Yastremska Backs Compatriot Kostyuk Over Handshake Snub

Yastremska Backs Compatriot Kostyuk Over Handshake Snub

by Kadir Macar

Marta Kostyuk was booed by the Roland Garros crowd after not shaking hands with Aryna Sabalenka, and her compatriot Dayana Yastremska backed her up.

Ever since the war in Ukraine started, Ukrainian tennis players have refused to shake hands with Russian and Belarusian players. It's been that way for over a year now and nobody is really surprised by it anymore. Sabalenka expected it and in a way, she showed empathy towards Ukranian players having no problem with them refusing to shake hands.

The French crowd did though as they booed Kostyuk for not shaking hands with Sabalenka. It's not atypical for them as they generally do that any time something they perceive as unsportsmanlike happens. It could be anything from breaking a racquet to arguing a line call. Kostyuk wasn't impressed though and neither was her compatriot Yastremska.

I think, well, since the war started, everybody said, Ukrainians, that we're not going to shake the hands against Russians and Belarusian players. There's nothing surprising for everybody. How people reacted and that Marta didn't shake the hand against Sabalenka, well, I actually didn't expect this reaction. That wasn't really nice.

Yastremska herself reiterated the position of Ukrainian players and the reasons why they don't shake hands. She doesn't do it either and won't do it in the future. The event or the country where the match is played has nothing to do with it, it's just their position when it comes to playing players from a 'terroristic' country.

What is the difference which tournament? If we play against Russian and Belarusian, it doesn't matter which tournament, we're not going to shake the hands. We said already our position. We don't feel really good. Like, how we can go on court and play against people who -- like Russia, against a terroristic country? How? It's difficult emotionally.


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