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No handshake after Ukraine, Belarus players meet at US Open

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NEW YORK (AP) — A Ukrainian participant declined to shake palms with Victoria Azarenka after the three-time U.S. Open runner-up from Belarus beat her at Flushing Meadows on Thursday.

Marta Kostyuk waited on the internet along with her racket held up, which Azarenka tapped along with her racket following her 6-2, 6-3 victory.

Belarus helped Russia launch its invasion of Ukraine in February, and Kostyuk stated it had been on her thoughts since she noticed the U.S. Open draw that she could need to play Azarenka within the second spherical.

“It’s fairly private,” Kostyuk stated. “It wasn’t a private match for me as a result of it was Vika particularly, however general it was not only a informal match that I play in a match.”

Requested concerning the conventional handshake that follows a match, Kostyuk stated: “I simply don’t suppose it’s the fitting factor to do within the circumstances I’m in proper now.”

Azarenka stated she had already confronted that state of affairs with a Ukrainian participant when she performed Dayana Yastremska final month in Washington.

“It’s what it’s. I simply transfer on,” Azarenka stated. “I can’t power anyone to shake my hand. It’s their choice.”

Kostyuk stated she texted Azarenka a day earlier than the match to tell her there could be no handshake. Azarenka returned the textual content, telling Kostyuk she was not onsite, so Kostyuk dropped the topic as a result of she needed to ship the message in particular person.

Azarenka stated she reached out to all of the Ukrainian gamers she has a relationship with in March after the invasion. Kostyuk isn’t certainly one of them, however Azarenka stated she tried nonetheless.

“Effectively, I’ve supplied many occasions by the WTA, as a result of I imagine that there’s a kind of sensitivity. I’ve been advised that that’s not an excellent time,” Azarenka stated.

“If Marta needs to talk with me, like she texted me yesterday, I replied. I’m open any time to pay attention, to attempt to perceive, to sympathize. I imagine that empathy within the second like that is actually necessary, which has, once more, been my clear message to start with.”

Kostyuk questioned Azarenka being a part of the “Tennis Plays for Peace Exhibition” that the U.S. Tennis Affiliation held the week earlier than the match to lift cash for Ukraine. Azarenka was dropped from the lineup the day of the occasion, which helped generate greater than $1 million for humanitarian help.

“Everyone seems to be making an attempt to be tremendous democratic about this factor that occurred and since it’s like, my nation is being killed day by day, I’m going to let you know from my perspective in a short time so I don’t suppose I ever wish to reply this query once more,” Kostyuk stated. “Think about there’s a World Conflict II and there’s a fundraiser for Jewish folks and a German participant needs to play. Through the struggle, not 70 years after the struggle occurred. Through the struggle. I don’t suppose Jewish folks would perceive.”

Azarenka, a member of the WTA Tour gamers council, stated the necessary factor was that the occasion was held, not whether or not she was a part of it.

“I really feel like I’ve had a really clear message from the start, is that I’m right here to attempt to assist, which I’ve finished loads,” Azarenka stated. “Possibly not one thing that individuals see and that’s not what I do it for. I do it for individuals who in want, juniors who want garments, different individuals who want cash or different individuals who wanted transportation or no matter. That’s what’s necessary to me, to assist individuals are in want.”

Russian and Belarussian gamers have been banned from Wimbledon in response to the struggle. They’re allowed to play on the U.S. Open, with out their nations or their flags being listed.

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Extra AP protection of U.S. Open tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/us-open-tennis-championships and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports



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