Marta Kostyuk, Ukrainian tennis star, refuses to shake hand of Russian opponent following ATX Open win

Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk refused to shake palms with Varvara Gracheva, a Russian, after she received the ATX Open in Austin, Texas on Sunday. Kostyuk beat Gracheva 6-3, 7-5 to clinch her first profession WTA title.

The 20-year-old Ukrainian ended up shaking the hand of the match umpire, however would not shake the hand of Gracheva. Instead, she merely walked previous Gracheva on two events.

“It was just my choice,” Kostyuk stated of skipping the handshake, in accordance with The Mirror. “We had a great match, don’t get me wrong. She’s a great competitor, I respect her as an athlete, but that has nothing to do with her as a human being.”

She devoted her first profession WTA title to “all the people who are fighting and dying” within the warfare between Russia and Ukraine.

“Being in the position that I’m in right now, it’s extremely special to win this title,” Kostyuk stated. “I want to dedicate this title to Ukraine and to all the people who are fighting and dying right now.”

According to WTA guidelines, Russian and Belarusian gamers are permitted to compete on the tour. However, very similar to at Grand Slam occasions over the previous yr, flags of the 2 nations aren’t allowed to be displayed by opponents and followers alike.

Kostyuk has been outspoken concerning Russian and Belarusian gamers being permitted to compete in WTA occasions.

“Whoever speaks out [regarding the war] clearly I believe has every right to be on tour but whoever doesn’t… I don’t think it’s just humane,” she stated in January, in accordance with The Mirror. “I don’t really talk to anyone [Russian and Belarusian competitors] I barely say ‘hi’ to them.”

The Lawn Tennis Association and the All England Club are presently deciding whether or not or to not enable Russian and Belarusian gamers to take part at Wimbledon this summer season. In 2022, Russian and Belarusian gamers have been banned from competing on the Grand Slam.

Kostyuk had reached the third spherical of the 2023 Australian Open earlier than falling to Jessica Pegula.

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