A poster loaded with geopolitical meaning. Both qualified for the second round of the US Open, the Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk (60th in the world) and the Belarusian Victoria Azarenka (26th) will challenge each other on Thursday. Their confrontation takes place in a tense context between Ukrainian athletes on one side, Russians and Belarusians on the other.
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, Belarus has also been singled out for being a close ally of Moscow. This is why many Ukrainian players, including Kostyuk – very involved for six months –demand the exclusion of Russians and Belarusians from all competitions.
Kostyuk on a hard line against Russians and Belarusians
A decision taken by the organizers of Wimbledon, and which had been criticized, in particular by the WTA and ATP. This time, Russians and Belarusians are in the game for the US Open, and simply forbidden to mention their country or their flag. Much to the chagrin of Kostyuk and some of his compatriots.
The 20-year-old has indeed obtained ousting of Azarenka from an exhibition tournament organized last weekend in Flushing Meadows in order to raise funds for Ukraine. “When we learned that there would be representatives from Russia or Belarus at this event, I immediately said that I would not participate”she said before winning the case.