Aryna Sabalenka opened the tournament at the Philippe Chatrier center with a clear victory against martha kostyuck (6-3, 6-2) who avoided shaking hands at the start and end of the match, in a sample of the circuit’s cold war between Ukrainian and Russian and Belarusian tennis players.
For just over an hour Kostyuk played hardly looking at Sabalenka, in absolute silence, no gesture, except to celebrate some point, as an act of resistance on the court against the war that has plagued Ukraine since February 24, 2022, attacked and invaded by Russia with the support of Belarus.
The day before in the Ukrainian Elina Svitolina he had done the same before the Russian Anna Blinkova which was imposed in the final in Strasbourg. A couple of months ago, in Indian Wells, Lesia Tsurenko he withdrew in the third round against Sabalenka, “for personal reasons”. The Ukrainian tennis player would later explain that she did not play “after suffering a panic attack.”
anhelina kalinina he also ignored the Russian Veronika Kudermertova last week in Rome. “A few days ago, a big bomb exploded next to my parents’ academy, which is 300 meters away…there was an airport. Well, it’s gone, ”he denounced.
whistles from the audience
kostyuk, left whistled by a part of the public for his gesture, but at the press conference he reaffirmed the decision not to greet his rival. “I don’t think people will react like this in ten years, once the war ends, I don’t think they will feel very good about what they have done today. I already said that I would not greet her. None of us Ukrainians do it,” she said and, in addition , asked for a greater position in the face of the Sabalenka conflict.
“If I could stop the war, I would”
“He has never said anything against the war. She can be number 1 and she could send a strong message to the world, but she avoids this responsibility, “he insisted. kostyuk about Sabalenka. “If I could stop the war, I would,” he replied. Sabalenka that she confessed to having been nervous before the game and, at the end, she thought that the whistling of the public was against her.