Ukaranian Tennis star Marta Kostyuk hit back at the Paris crowd for booing her after refusing to shake hands with Aryna Sabalenka following her first-round defeat at 2023 French Open. The Belarusian beat Kostyuk, seeded 39, 6-3 and 6-2 on Court Philippe-Chatrier to advance to the next round of the competition.
Kostyuk act followed with regards to Belarus being Russia's ally, allowing troops to use its territory to invade Ukraine last year. The duo did not have the traditional pre-match photo either following the coin toss. After Sabalenka sealed the win, Kostyuk walked up to the umpire to shake his hand and then to her chair, triggering boos from the spectators.
Following the match, the 20-year-old said people should double think about what the war would mean in ten years time.
"People should be honestly embarrassed. I want to see people react to it in 10 years when the war is over. I think they will not feel really nice about what they did," she said, as quoted by the BBC.
'How can we support the war?': Aryna Sabalenka
In the post-match press conference, Sabalenka spoke of the war situation and said they would stop it if they had the choice. The 25-year-old said:
"About the war situation, I said it many, many times: nobody in this world, Russian athletes or Belarusian athletes, supports the war. Nobody. How can we support the war? Of course we don't support war. If we could affect anyhow the war, if we could stop it, we would do it. But unfortunately, it's not in our hands."
Sabalenka will face another Belarusian in Iryna Shymanovich in the second round in Paris.