Ukrainian Tennis Player Marta Kostyuk Skips Shaking Hands With Russian Opponent

A Ukrainian tennis player is catching attention for refusing to shake her Belarusian opponent's hand after a match at the ATX Open in Austin, TX. On Sunday, 20-year-old Marta Kostyuk (born in Kyiv) defeated Russian opponent Varvara Gracheva after two sets to win the singles WTA Tour title.

After the match, she snubbed Gracheva of a handshake in a clear nod to the ongoing tension between Russia and Ukraine.

Tensions Still High In Sports World Over Ukraine-Russia

While it's customary in sports to give a handshake as a good gesture —win or loss — Kostyuk wasn't feeling kind toward her Russian opponent.

After the match, Kostyuk tried to deflect any talk about the Russia-Ukraine conflict related to her move.

"It was just my choice," Kostyuk said, first reported by The Mirror. "We had a great match, don't get me wrong. She's a great competitor, I respect her as an athlete, but that has nothing to do with her as a human being."

She spoke on her win after the testy post-match optics and shouted out Ukraine in her victory speech.

"Being in the position that I'm in right now, it's extremely special to win this title," Kostyuk said. "I want to dedicate this title to Ukraine and to all the people who are fighting and dying right now."

The tensions in Ukraine have stood out within the tennis world throughout the past year.

It wasn't Kostyuk's first time performing this stunt. Kostyuk did it last year during the US Open. After being defeated by Belarusian Victoria Azarenka, Kostyuk denied her opponent a cordial shake.

During the Australian Open, tennis fans were outraged at the sight of a Russian flag courtside during a match between Ukraine’s Kateryna Baindl and Russia’s Kamilla Rakhimova.

"Whoever speaks out clearly I believe has every right to be on tour, but whoever doesn't... I don't think it's just humane." Kostyuk said in January.

She added, "I don't really talk to anyone . I barely say 'hi' to them."