T Tennis

Marta Kostjuk (left) refused Aryna Sabalenka (right) to shake hands. © ANSA / CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON

No handshake – Ukrainian booed at French Open

Duels between tennis professionals from Ukraine and Russia or Belarus are also the focus at the French Open. Marta Kostyuk forgoes the usual handshake – the audience reacts.

The Ukrainian Marta Kostjuk refused to shake hands with co-favorite Aryna Sabalenka from Belarus in the explosive first round duel at the French Open and was booed for it. After the 3:6, 2:6, the 20-year-old Kostjuk didn't look at her opponent on Sunday and refrained from shaking hands as she normally does in tennis. Large parts of the audience on Court Philippe-Chatrier reacted with boos and whistles, and some spectators also applauded when Kostjuk left the court.

She refuses to shake hands with players from Russia and Belarus after games and demands a clear condemnation of the war from professionals from both countries. Before the game, Sabalenka had repeatedly stated that she would end Russia's war of aggression if she could do so and said that it was "okay" if Kostyuk hated her

Sabalenka won the match 6:3 and 6:2. © ANSA / CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON

After the game, Sabalenka initially reacted with surprise to the audience's boos and whistles and bowed towards the spectators. At first she thought that these would apply to her, said the 25-year-old Australian Open winner with a smile. “The game was very difficult and emotional for me.”

In contrast to other sports, players from Russia and Belarus are allowed to compete in tennis because they are considered independent of their states. After an exclusion last year, this will also be the case at the grass classic in Wimbledon.


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