WATCH: Yastremska Snubs Handshake With Russian-Born French Citizen Gracheva At Wimbledon

WATCH: Yastremska Snubs Handshake With Russian-Born French Citizen Gracheva At Wimbledon

by Nurein Ahmed

Dayana Yastremska of Ukraine refused to shake hands with Wimbledon opponent Varvara Gracheva, who formerly represented Russia.

Their second-round match was closely contested and lasted two and a half hours. Yastremska recovered from a set down to beat Gracheva 3-6, 6-4, 7-6. She planted 35 winners in the match and converted six of 13 break points en route to victory.

Yastremska will now face Croatia's Donna Vekkic in the third round on Friday and will attempt to reach the second week at the All England Club for the second time in her career (after 2019).

A peculiar incident in Wednesday's match has taken the gloss out of Yastremska's win. During the post-match handshake at the net, the Ukrainian politely declined to shake hands with her vanquished opponent.

As can be seen in the video, Gracheva is the first to initiate contact at the net when she offered her hand, but the 28th seed conversed with her opponent, presumably apologizing before they dispersed from the court.

It is a well-known fact that Ukrainian players have unanimously agreed not to shake hands with their Russian and Belarusian counterparts after tennis matches since Russia invaded their country and initiated war in early 2022.

The controversial move has been in effect since, and it has created some animosity between players from Ukraine and those from Russia and Belarus, as evidenced by the war of words between Marta Kostyuk and Aryna Sabalenka after their match at the 2023 Roland Garros.

However, what is particularly confusing about the latest incident is that Gracheva, who was born in Russia and played under the Russian flag from 2016 until 2023, has acquired French citizenship and currently represents France in official WTA matches.

She has also been selected to play for France at the upcoming Olympic Games. But Yastremska did not honor the tennis tradition of the post-match handshake, and Gracheva was forced to pull out her hand after a quick chat between them at the net.


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