Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina beat Victoria Azarenka of Belarus when they met in the first round of the DC Open in Washington, just as she had at Wimbledon. And again, the Ukrainian didn’t shake hands with her Belarusian opponent at the end of the match.

There was one difference, though. Spectators were warned Svitolina wouldn’t shake hands with Azarenka. The message was flashed on the scoreboard after the first set of Svitolina’s 7-6, 6-4 win in Washington.

This was done to prevent what happened at Wimbledon, where Azarenka was booed after being beaten by Svitolina.

Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina hasn’t shaken hands with Russian and Belarusian opponents during the current conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

Instead of shaking hands, Svitolina and Azarenka went straight to the umpire at the end of the match amid cheers from the audience and waving Ukrainian flags.

The two players showed sportsmanship by thanking the chair umpire.

Svitolinaolina was happy a message was flashed on the scoreboard that she wouldn’t shake hands with her Belarusian opponent.

“It’s the right thing,” said world number 27 Svitolina.

 “I asked for the WTA to respect the decision of Ukrainians. And they did,” she was quoted as saying in an article in the Hindustan Times.

Two-time Australian Open champion Azarenka, playing on her 34th birthday, said the message arrived “18 months too late”. The current Russian invasion of Ukraine began in 2022.

“We just move on. We play a tennis match. As I said in Wimbledon, I accept, respect somebody’s position. That’s it,” Azarenka added.

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