Marta Kostyuk, Ukrainian tennis star, refuses to shake hand of Russian opponent following ATX Open win
Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine refused to shake hands with Russian Varvara Gracheva after she won the ATX Open in Austin, Texas on Sunday. Kostyuk beat Gracheva 6-3, 7-5 to win her first WTA title.
The 20-year-old Ukrainian woman ended up shaking hands with the referee of the match, but did not shake hands with Gracheva. Instead, she simply walked past Gracheva twice.
“It was just my choice” Kostyuk spoke about skipping a handshake, reports The Mirror. “We had a great match, don’t get me wrong. She’s a great competitor, I respect her as an athlete, but that has nothing to do with her as a person.”
She dedicated her first career WTA title to “all the people who fight and die” in the war between Russia and Ukraine.
“I want to dedicate this title to Ukraine and to everyone who is now fighting and dying,” Ukrainian. @marta_kostyuk won it first @WTA title.
She defeated the Russian woman and refused to shake hands with her opponent or take a photo together.
— Anton Gerashchenko (@Gerashchenko_ru) March 6, 2023
“Being in the position I’m in right now, it’s very important to win this title.” Kostyuk said. “I want to dedicate this title to Ukraine and to all the people who are now fighting and dying.”
According to WTA rules, Russian and Belarusian players are allowed to participate in the tour. However, as in the Grand Slams last year, the flags of the two countries cannot be displayed by either participants or fans.
Kostyuk spoke frankly about the fact that Russian and Belarusian players are allowed to participate in WTA tournaments.
“Who’s talking [regarding the war] clearly, I think I have every right to be on tour, but whoever it is… I don’t think it’s just humane,” she said in January, according to The Mirror. I don’t really talk to anyone. [Russian and Belarusian competitors] I barely say hello to them.
The Lawn Tennis Association and the All England Club are currently deciding whether to allow Russian and Belarusian players to compete at Wimbledon this summer. In 2022, Russian and Belarusian players were banned from participating in Grand Slam tournaments.
Kostyuk reached the third round of the 2023 Australian Open before losing to Jessica Pegula.