Booed Azarenka – “It’s a shame”
Status: 2:43 p.m. | Reading time: 3 minutes
Annoyed, Victoria Azarenka leaves the pitch
What: AFP/GLYN KIRK
In the Wimbledon round of 16 there is an explosive duel between Elina Switolina and Victoria Azarenka. The Ukrainian narrowly defeats the Belarusian and refuses to shake her hand. The underdog accepts that. But she messes with the audience.
The women’s game in the round of 16 at Wimbledon was heated. The Ukrainian Elina Switolina (28) met Victoria Azarenka (33) from Belarus – a politically explosive match. Switolina won in three sets 2: 6, 6: 4, 7: 6 and did not shake hands after the game.
Because of the Russian war of aggression against her homeland, Switolina refuses to shake hands with players from Russia and Belarus. “I have said it several times that until Russian troops leave Ukraine and we reclaim our territories, I will not shake hands. That’s a clear statement from me,” said the Ukrainian and also called for a clear announcement from the tournament organizers: “I think they have to make a statement to the public that there will be no handshakes between Russian, Belarusian and Ukrainian players .”
Switolina dedicated the victory to the people at home: “I know what this moment means for my people in Ukraine. It’s hard times in Ukraine and I can play here. That is indescribable.”
Azarenka accepted the missing handshake, shouldered her bag and walked off the field. But parts of the audience booed her when she wanted to leave the court. Irritated and visibly touched, Azarenka stopped and made a gesture to the audience: she crossed her hands over her head and then slapped them together. This reinforced the reaction of the viewers.
“There is nothing I could have done”
Azarenka was later unable to explain what the sign meant. “I actually have no idea. I don’t know it. I have no idea. I won’t even be able to repeat what I did,” she told English media, expressing disappointment at the audience’s reaction: “I thought it was a great tennis match. When people just focus on handshakes or a pretty drunk crowd that ended up booing, that’s a shame. That’s probably what it is at the end of the day.”
Elina Switolina celebrates her victory
Those: AP/Alberto Pezzali
And further: “I mean, there is nothing I could have done that would have been right, so I just did what I thought was respectful of their decision.” At the same time, she appealed: “Don’t make it bigger than.” It is. It doesn’t change a person’s life whether someone shakes hands with someone else on the net or not.”
Switolina, for her part, now meets the world number one Iga Swiatek in the quarterfinals. The 22-year-old Pole won after a hard fight against Belinda Benic from Switzerland 6: 7 (4: 7), 7: 6 (7: 2), 6: 3. The otherwise sovereign French Open winner even had to fend off two match points in the second set. Swiatek converted her first match point after 3:02 hours and is thus in the quarter-finals for the first time in Wimbledon.
Azarenka crossed her arms over her head