The Ukrainian did not shake her opponent’s hand. Wilander: I can’t imagine being from Russia –

BRATISLAVA. The Ukrainian Marta Kostyukova was eliminated at the US Open in the second round with the favorite Viktoria Azarenkova. Smoothly in two sets 2:6, 3:6. However, when she approached the net after the match, instead of her hand, she raised her racket towards her opponent. She refused to shake her hand. The tennis players only symbolically touched each other with tennis rackets. Azarenkova is Belarusian and did not speak out against her country’s actions in the war in Ukraine. The match came just a few days after a charity event to help Ukraine took place in New York. Originally, Azarenková was also supposed to perform at this tournament. Kostuková: She didn’t support us, but that made Kostuková angry. The American Tennis Association (USTA) announced shortly before the event that Azarenkova would not participate. “I don’t understand why they invited her. She never openly supported and helped us. He does not communicate with me, although I know that he is in contact with Serhiy Stachovsky (former Ukrainian tennis player – editor’s note),” said Kostyukova after the match. “Just imagine that it is the Second World War, there is an event to help the Jews and a German player wants to perform at it,” she described how she perceived her opponent’s participation in the charity tournament. She appreciated that Azarenkova is a great opponent as a tennis player, but she does not recognize her as a person . After the match, Belarus accepted the racket instead of the hand without excessive emotions. “I don’t think it’s important to make a big deal out of this. I will shake hands with every opponent. In Washington, I experienced the same thing with Dajana Jastremska. I do not care. I can’t force anyone to shake my hand,” said the former world number one and two-time Grand Slam champion. Wilander: It’s dangerous if it gets personal, Azarenkova explained to journalists at the press conference that from her position in the Tennis Women’s Council, she speaks with her feet, represents the voice of female tennis players on the professional WTA circuit and helps solve their problems. “It’s part of my job to listen to the players, and it also applies to Marta. When I look at her now, as a colleague, I know that she is going through very difficult situations. It’s not easy for her,” Azarenkova said. “However, I would be happy if she had someone to help her in these difficult moments, because her reactions may not be well accepted by people.” more than just a regular tennis match. Russian and Belarusian players were excluded from participation in WImbledon and there are also players who think that the same rule should be applied towards Belarus and Russians as well as Americans. But if it moves to a personal level, it is very dangerous,” said Wilander. “You have to understand both sides to some extent. I can’t imagine being from Russia or Belarus, trying to give my best on the court and knowing that many people around me don’t agree with what my government is doing,”