'Just Instinct': Sabalenka Defends Choice To Wait For Svitolina's Handshake

'Just Instinct': Sabalenka Defends Choice To Wait For Svitolina's Handshake

Aryna Sabalenka defended her decision to wait for Elina Svitolina at the net for a handshake after their quarterfinal match at the 2023 Roland Garros.

In her career, the Belarusian played almost 500 matches on the WTA Tour. Due to different circumstances and the period of time when players didn't shake hands due to safety reasons, probably more than 400 of those matches ended with a handshake.

However, in recent weeks, there were quite a few that didn't. Sabalenka's first-round match with Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk was one of them, and her quarterfinal match at the 2023 Roland Garros against Elina Svitolina was another.

The Ukrainian didn't shake her opponent's hand, resulting in boos from the crowd. However, already before the first-round match against Kostyuk, the Belarusian said that she will accept her opponent's decision not to shake hands, so it was really weird that she forgot about it when facing Svitolina.

After the match, Svitolina was asked about the incident, and she shared that she was initially really surprised by Sabalenka waiting for her at the net. On the other hand, during her press conference, the second seed said that it was only her instinct and nothing intentional as her opponent was asked whether it inflamed the situation.

"I don't know. It just was an instinct like I always do after all my matches."

Since her opponent was booed after the match, Sabalenka was also asked about the boos that her opponent received for her decision to avoid the handshake and whether she was surprised by the crowd on the Court Philippe-Chatrier.

"Well, I think she didn't deserve all this boos. I think, I mean, I'm giving such a big respect to her what she's doing after giving birth. It's impressive and I'm really impressed by what she's doing. I give big respect to her."


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