New York – after losing consecutively to the former world number one Victoria AzarenkaUkraine Marta Kostyuk She refused to shake hands with her Belarusian opponent. Instead, she raised her racket for a quick flick.
Kostyuk, who was dissatisfied with the silence of the players of Russia and Belarus during the tour, said it was inappropriate to shake hands with Azarenka at the post-match press conference.
“It was my choice – I don’t feel like I know anyone who has publicly condemned the war, and the actions of their government, so I don’t feel like I can support that,” she told ESPN. .
Kostyuk added, “Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great competition. But it has nothing to do with her being human.”
After the City Open in Washington, DC, a Ukrainian player Diana Estrimska He also refused to shake hands with Azarenka after the match. Yastremska fled Ukraine with her younger sister days after the Russian invasion began in February.
The United States imposed sanctions on Belarus for “supporting” and “facilitating” the invasion.
Kostyuk said that Azarenka had not contacted her for a conversation since the beginning of the war. Kostyuk said that given Azarenka’s arrival both in Belarus and as part of the WTA Players Council, she should use her voice to condemn the war.
Kostyuk also said she texted Azarenka Wednesday after her training session to “warn” her that she would not shake hands with her after today’s match. Kostyuk also said that she wanted to have a broader conversation with Azarenka about the war and hear her thoughts on the Belarusian position. Kostyuk said that Azarenka replied that she was not on the site, and therefore they did not have the conversation.
Azarenka was removed from last week’s Peace for Ukraine event at the USTA – a humanitarian fund-raising event for Ukraine – after Kostyuk expressed her discomfort with Azarenka’s participation in an interview with Ukrainian outlet BTU. Kostyuk said she declined to participate in the event as a result.
“Imagine there is a second world war and there is a fundraising campaign for the Jewish people and a German player wants to play,” Kostyuk said of her decision after Thursday’s game.
Immediately after Kostyuk’s press conference, Azarenka told reporters that she has reached out via the WTA to have talks with Ukrainian athletes in the past few months.
“I’ve been told it’s not the right time,” she said.
Azarenka added that she did not have a close relationship with Kostyuk, never had a conversation with her, but reached out to other Ukrainian players to listen to them and build relationships with them and would be willing to have a face-to-face interview. With Kostyuk.
“I’m open for any time to listen and try to understand and empathize,” she said. “I think compassion in a moment like this is really important, which was, again, my clear message at the beginning.”
Regarding the Ukraine Peace Fundraising event, Azarenka said she was asked to take part in it and she immediately agreed to do it, because “it’s a no-brainer for me. Like, why don’t I get involved in humanitarian aid for people who are really struggling right now.”
“I thought this was a gesture that really showed commitment,” Azarenka said. “I’m not sure why it wasn’t taken that way.”
Azarenka also said that she had a clear message from the start of the war.
“I’m here to try to help, and I’ve done a lot. It’s probably not something people see. And that’s not what I’m doing for it. I do it for people who [are] In need, young people need clothes, other people need money or other people need transportation or something else. This is important to me to help those in need.”
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