Tennis player Aryna Sabalenka has breezed into the 2nd round of Roland Garros. The 25-year-old number 2 of the world won against Ukranian Marta Kostiyuk in straight sets 6-3, 6-2.
Kostiyuk, number 39 on the WTA Tour, reached the 1/8 finale in 2021 in Paris. That’s something the Belarussian Sabalenka can’t say, she never got past the 3rd round.
Kostiyuk started off strong and impressed with attacking returns. She even won a break but started to lose 6 games in a row after the 3-2, which effectively ended the match.
After the match, the crowd booed Kostiyuk because she didn’t shake Sabalenka’s hand because of the war in Ukraine. Sabalenka thought for a second that the boo’s were meant for her and she bowed cynically to the attending audience but when they explained to her that the boo’s were aimed at Kostiyuk, she thanked the audience for real this time.
No handshakes for Marta Kostiyuk
Ever since the invasion of Russian into Ukraine, Marta Kostiyuk has stopped shaking hands when she plays against a Russian or a Belarussian player. She demands from players from both countries that they convict the Russian invasion.
Sabalenka understands the no handshake of Kostiyuk
A day before the match Sabalenka understands and empathizes with Marta Kostiyuk partially and said that if Kostiyuk feels better about not shaking hands, then so be it.
But added to it that while understanding, that a photo or a video with the two shaking hands would cause controversy in Ukraine, she also added that sports and politics should be separated. But if she hates her for it then there is nothing I can do about that.
Contrary to other sports, tennis allows players from Russia and Belarus to participate but only under a neutral banner. Wimbledon allows that for the year 2023. Last year Russians and Belarussians were banned from that tournament.