Fans warned Elena Svitolina and Victoria Azarenka would not shake hands at DC Open

Spectators at the DC Open were warned that Ukraine’s Elena Svitolina would not shake hands with Victoria Azarenka.

During the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Svitolina has refused to shake hands with opponents from Russia or Belarus.

Belarusian Azarenka was booed after Svitolina beat her at Wimbledon and to avoid a repeat, the scoreboard showed a message during Svitolina’s 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 first-round win in Washington DC.

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

“I asked for the WTA [Women’s Tennis Association] to respect the decision of Ukrainians and they did.”

At the end of the match, both players headed straight to the sidelines and the umpire.

Two-time Australian Open champion Azarenka, playing on her 34th birthday, said the warning to fans had arrived “18 months too late” and asked whether it was a big story.

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

Both players had failed to clinch the first set on their own serve before Wimbledon semi-finalist Svitolina won it in a tie-break.

The message was shown after the first set, and there was just one hold of serve in the second as 28-year-old Svitolina sealed victory over the world number 19.

Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top