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    RADIO ROXI TIMELESS TUNES

Sports News

Australian Open teenager faces ‘investigation’ by her own country over gesture to opponent after match

today24/01/2024

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Ukraine’s ministry of sport have reportedly launched an investigation after 16-year-old Yelyzaveta Kotliar shook hands with her Russian opponent at the Australian Open.

The teenager was knocked out in the first round of the Junior Girls’ singles draw against Vlada Mincheva.


But controversy struck at the end as Kotliar shook hands with her opponent at the net.

Since Russia began their invasion of Ukraine in 2022, many high-profile Ukrainian tennis players have opted against the gesture at the end of a match against Russian or Belarusian stars in a show of solidarity to their compatriots back home.

Yelyzaveta Kotliar (left) shook hands with her Russian opponent

Yelyzaveta Kotliar (left) shook hands with her Russian opponent

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The Daily Mail now claim that Kotliar is ‘under investigation’ while the Ukraine Tennis Federation described it as an “unpleasant incident”.

Kotliar’s father released a statement over the incident, insisting her daughter “regrets” her actions.

He said: “The atmosphere here is extraordinary, which in itself puts a lot of pressure on the athletes.

“At the beginning of your career, it’s hard to cope with this and not be nervous.

“Unfortunately, my daughter didn’t feel calm, her emotions were running high, so she wasn’t completely in control of her behaviour.

“She automatically performed the post-match ritual, not realising that behind the net there was a representative of the country who launched the attack on our homeland.

“It was definitely a mistake that Liza regrets and assures us that she will never allow anything like that to happen again.”

Australian Open semifinalist Dayana Yastremska, also from Ukraine, was asked about the incident involving her compatriot.

“You know, Ukrainians, we have our position,” she said.

“We are not shaking hands but I think she’s still a little bit young, not so experienced. It could happen to anyone.

“I cannot judge her, because I don’t know what was in her head. Did she do this on purpose or not on purpose? I don’t know.

Ukrainian tennis players have opted against shaking hands with Russian or Belarusian stars

Ukrainian tennis players have opted against shaking hands with Russian or Belarusian stars

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“But I’m sure that she stands by Ukraine and I’m sure that she just got too emotional and confused.”

Yastremska could face Russia’s Anna Kalinskaya in the semi-finals while Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka may be waiting in Saturday’s final.

Sabalenka has already faced a player from Ukraine this tournament after thrashing Lesia Tsurenko 6-0, 6-0.

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Dayana Yastremska spoke out on the incident involving her compatriot

Dayana Yastremska spoke out on the incident involving her compatriot

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There was no traditional handshake between them after the match with the players acknowledging one another with a soft wave at the net.

“This situation has been happening for a long time on tour and I understand and respect everyone’s position,” said Sabalenka.

“She was quite respectful. She said, ‘great play’. She didn’t shake my hand, but she was respectful to me, so I appreciate that.”



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