Victoria Azarenka was escorted off the court at Wimbledon on Sunday after her loss to Elina Svitolina.
The rebuke appears to have come from Azarenka, who is from Belarus, not toying with Svitolina, who is Ukrainian.
However, the crowd did not realize that Svitolina had publicly stated that she would not shake hands with players from Russia or Belarus over the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine.
After the match, both players pointed to a misunderstanding on the part of the crowd, although Svitolina said she felt the crowd would have reacted the same way if she had lost the match on Sunday.
Azarenka said, “What can I say about the crowd.” according to ESPN, “There’s nothing to say. She doesn’t want to shake hands with Russians, Belarusians. I respect her decision. What should I have done? Stayed and waited? Like, I mean, there’s nothing that I could do what was right, so I did what I felt was respectful of her decision.
After the match, Azarenka waved to Svitolina and said she was following her opponent’s lead with the handshake.
She also pointed out that alcohol played a role in her reception at the end and then said that people were not aware of Svitolina’s stance on the issue.
As she left the court, Azarenka signaled to the crowd by clenching her fists and banging them together.
“I don’t know,” she said about it. “I don’t know. I wouldn’t even be able to duplicate what I did.”
She also received negative backlash when she did not shake hands at the French Open, and hoped that tennis organizations would do a better job of educating fans about why she was not shaking hands with Russian and Belarusian players.
“I think tennis organizations need to make a statement that there will be no handshakes between Russian, Belarusian and Ukrainian players,” Svitolina said. “I don’t know that it’s probably not obvious to people. Some people really don’t know what is happening. so i think this is the right way to do it [it],
Svitolina defeated Azarenka 2–6, 6–4, 7–6 (11–9) in the round of 16.
Svitolina called Sunday’s win “the second happiest moment of my life”. according to sky news,