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More Ukraine-Russia tensions as Kostyuk refuses handshake with Potapova

Marta Kostyuk refused to shake the hand of her Russian opponent and said that the WTA have not responded to the requests of Ukrainian players for a meeting

Marta Kostyuk Mar 21, 2023; Miami, Florida, US; Marta Kostyuk (UKR) reaches for a forehand against Elisabetta Cocciaretto (ITA) (not pictured) on day two of the Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium (AI/Reuters/Panoramic)

Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk refused to shake hands with Russia’s Anastasia Potapova, who beat her 6-1, 6-3 in the second round of the Miami Open.

“Obviously there is tension – we’re not friends. We are at war at the moment,” Kostyuk explained to the press.

It follows Lesia Tsurenko’s revelation that Ukrainian players had asked for a meeting with the WTA board – but Kostyuk said they had received no response as yet.

“Yes, we wanted to have the meeting with the board and we didn’t get one. No reply, nothing, just silence,” she said according to media reports.

Potapova had recently worn a Spartak Moscow football shirt ahead of her Indian Wells match against Jessica Pegula, receiving a warning from the WTA – but Kostyuk implied that she thought that the punishment should have gone further.

“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. You [can] give her a warning. You can suspend someone, I don’t know. I can’t comment on that really, it’s just funny.”

Potapova had explained her choice of shirt by saying: “There was not any political intention in this shirt. It’s very sad that people seeing things that isn’t actually the truth. I’m just a super fan of Spartak since I was 10 years old. My dad built part of the stadium for this team, so it’s our family thing.”

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