Wimbledon crowd boo Belarusian player after losing to Ukrainian

todayAugust 12, 2023 3

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Wimbledon crowd boo Belarusian player after losing to Ukrainian

Belarusian tennis player Victoria Azarenka was booed off Court One at Wimbledon after losing to Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina.

The crowd was overwhelmingly behind Svitolina and rewarded her victory with a standing ovation.

But Azarenka looked bemused as she was booed off court. She gave a long stare before banging her fists together as she walked off.

Like other Ukrainian players, Svitolina has refused to shake hands with Russian and Belarusian players since the invasion of her home country.

She was booed by crowds at the French Open for sticking to that position while her opponent waited for her at the net.

Speaking to the BBC before the match, the former world number three said she hoped British crowds would be more understanding.

“Definitely there was a lot of misunderstanding in Paris because in Strasbourg [at a previous tournament] everyone understood my position as well, so hopefully it will be the same understanding in a way from the British crowd,” she said.

The match was the first time at Wimbledon a Ukrainian has faced a player from Russia or Belarus since the war started.

Speaking about the significance of the clash, Svitolina said: “A lot of Ukrainians will be watching, will be supporting me. I will go out there and put the fighting spirit on and just really fight for every single point.”

Ukraine's Elina Svitolina celebrates after winning her fourth round match against Belarus' Victoria Azarenka REUTERS/Toby Melville

Elina Svitolina celebrates her win

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Svitolina had to stage a dramatic comeback after dropping behind in the second set when she had already lost the first.

Finally at the end of the third set tiebreaker, with a huge ace the Ukrainian smacked the ball home to win the tiebreak 11-9 and take the match.

Svitolina beat Azarenka 2-6 6-4 7-6 (11-9).

The victory was “the second happiest moment in my life”, Svitolina said – after giving birth to her daughter.

Written by: Newsroom

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