Moving words from a great woman!
just had Marta Kostyuk (20) her first tournament on the Won WTA Tour. In Austin, Texas, the Ukrainian beat Russian Varvara Gracheva (22) 6-3, 7-5. The minutes that followed were tough.
As Gracheva’s ball sailed wide, Kostyuk fell to his knees and shed the first tears. At that moment, her thoughts were certainly on her homeland, where war is raging and where the native of Kiev still has friends and relatives. She keeps posting news from Ukraine, describing the atrocities that are happening there.
That is why she repeatedly emphasized that she did not want to shake hands with any Russian or Belarusian opponent who did not speak out clearly against the war. Gracheva obviously didn’t do that, in Kostyuk’s opinion.
No handshake after the match point at the net, no joint photo with the trophies for winners and losers. Kostyuk did her thing and knows no compromises. Her victory speech was accordingly.
Kostyuk from Ukrainian: “For Ukraine!” And then in English: “I dedicate this title to Ukraine and all the people who are fighting and dying there right now.” And after the applause of the audience: “This is a very special moment right now for me.”
Most recently, at the Australian Open in Melbourne, she emphasized that she would continue to negate any opponent away from the rallies who did not take a clear stance against the war. “Just saying that you are against war is not enough. It sounds as if we Ukrainians want war. Of course we don’t want that,” said Kostyuk in January.
At the US Open 2022 in New York, she refused to shake hands with former world number one Viktoria Azarenka (33) from Belarus.
Kostyuk’s star rose at the 2018 Australian Open in Melbourne when the then 15-year-old reached the third round, where she lost to compatriot Elina Svitolina. At the time, many experts predicted a huge future for her, but her performance stagnated.
Her first tournament victory followed on Sunday. In the world rankings she will appear at position 40 on Monday; she has never been so good.