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“That’s how it is.” Reaction to the WTA statement on the handshakes of Ukrainians with Russians and Belarusians

Date: July 20, 2024 Time: 00:25:19

The topic of the traditional post-match handshake is invariably on the agenda when Ukrainian tennis players, on the one hand, and Russian or Belarusian tennis players, on the other, enter the court. In principle, everyone is already used to the fact that Ukrainian women ignore the procedure, which has become a good tradition in tennis. At the moment, the WTA has not ruled on the behavior of the athletes in any way, but it could not stay on the sidelines after the new scandal at Wimbledon 2023, which occurred after the match between Elina Svitolina and Victoria Azarenka.

What happened

Recall that Azarenka, having suffered a defeat in the 1/8 final meeting, did not expect a handshake from Svitolina, because the Ukrainian has repeatedly said that she fundamentally rejects the post-match tradition. However, the fans decided that it was Victoria herself who refused to shake Elina’s hand and booed the Belarusian.

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Azarenka pointed out that she does not feel like a victim. “Victim of what? That someone didn’t shake my hand? I beg you! She doesn’t want to shake hands with Russians and Belarusians. I respected her decision. What should I do, stand and wait?

I agree that this is very unfair. I can’t control the fans. I’m not sure many people understood what was going on. It wasn’t fair. It is what it is. What I can do? Yeah, I feel like it’s been pretty stable for the last 18 or 19 months. I didn’t do anything wrong, but sometimes they still treat me differently,” Azarenka said at a press conference.

And she answered the question about the relationship with Svitolina. “I have known Elina for a long time. I have always had a good relationship with her. Now such circumstances, this is what there is, and that says it all,” Victoria added.

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Svitolina also commented on the incident. “I think that the tennis organizations should issue a statement that there will be no handshakes between Russians and Belarusians with Ukrainians. I don’t know, maybe people don’t understand. Then it will be fine,” Elina said at a post-match press conference.

Even 2021 US Open champion Daniil Medvedev and 2023 Australian Open winner Arina Sobolenko have expressed their opinion on the situation.

“It is all about misunderstandings. I really liked Vicki’s response at the post-game press conference. He said that he showed respect for Svitolina’s decision not to shake hands. But how many spectators are there on pitch number 1, 10,000? Not everyone knows the context of this story. They only saw that Vika didn’t shake her hand, so they booed her. She liked her answer, she said it was a great match and suggested we talk about tennis. It is a pity that she was booed for nothing, but people just did not know the whole story, ”Medvedev said at a press conference.

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“This is a difficult situation. As Elina said, I think someone should announce on social media that there will be no handshake so the players can walk off the pitch without so much hate. Yes, I think the announcement should be made before the game so that the public knows that there will be no handshake. It will be useful for people to know what is happening, that there is a reason not to shake hands,” Sobolenko told a news conference.

And only after that the official position of the organization was expressed in the WTA. “The WTA respects the position of the Ukrainian athletes who reject the traditional handshake with rivals from Russia and Belarus at the end of the match, since it is a personal decision. We have some of the best fans in the world and we are grateful for their passion and dedication, as well as their understanding and respect for the athletes,” the statement said.

Ukrainian opinion

The Ukrainian Tennis Federation requested additional clarifications from the WTA. “Could you also make a statement about ‘neutral’ players and coaches supporting the Russian military/government? I’m sorry, but it’s been four months since we asked you to clarify what your CEO said. How long does it take to post a clear public message? Thanks in advance,” the organization said in a Twitter post.

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How did they react on social media?

The WTA’s decision to make its position public has unleashed a wave of discussion on social media. These are just some of the comments.

“This is the kind of statement that needs to be made before each of these matches, otherwise nothing will work. People who see this statement already know the situation very well, and casual viewers who watch tennis for only two weeks a year, most likely do not know it, ”said a journalist from Tennis Updates.

“But how can we be clear in order to avoid misunderstandings and unwarranted booing in the future? At least for now, announcements can be made that there will be no post-game handshake,” New York Times journalist Christopher Clary asks and offers a response.

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“If this is considered important, then in any case it was a year too late,” said Mike Dixon of the Daily Mail.

“The referee in the tower should announce this every time,” says journalist Simon Cambers.

“Honestly, it seems like this is too little too late. In addition, previous Wimbledon responded to Svitolina’s request by saying that she would not do anything, which, in my opinion, is the worst sign in terms of the behavior of casual fans, ”said journalist Diego Barbiani.

“This has been going on for 10 months. Well, at least the WTA issued a statement about it,” said Ubitennis journalist Adam Addicott.

In the quarterfinals of Wimbledon 2023, Svitolina will play with the first racket in the world, the Polish Iga Swiatek. It is clear that there will be no scandal there, on the contrary – peace, friendship, chewing gum. But if Elina makes it to the final longer than expected, and Sobolenko goes into the decider from the bottom half of the grid… You get it.

Wimbledon 2023 runs from July 3-16. Follow all the events in the “Championship”.

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.
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