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Marta Kostyuk Ukrainian Tennis Player Refuses to Shake Hands With Russians at The Australian Open

Marta Kostyuk, a rising Ukrainian star, declared she would refuse to shake hands with Russian or Belarusian competitors at the Australian Open. If they didn’t do enough to oppose the invasion of her country. When Belarusian Victoria Azarenka approached her at the US Open last September, she first adopted the attitude.

The 20-year-old, who has previously advanced to the third round of the Australian Open stated that her position will remain the same while her family remains in Kyiv.

“I haven’t changed about the war and everything that’s going on, on tour. Because people who just say they don’t want war, it makes us (Ukraine) sound like we want war. Obviously, we don’t want the war, too.”


Outside of matches, Kostyuk said she barely speaks to Russian and Belarusian players on the tour.

“Whoever speaks out clearly I believe has every right to be on tour but whoever doesn’t … I don’t think it’s just humane. I don’t really talk to anyone. I barely say ‘hi’ to them.”


Her stance is being taken at a time when Tennis Australia’s (TA) restriction on fans carrying Russian flags into Melbourne Park has been disregarded barely a day after it was put into effect. At first, TA had allowed visitors to Melbourne Park to bring Russian and Belarusian flags. Conditioning as long as they didn’t cause any trouble. Also Read: Fans at the Australian Open Warned To Be Kicked Out If They Sledge Novak Djokovic Too Much

No Russian and Belarussian Flags at The Australian Open

The Russian flag was prominently flown courtside during Baindl’s three-set victory over Kamilla Rakhimova on Monday. Which Vasyl Myroshnychenko, the Ukrainian ambassador to Australia, denounced it on social media. As a result, the policy was changed on Tuesday morning.

“Flags from Russia and Belarus are banned onsite at the Australian Open. Our initial policy was that fans could bring them in but could not use them to cause disruption. Yesterday we had an incident where a flag was placed courtside. The ban will be effective immediately.”


However, a Russian flag was seen being displayed in the stands. This happened during Andrey Rublev’s win over Dominic Thiem on John Cain Arena that day.

The highest-ranked Russian or Belarusian player in the women’s draw is Belarusian superstar Aryna Sabalenka. Who said she had “zero control” over the flag situation. Also Read: Nick Kyrgios Withdraws from Australian Open

“I really thought that sport is nothing to do with politics. But if everyone feels better this way, then it’s OK. No flags, no flags OK. I’m pretty sure they (Ukrainians are) upset about that, and if Tennis Australia made this decision to make them feel better, they did it, I mean, what can I do. I can do nothing.”


The inaugural grand slam tournament of 2024 will accept Russian and Belarusian competitors, but they must do so under a neutral banner. In response to Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, the All England club last year forbade them from competing at Wimbledon. Belarus’ biggest and most significant economic and political partner is Russia. The decision to ban the flags has received widespread condemnation from neutral tennis fans.

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Abhijeet Chatterjee
Abhijeet Chatterjeehttp://thesportslite.com
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