We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info
There was a frosty end to a US Open second round match on Thursday as Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk refused to shake hands with Victoria Azarenka after losing 6-2 6-3 and only tapped her racket. It comes days after the 20-year-old slammed the Belarusian for participating in a charity match for Ukraine, before the United States Tennis Association announced that Azarenka would no longer be part of it.
Kostyuk and Azarenka faced off in the second round of the US Open less than two weeks after the world No 65 hit out at the former finalist in New York for signing up to participate in a charity match to raise money for the efforts in Ukraine, given Azarenka’s Belarusian citizenship. The Ukrainian said she had not been approached by the former world No 1 to apologise or show sympathy for the war.
“I did not understand the reason why they called Victoria Azarenka. There was no open help from her in our direction. She did not communicate with me, but I know that she communicated with Sergiy Stakhovsky, with Gael Monfils in Madrid,” she told BTU ahead of the Tennis Plays for Peace exhibition, revealing that she opted not to compete in the charity match because of Azarenka’s participation.
But on the day of the exhibition, the USTA released a statement confirming that the two-time Australian open champion would no longer be participating. “Vika is a strong player leader and we appreciate her willingness to participate. Given the sensitivities to Ukrainian players, and the on-going conflict, we believe this is the right course of action for us,” it read.
JUST IN: John McEnroe issues fiery response to Rafael Nadal’s demand for talks
Kostyuk then faced the 26th seed on Thursday – their first encounter since the Kiev-born player criticised Azarenka – and suffered a one-sided defeat in 87 minutes. The Ukrainian then approached the net at the conclusion of the match and only offered out her racket, tapping it against the Belarusian’s as she refused the opportunity to shake hands.
The world No 65 didn’t look Azarenka in the eyes as they tapped rackets, and was quick to leave court 17. She later explained her decision not to shake hands with the Belarusian after the match, saying: “I just don’t think it’s the right thing to do in the circumstances I’m in right now. 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 being a human being.”
Williams ‘one of the favourites’ to win historic 24th major at US Open
Serena Williams’ opponent breaks down in tears and walks out on press
Murray helps Draper storm to US Open third round with career-best win
There was also an incident during the match in which a fan who brought a Ukrainian flag to the stands was asked to put it down, in line with the US Open’s ban on flags. It comes after a fan was kicked out of a qualifying match at the recent Cincinnati Open for bringing a Ukrainian flag. Lola – the spectator – attended an all-Russian clash between Anna Kalinskaya and Anastasia Potapova on Court 8 and sat draped in the flag, also wearing a Ukrainian floral wreath crown known as a vinok and was watching the match silently, making no disruption.
But one of the players complained to the umpire about Lola and she was asked to leave the court when the umpire and a member of security intervened. She was later approached by the tournament’s head of security while walking around the grounds and made to put her flag in her car or risk being thrown out.
Source: Read Full Article