Top tennis player Daniil Medvedev on Sunday claimed his first clay-court title by winning the Italian Open. As the Russian hoisted the trophy at the award ceremony, the speakers at the stadium blasted Pet Shop Boys’ 1992 dance hit Go West, a rendition of Village People’s song of the same name.
While a popular selection at sporting events, Pet Shop Boys’ tune is a peculiar choice to mark Russian Medvedev’s victory.
More from Deadline
First off, it is widely known that the melody of the Village People original — and especially the Pet Shop Boys redux with its intro — were made to resemble the Soviet Union anthem (now the Russian anthem which uses the same music.)
In the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Russian sports competitors, including tennis players, are not allowed to represent their country or carry the national flag, with no Russian anthem performed at any occasion.
Secondly, the song has a not-so-subtle message. While the Village People’s original is more about finding opportunities in the American West, the Pet Shop Boys take, which came out three years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, was clearly about the fall of communism in the Soviet Union and the former Soviet block, led by Russia, embracing the Western values and way of life. The video of the song used images of the Statue of Liberty and a lot of symbols of communism and Soviet/Russian landmarks, like the Red Square. (You can watch it below)
The irony was not lost on some viewers who watched the trophy presentation.
The winner of this year's #IBI23 is Russian Daniil #Medvedev, who lifts the trophy on the soundtrack of… Go West (Pet Shop Boys)… that's very subtle 😉
📸 Francesca Micheli/Ubitennis pic.twitter.com/Dy5MN4hjEr
— Vanni Gibertini (@vgibertini) May 21, 2023
The @InteBNLdItalia suggesting that Daniil Medvedev "go west"?
— Sinead McEneaney (@Sinead_McE) May 21, 2023
Muy buen partido entre Medvédev y Rune … Pero entre lo más destacable d O. Roma , para mí, fue q al final pusieran Go West (Pet Shop Boys !!).
Ah … no, era el himno d 🇷🇺.
(La inspiración, notas y referencias, como sabemos, vienen d allí). Magnífico 😉👋.
— Guillermo (@guillelemarc) May 21, 2023
Best of Deadline