrote: "Great to see Iga Swiatek share something that nobody talks about in women's sports – that most women have periods and it impacts an athlete's ability to compete.
"It's not an excuse, it's just biology. Great for girls to hear and men to understand."
Świątek, winner of the 2020 French Open, has often been open about discussing topics normally considered taboo.
After reaching the round of 16 at Indian Wells, she donated her winnings to a non profit mental health organisation. The world number nine also travels to tournaments with sports psychologist Daria Abramowicz.
Świątek has already been eliminated from the WTA Finals in Guadalajara. Her group stage loss to Sakkari was followed by defeat at the hands of Aryna Sabalenka.
She will play Spain’s Paula Badosa this evening, her final match of the season.
For advice on how to train while on your period, read Olympic weightlifter Zoe Smith's top tips here.