Marta Kostyuk: Ukrainian tennis player snubs Russian opponent after winning WTA tournament
Ukrainian tennis player Marta Kostyuk refused to shake hands with her Russian opponent Varvara Gracheva after claiming victory in the ATX Open final in Austin, Texas on Sunday.
Kostyuk defeated Gracheva 6-3, 7-5, after converting a match point, before refusing to shake hands with the Russian, collapsing on the court.
The 20-year-old, who hails from Kiev, said at January’s Australian Open that she would not shake hands with any Russian or Belarusian rival waging war in her country.
She refused to shake hands with Victoria Azarenka of Belarus at the US Open in September last year. Belarus is being used as a key staging ground for Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Kostyuk dedicated her first WTA singles title to her native country during the trophy presentation.
Kostyuk said, “In the situation I am in right now, winning this title is very special.
“And I want to dedicate this title to Ukraine and all the people who are fighting and dying right now.”
Kostyuk did not acknowledge the beaten finalist in his acceptance speech.
The tournament victory, the first for a Ukrainian woman since Elina Svitolina in 2021, moved Kostyuk to No. 40 in the WTA rankings.
Among the Grand Slams, only Wimbledon has banned Russian and Belarusian players from competing, imposing a $1 million fine on the men’s tour.
Russian and Belarusian players were allowed to play at the Australian Open this year without displaying their flag or country.