Marta Kostyuk refused to shake hands with Victoria Azarenka after their second-round clash at the US Open on Thursday.
Two-time Grand Slam champion Azarenka was always in control as she sealed a 6-2, 6-3 win.
The acrimony over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine cast its shadow as Kostyuk of Ukraine refused to shake hands with Azarenka from Belarus after the match.
Ukraine's Marta Kostyuk refused to shake the hand of Victoria Azarenka of Belarus after her straight sets defeat at the US Openpic.twitter.com/oDWQel5tkX
— Sam Street (@samstreetwrites) September 1, 2022
The players just tapped racquets.
Kostyuk later revealed that the greeting at the net was pre-planned and that she had texted Azarenka before the match saying she would not shake hands with her.
Azarenka said she wasn’t surprised by Kostyuk’s decision not to shake hands after their second-round match at Flushing Meadows.
“I don’t believe that making a big deal out of it is important,” said Azarenka.
“I always shake hands with my opponents.”
The Ukranian has been vocal against Russian and Belaurusian players and believes they should be banned from the sport.
Last week, Azarenka was axed from an exhibition event on the eve of the US Open aimed at raising money for war-torn Ukraine.
Azarenka was due to have joined a star-studded field for the fundraiser, which was timed to coincide with Ukraine’s Independence Day celebrations.
Kostyuk however was one of a number of Ukraine players who spoke out about Azarenka’s participation.
Organisers subsequently jettisoned Azarenka with Kostyuk saying she would boycott the event if the veteran took part.
Azarenka, 33, has not explicitly denounced the war, but has regularly called for an end to the conflict.