The political tension between Ukraine and Russia spilled over onto the court at the Miami Open when Ukrainian player Marta Kostyuk refused to shake the hand of Russia’s Anastasia Potapova following their match. Kostyuk has been a vocal critic of Russian and Belarusian athletes being able to compete on the WTA Tour in the aftermath of the invasion of Ukraine.
She had previously refused to shake hands with Russia’s Varvara Gracheva and Belarusian player Victoria Azarenka. The incident highlights the ongoing political tensions between the two countries and the impact it is having on sports.
Following her match with Potapova, Kostyuk revealed that Ukrainian players had requested a meeting with the WTA to discuss their concerns but had received no response. The Ukrainian player stated that it was not a good idea to talk about the details of the meeting before it was confirmed, but the lack of communication from the WTA has caused frustration.
The situation highlights the wider issue of politics in sports and the challenges that players and organizations face when trying to navigate geopolitical tensions.