Miami Open star doesn’t shake opponents hand after Moscow T-shirt row

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Ukrainian tennis star Marta Kostyuk declined to shake hands with Russia’s Anastasia Potapova after the pair met in the second round of the Miami Open. Amid the ongoing invasion of her homeland, Kostyuk was well beaten 6-1 6-1 by Potapova, who was warned at this month’s Indian Wells Masters for practicing in a Spartak Moscow shirt.

Kostyuk had already made her feelings on Russian and Belarusian players clear before arriving in America. After winning her maiden ATP event at the ATX Open in Texas this month, the world No 40 refused a hand shake and photograph with runner-up Varvara Gracheva.

She was one of a group of Ukrainian players who asked for their Russian and Belarusian colleagues to be banned from playing at Wimbledon in 2022. The All England Tennis Club duly obliged, although the tournament was stripped of ranking points as a sanction.

The Kyiv-born player began her Miami campaign with a straight sets win over Italy’s Elisabetta Cocciaretto, setting up a meeting with the world No 28. And she stuck to her principles, declining any kind of embrace before or afterwards.

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After her match, Kostyuk spoke to the media about the previous t-shirt incident with Potapova, saying: “There are a lot of things that I don’t agree with that the WTA is doing. This is not going to change anything.

“I’ll just get more hate online. Whatever I say, I will get a lot of hate. I don’t know. Warning, whatever. You give her a warning, you can suspend someone, I don’t know. I can’t comment on that really, it’s just funny.”

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Kostyuk, 20, and her compatriots have requested a meeting with the WTA over the issue of players from Russian and Belarus being allowed to compete as neutrals. But she revealed a response has not been forthcoming: “Yes, we wanted to have the meeting with the board and we didn’t get one. No reply, nothing, just silence,” she said.

“I mean, once we’re in the meeting we can talk about it Before the meeting, I don’t think it’s a good idea to talk about what we want to talk about there.”

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