When it was done, Marta Kostjuk dropped to her knees, crouched on the ground behind the baseline and sobbed: In a explosive final, the tennis player from Ukraine won her first WTA tournament on Sunday (local time) in Austin, Texas - of all things against a Russian. The 20-year-old defeated Varvara Gratschewa 6:3 and 7:5 in the final. She then refused her opponent the traditional handshake at the net. She won't do that if she's playing against an opponent from Russia, which has attacked Ukraine, or Belarus, which supports the invasion, she said. "In the situation I'm in right now, it's something very special to win this title. I want to dedicate this title to Ukraine and to all the people who are fighting and dying right now," said Kostyuk at the awards ceremony. She then thanked the tournament organizers and all employees.
As early as September 2022, Kostjuk refused to shake hands after losing to Belarusian Viktoria Asaranka at the US Open. Both had "high-fived" at the net with their tennis rackets. At the Australian Open in January, Kostjuk reaffirmed her position: In Melbourne, too, she would not shake hands with opponents who did not expressly condemn Russia's invasion of Ukraine. "I haven't changed my mind about the war and everything that's going on on the tour," she told Reuters. In the eyes of the people of Kiev, it's not enough to disapprove of war in general. "I think everyone who speaks out clearly has the right to play on the tour," Kostyuk said in Melbourne. She does not speak to players from Russia and Belarus, said Kostyuk. She hardly ever says hello.
Other sources: WTA on Twitter, video of the refused handshake on Eurosport.de, statement by Kostjuk at the Australian Open, Reuters.