Effects of Russia-Ukraine War Felt at Miami Open

Ukrainian player Marta Kostyuk refused to shake her Russian opponent Anastasia Potapova's hand

Marta Kostyuk
Marta Kostyuk at the Miami Open.
Robert Prange/Getty Images

How does a sport address a situation where opponents hail from the opposing sides of an ongoing war? It’s a question that has come up, most recently, in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year. The way that governing bodies for specific sports handle things is but one aspect of the issues at play. There’s also the question of how, exactly, specific athletes might react to being pitted against one another even as their respective nations clash.

In this week’s Miami Open, one example of that came to light. As The Guardian reports, a second-round match in the tournament in question found Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk playing against Russia’s Anastasia Potapova. Potapova won in two sets by a score of 6-1, 6-3. Kostyuk, for her part, declined to shake her opponent’s hand after the match.

The Guardian notes that this isn’t the first time Kostyuk has opted against a post-match handshake. After previous matches against Varvara Gracheva (from Russia) and Victoria Azarenka (from Belarus), Kostyuk has done the same.

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This wasn’t the only controversial incident involving Potapova in recent weeks. Earlier this month, she was formally warned by the Women’s Tennis Association after wearing a Spartak Moscow jersey prior to a match at Indian Wells. For her part, Potapova has said that she’s doing nothing more than wearing the jersey of a soccer team she’s long admired, according to CNN. Whether or not she’ll continue to do so before future matches — at the Miami Open, or elsewhere — remains to be seen.

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