Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk refuses to shake hands with Belarusian Victoria Azarenka at US Open

The acrimony over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine forged its shadow on the US Open on Thursday evening when Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine refused to shake arms with Victoria Azarenka from Belarus. Kostyuk had misplaced in straight units and so they simply tapped their racquets however the response was pre-planned forward of the sport. She had even texted Azarenka that she wasn’t going to shake arms.

Kostyuk has been outspoken in her perception that Russian and Belaurusian gamers ought to be banned from the game. In April, Kostyuk led a crew of gamers from Ukraine in demanding the tennis directors to ask gamers from Russia and Ukraine in the event that they supported the conflict and denounce it if they didn’t. If there was no denouncement, then Kostyuk and co. believed the gamers ought to be banned from worldwide occasions.

“There comes a time when silence is betrayal, and that point is now,” the assertion from the gamers mentioned then.

On Thursday evening, Kostyuk defined her refusal to shake arms with Azarenka, who has made many appearances with Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko previously. She mentioned she had texted Azarenka forward of the sport although the 2 didn’t discuss it.

“It was my alternative, I really feel like I don’t know any single one who condemned the conflict publicly, and the actions of their authorities, so I don’t really feel like I can help this. Don’t get me flawed, she’s an important competitor. However, it has nothing to do along with her being a human being.”

Victoria Azarenka, of Belarus, reacts after defeating Marta Kostyuk, of Ukraine, through the second spherical of the U.S. Open tennis championships, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022, in New York. (AP Picture/Julia Nikhinson)

Final week, Kostyuk had efficiently urged the USA Tennis Affiliation to cease Azarenka from taking part in an exhibition to profit aid efforts in Ukraine.

“Think about there’s World Struggle II and there’s a fundraiser for Jewish individuals and a German participant needs to play,” Kostyuk mentioned.

Azarenka couldn’t perceive the choice. “It’s a no brainer for me, as why wouldn’t I take part in humanitarian support for people who find themselves actually struggling proper now,” she mentioned. “I assumed that this was a gesture that actually reveals dedication. I’m undecided why it wasn’t taken that method.”

Shortly after Kostyuk spoke, Azarenka put forth her standpoint in her press convention. She mentioned she had reached out through the WTA to have conversations with Ukrainian athletes previously few months however have been informed to chorus.

“I’ve been informed it’s not time,” she mentioned. “I’ve had a really clear message from the start, that I’m right here to attempt to assist, which I’ve accomplished quite a bit. Possibly not one thing that individuals see. And that’s not what I do it for. I do it for people who find themselves in want, juniors who want garments, different individuals who want cash or different individuals who want transportation or no matter. That’s what’s essential to me, to assist people who find themselves in want.”

Azarenka mentioned if Kostyuk wished to talk along with her, she was “open any time to pay attention, to attempt to perceive, to sympathize,” including, “I imagine that empathy within the second like that is actually essential.”

The relations between the gamers from the warring nations have been tense for months. Poland’s Iga Swiatek, the world No.1 who has condemned the invasion and held her personal fund-raisers for Ukraine aid efforts, mentioned on Thursday: “Proper now, it’s sort of too late, I feel, to repair that. Proper now, it’s simple to say that perhaps there was a scarcity of management, however at the moment I didn’t know what to do both.”


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