(CNN) — Belarusian tennis player Victoria Azarenka said it was “not fair” for the Wimbledon crowd to boo her at the end of her fourth-round match against Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina.
As she did after facing other Russian and Belarusian players, Svitolina — who won the close match 2-6 6-4 7-6 (11-9) — refused to shake Azarenka’s hand due to the war that he was preparing. Country of origin.
Instead, Azarenka waved her thanks to her rival at the net before being booed by the crowd as she left the pitch.
“What can I say about the crowd? There’s nothing to say,” the 19th seed told reporters after the game. “He doesn’t want to shake hands with Russians or Belarusians. I respected his decision,” she said.
“What was I supposed to do? Hang around? I couldn’t do anything right, so I did what seemed respectful of her decision,” he added.
She continued, “But this handshake conversation isn’t a life-changing conversation. So if you want to keep talking about it, talk about it, make it big, headlines, whatever, go ahead.”
“I thought it was a great tennis match. If people are only going to focus on the handshakes or the – quite drunk – crowd that booed at the end, that’s a shame. That’s probably all at the end of the day.”
When she left platform one and spectators began to boo her, Azarenka stopped, shook her head in disbelief and waved her hands above her head. She later said she had “no idea” what the gesture meant.
“I can’t control the crowd,” Azaenka added. “I’m not sure many people understood what’s going on. There were probably a lot of Pimms during the day.”
This Sunday’s exciting match was resolved in the tie-break of the last set, in which Svitolina closed the match with an ace.
The world No. 76 has enjoyed a magnificent return to tennis this year following the birth of her daughter last October.
She reached the quarterfinals of Roland Garros last month and will now face top seed Iga Świątek in the quarterfinals of Wimbledon.
“I think, after giving birth to our daughter, this is the second happiest moment in my life,” Svitolina said with a laugh during her runway interview.
“It was a very tough match and when I was down 0-2 in the second set, I heard them cheering on me and I almost cried.”
Trailing in the second set, Svitolina answered with two breaks to tie the match. In the final set she took a 3-0 lead, but this time it was Azarenka who counterattacked and took the match to the decisive tie-break.
This was Svitolina’s first win against Azarenka after five previous defeats and marks the second time in her career that she has reached the quarterfinals of Wimbledon.
When asked about the crowd’s reaction after the match, he said: “The same thing happened to me in Paris. [en el Abierto de Francia]. I played three games in Paris like this. Also today. I personally think tennis organizations should declare that there will be no handshakes between Russian, Belarusian and Ukrainian players. I don’t know if maybe it’s not clear to people. Some people don’t really know what’s going on. So I think this is the right way to do it.”