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Belarus tennis player, Victoria Azarenka booed at Wimbledon for not shaking hands with Ukrainian opponent, Elina Svitolina

Tennis star, Victoria Azarenka was booed off the court at Wimbledon on Sunday, July 9 after her loss to Elina Svitolina. 

The boos stemmed from Azarenka, who is from Belarus, not shaking hands with Svitolina, who is Ukrainian.

Belarus has publicly and militarily supported Russia during its war against Ukraine, many sports and awards organizations have banned Russian and Belarusian athletes over the Ukraine war.

However, what the crowd didn’t remember was that Svitolina had said publicly that she would not shake hands with players from Russia or Belarus over the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine. Azarenka did wave toward Svitolina after the match and said that she was following her opponent’s lead over the handshake.

Both players after the match pointed to the crowd misunderstanding the situation, though Svitolina said she thought the crowd would have reacted the same way if she had lost the match on Sunday.

“What can I say about the crowd,” Azarenka said, according to ESPN. “There is nothing to say. She doesn’t want to shake hands with Russian, Belarusian people. I respected her decision. What should I have done? Stayed and waited? Like, I mean, there’s no thing that I could do that would have been right, so I just did what I thought was respectful towards her decision.”

“I think the tennis organizations, they have to come out with a statement that there will be no handshake between Russian, Belarusian and Ukrainian players,” Svitolina said. “I don’t know if it’s maybe not clear for people. Some people not really know what is happening. So I think this is the right way to do [it].”

Svitolina defeated Azarenka 2-6 6-4 7-6 (11-9) in the round of 16. 

Svitolina called the win on Sunday “the second-happiest moment in my life,” according to Sky News.

Watch the video below 


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