"My initial reaction was... 'what are you doing?": Svitolina believes Sabalenka handshake wait will inflame tensions further

Wednesday, 07 June 2023 at 08:40
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Elina Svitolina has accused Aryna Sabalenka of inflaming tensions further after the Belarusian decided to wait at the net for a handshake after their French Open tie.
Svitolina's stance has been clear from the very start that no Russians or Belarusians will receive a handshake due to the ongoing war.
But fans at the French Open have used that as an opportunity to boo those who refuse which in this case was Svitolina.
A superb week for the returning Ukrainian ended in unfortunate circumstances as she was booed off the court.
"My initial reaction was... 'what are you doing?'. I was pretty clear during my press conferences on my position. Maybe she's not on social media," said Svitolina.
"I made multiple statements that I'm not shaking hands, and she played obviously Marta as well the first round. So is quite simple, you know."
As well as being asked if this will now inflame tensions. “Yeah, I think so, unfortunately.”
Sabalenka was also criticized for giving a wry smile toward her box after the handshake was refused. This potentially shows that it was the tactic all along which did not go down well on social media.
Sabalenka herself has not had the best week when it has come to off-court matters with questions about President Lukashenko meaning she has skipped multiple press conferences.
She will hold one though on Tuesday evening. She has also been criticised by certain sections for saying sport and politics shouldn't mix which is her reasoning why handshakes should happen.

'Not going to sell my country for people's sympathy' - Svitolina shuns booing

She also said that she expected to be booed by the crowd and gave her thoughts on it.
“I don't pay much attention to it. I'm not going to please everyone. I have my position and I stick to it. I'm not going to sell my country for people's sympathy"

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