Ukrainian tennis player in tears after beating Russian and refuses to shake hand

Ukrainian tennis star Marta Kostyuk refused to shake her Russian opponent’s hand after beating her in a WTA final.

The Kyiv-born player, 20, defied custom by ignoring Varvara Gracheva following her 6-3, 75 victory in the final of the ATX Open in Austin, Texas. She shook hands with the umpire but merely waltzed past the 22-year-old Russian at the net, before running across the court to celebrate with fans.

Kostyuk fell to her knees and burst into tears, dedicating her win to those “fighting and dying” in her homeland. She also claimed the event had felt like a “home tournament” as a result of the supportive atmosphere.

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She said during the trophy ceremony: “Everyone who is in the stands and everyone who is watching, especially in Ukraine, I want to say Slava Ukraini.”

The Ukrainian phrase translates to 'Glory to Ukraine'. And she went on to pay tribute to those who have died and suffered as a result of the brutal Russian invasion.

“Being in the position that I'm in right now it's extremely special to win this title,” she added. “I want to dedicate this title to Ukraine and all of the people who are fighting and dying right now.”

World No.52 Kostyuk has previously been outspoken about the tennis world's response to the Russian invasion of her homeland, saying anti-war platitudes weren't enough.

Speaking at the Australian Open in Melbourne in January, Kostyuk was adamant she would snub any competitors who did not take a clear stance against the war.

“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,” she said. “I don't really talk to anyone. I barely say ‘hi’ to them.”

She also went on to say it had been 'very upsetting' to see Novak Djokovic's father, Srdjan, posing alongside a Russian flag with president Vladimir Putin's face on it.


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