Ukrainian tennis participant Marta Kostyuk refused to shake hands with Belarusian opponent Aryna Sabalenka following their opening spherical match on the French Open, main to boos from a number of the crowd.
After Sabalenka secured the 6-3 6-2 win, Kostyuk walked straight over to the umpire to shake her hand after which again to her seat, refusing to meet Sabalenka on the web for the customary handshake.
There had been then boos from the crowd at Roland Garros and once more as Kostyuk made her method off the court docket.
Sabalenka fielded some tough questions in her post-match press convention, together with from one reporter who accused her of “twisting it as if Ukrainians hate you” and “avoiding” questions asking her to condemn the warfare, with Belarus getting used as a key staging floor for Russia’s warfare in Ukraine.
Sabalenka mentioned in March that she struggled to understand the “hate” she encountered within the locker room amid strained relations between some gamers following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“First of all, after I get questions on Ukrainians, they [journalists] ask me: ‘So, you know that they hate you?’ So I’m answering the questions like: ‘If they hate me.’
“About the warfare state of affairs, I mentioned it many, many instances, no person on this world – Russian athletes, Belarusian athletes – helps the warfare. Nobody. How can we assist the warfare? Normal folks won’t ever assist it.
“Why do we have to go loud [public] and say things, that’s like saying ‘one plus one is two,’ you know, of course we don’t support war. And if you could affect the war in any way, if we could stop it, we would do it, but unfortunately it’s not in our hands.”
Sabalenka later added that she understands why Ukrainian gamers don’t shake her hand and mentioned Kostyuk didn’t deserve to be booed by the crowd.
Russian and Belarusian gamers are presently nonetheless competing on the excursions as impartial athletes with out their flag or nation displayed.
After profitable the ATX Open in Texas in March, Kostyuk additionally refused to shake hands with crushed Russian opponent Varvara Gracheva.