Ukrainian Kalinina Explains Why She Didn't Shake Hands With Russian Kudermetova

Ukrainian Kalinina Explains Why She Didn't Shake Hands With Russian Kudermetova

Anhelina Kalinina didn't shake hands with Veronika Kudermetova at the 2023 Italian Open in Rome and she was asked about it afterward.

It's been quite some time since the majority of the Ukrainian players decided to boycott handshakes with Russian players. We've seen it in a match between Lesia Tsurenko and Daria Kasatkina, but also during the trophy ceremony including Marta Kostyuk and Anastasia Potapova.

Now, another match between players from these two countries was played and it was in the semifinals of the 2023 Italian Open in Rome. Kalinina won the match in three sets, beating her opponent 7-5, 5-7, 6-2, despite losing a big lead in the second set.

Yet, after the match, she didn't shake her opponent's hand and naturally, she was asked about it in the post-match press conference, as it's still a sight that not many got used to on the WTA Tour.

"We didn't shake hands because the girl is from Russia basically. It's no secret why I didn't shake, because this country actually attack Ukraine."

While Kalinina said that she acknowledges the fact that the sports and politics should not mix, she views it as a mix of the two, and that's why she has decided to approach it in the way she did, emphasizing that it was nothing personal.

"So, yeah, this is sport, I understand, but it's also kind of politician thing. So, yeah, it has nothing personal. But in general, yes, it's not acceptable."

The Ukrainian had a problem closing out the match in the second set after losing a 3-5 lead as her opponent won 16 consecutive points. She was also asked if that was the consequence of the emotional nature of the match for her.

"No, because she was also a top player, very great player. So, yes, it was a big fight. It was about tennis. It was tough. I win 7-5, then I lost a little bit maybe concentration. Also too much nerves because I was serving for the match."

Kalinina dismissed those claims and said that it was more about her nerves and the fact that she played her first WTA 1000 semifinal.

"This is my first semifinal. I was trying to little bit turn off the emotions, but it's very tough when you're playing such tough matches. Sometimes, like, you really want to go for it, you really want to finish the match, then it's trouble. Yes, I did this mistake. Third set I think I was much better mentally. I was staying stronger, more focused. Yes, I'm really happy and proud of myself how I handle it after the second set."


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