May 31, 2023

Handshake Havoc


Handshake Havoc
Marta Kostyuk at the 2018 Roland Garros Qualifying Tournament, May 22, 2018. Shev123, Wikimedia Commons.

Ukrainian tennis player Marta Kostyuk has been condemned for refusing to shake hands with her Belarusian opponent, Aryna Sabalenka, during the Roland Garros tournament in Paris.

Kostyuk encountered Sabalenka in the tournament's opening round. Sabalenka, currently ranked number two in women's tennis, is considered a top contender to win the tourney.

Kostyuk, 20, criticized the decision by tennis authorities to allow Russian and Belarusian players to compete as neutrals and has refused to shake hands with her Russian and Belarusian counterparts

Sabalenka was greeted with cheers from the crowd, and expressed understanding toward Kostyuk's choice not to shake hands. “I imagine that, if they’re going to shake hands with Russians and Belarusians, then they’re gonna get so many messages from their home countries,” Sabalenka said. “If she hates me, OK. I can’t do anything about that.”

Sabalenka won the match 6-3, 6-2.

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