WATCH: Kostyuk Booed After Refusing To Shake Sabalenka's Hand At Roland Garros

WATCH: Kostyuk Booed After Refusing To Shake Sabalenka's Hand At Roland Garros

by Zachary Wimer

The first-round match between Aryna Sabalenka and Marta Kostyuk at the 2023 Roland Garros ended in a really weird way.

The conflict between their home countries, Belarus and Ukraine, seeped into the professional tennis world, setting a unique and strained dynamic for their first-round clash on Court Philippe Chatrier.

Prior to the match, both players shared their thoughts on the situation. Sabalenka was ready to accept the anticipated absence of a handshake from Kostyuk, expressing understanding for the Ukrainian's stance. She highlighted that athletes from those countries might face backlash from their home countries for such actions.

Nevertheless, Sabalenka stressed that she believes politics should not intermingle with sports​. She also mentioned that she does not harbor any feelings of hate towards Kostyuk and that she will carry this mindset into the match.

Kostyuk confirmed ahead of the match that she did not plan to shake hands with Sabalenka, but clarified that she has never publicly or privately expressed hate towards Sabalenka. For her, the decision not to shake hands is not about emotions, but about respect.

The match went comfortably for Sabalenka who won in two sets, and after the match, it was obvious that her opponent doesn't plan to shake hands, heading straight for her bench. The crowd immediately started booing, and even the players were a bit confused.

At first, Sabalenka was confused by the booing from the crowd, as she thought it was directed at her. But when Kostyuk was leaving the court and the crowd started booing again, it was obvious that it was directed at the Ukrainian, and the Belarusian spoke about it also after the match.

"It was a very tough match, tough emotionally. And sorry guys, I didn't get it, at first, I thought this 'boo' it was against me, so I was a little surprised, but then I felt your support, so thank you for the support, it's really important."


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