Ukrainian Tennis Star Dedicates First WTA Title to Her Country
by FARUK IMAMOVIC | VIEW 3210
Marta Kostyuk, the 20-year-old Ukrainian tennis player, has made headlines after securing her first-ever WTA title in the ATX Open in Austin, Texas. In a dramatic final match against Russian player Varvara Gracheva, Kostyuk won 6-3, 7-5, solidifying her place among the world's top 40 tennis players.
Victory Dedicated to Ukraine
Kostyuk's victory was not without controversy, as she defied custom by declining to shake hands or take photos with her Russian opponent. Instead, she chose to celebrate with her fans and dedicate the win to her country and its people.
"I want to dedicate this title to Ukraine and all of the people who are fighting and dying right now," said Kostyuk, her voice trembling with emotion. "Everyone who is in the stands and everyone who is watching, especially in Ukraine, I want to say Slava Ukraini."
"I want to dedicate this title to Ukraine and all who are fighting and dying right now" - Ukrainian @marta_kostyuk won her first @WTA title.
She won over a Russian player and refused to shake her opponent's hand or take a joint photo.
ð¹WTA pic.twitter.com/hMw0mjqFeR — Anton Gerashchenko (@Gerashchenko_en) March 6, 2023
Taking a Stand Against War
Kostyuk has been vocal about her stance on the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, and she has been clear about her stance on players who have not publicly condemned the war or the actions of their governments.
Speaking at the Australian Open in Melbourne in January, Kostyuk stated, "I don't think it's just humane" to associate with players who have not taken a clear stance against the war. She has also publicly called out players from Russia and Belarus for their lack of condemnation, saying that they are all "the same." This is the first WTA tournament win for a Ukrainian woman since Elina Svitolina in 2021.
The young Ukrainian's victory in Austin has not only elevated her status as a top tennis player, but it has also solidified her position as a player who is not afraid to take a stand on important political and social issues.
Despite facing criticism, Kostyuk remains unapologetic in her beliefs and continues to use her platform to bring attention to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.