After getting eliminated by Victoria Azarenka in Thursday's second-round U.S. Open matchup, Marta Kostyuk tapped her opponent's racket instead of shaking her hand.
Following the match, per ESPN's Aishwarya Kumar, the Ukrainian player explained that it didn't feel right to shake the Belarusian player's hand. The United States has sanctioned Belarus for aiding Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
"It was my choice -- I don't feel like I don't know any single person who condemned the war publicly, and the actions of their government, so I don't feel like I can support this," Kostyuk said. "Don't get me wrong, she's a great competitor. But, it has nothing to do with her being a human being."
Kostyuk said she informed Azarenka on Wednesday that she won't shake hands after the match. Per Kumar, Kostyuk criticized Azarenka for not speaking out against the war or engaging in her requests to have a dialogue.
Azarenka was originally scheduled to participate in a fundraiser event for Ukraine last week, but she was removed after Kostyuk refused to compete because of Azarenka's inclusion.
Azarenka told reporters she has reached out to Ukrainian players through the WTA, who told her "it's not a good time" to have a conversation.
She added that she's "here to try to help" and is willing to talk to Kostyuk.
"I'm open any time to listen, to try to understand, to sympathize," Azarenka said. "I believe that empathy in the moment like this is really important, which has, again, been my clear message in the beginning."
Azarenka, a former No. 1-ranked player, will face Petra Martic in the U.S. Open's third round.