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Ukraine's Kostyuk booed after not shaking hands with Belarus' Sabalenka at French Open

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ASSOCIATED PRESS

At first, Aryna Sabalenka thought the boos and derisive whistles coming from the French Open crowd were directed at her after a first-round victory

PARIS (AP) — At first, Aryna Sabalenka thought the boos and derisive whistles coming from the French Open crowd were directed at her after a first-round victory Sunday. Instead, the negative reaction was aimed at her opponent, Marta Kostyuk, for not participating in the usual post-match handshake up at the net.

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Kostyuk, who is from Ukraine, avoided so much as any eye contact with Sabalenka, who is from Belarus, after the match, instead walking directly over to acknowledge the chair umpire. Sabalenka walked toward the net as if expecting some sort of exchange.

But this is something Kostyuk has been doing whenever she has faced any opponent from Russia or Belarus since her country was invaded by Russia, with help from Belarus, in February 2022.

Perhaps the fans on hand at Court Philippe Chatrier did not know the backstory and figured Kostyuk simply failed to follow tennis etiquette by congratulating the winner after the lopsided result: Sabalenka grabbed six games in a row during one stretch and came out on top 6-3, 6-2.