Belarusian Victoria Azarenka booed at Wimbledon after facing Ukrainian Elina Svitolina

(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 Ukrainian Elina Svitolina.

As she did after facing other Russian and Belarus players, Svitolina — who won the close match 2-6 6-4 7-6 (11-9) — refused to shake Azarenka’s hand at because of the war that was going on in his country of origin.

Instead, Azarenka waved her thank her rival at the net before being booed by the crowd as she walked off 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,” he said.

“What should I have done? Stay and wait? I couldn’t do anything right, so I did what seemed respectful of his decision,” he added.

He continued, “But this handshake conversation is not a life-changing conversation. So if you want to keep talking about it, talk about it, make headlines about it, whatever, go on. y.”

“I thought it was a great tennis match. If people are going to just focus on the handshakes or the crowd – quite drunk – who booed at the end, that’s a shame. It’s probably all to the end of the day. “

As she left the first runway and the audience started booing her, Azarenka stopped, shook her head in disbelief and waved her hands above her head. He later said he had “no idea” what the gesture meant.

“I can’t control the crowd,” added Azaenka. “I’m not sure a lot of people understood what was going on. There were probably a lot of Pimm’s throughout the day.”

Azarenka (left) and Svitolina look on during their 10-point tiebreaker at Wimbledon.

Sunday’s thrilling match was resolved in the final set tie-break, in which Svitolina closed the contest with an ace.

The world number 76 has had a wonderful return to tennis this year after the birth of her daughter last October.

She reached the French Open quarter-finals last month and will now face top seed Iga Świątek in the Wimbledon quarter-finals.

“I think after giving birth to our daughter, it’s the second happiest time of my life,” Svitolina said with a laugh during her podium interview.

“It was a very tough match and when I was down 0-2 in the second set, I heard them cheering me on and I almost felt like crying.”

Trailing in the second set, Svitolina responded with two service breaks to tie the game. In the final set, she took a 3-0 lead, but this time it was Azarenka who counter-attacked and took the match to a decisive tie-break.

It was Svitolina’s first victory against Azarenka after five previous defeats, and it’s the second time in her career that she has reached the Wimbledon quarter-finals.

Asked about the public’s reaction to the end of the match, he said: “The same thing happened to me in Paris. [en el Abierto de Francia]. I played three matches in Paris this way. Also today. I personally think that 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 that’s the right way to go.”

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