Ukrainian tennis star Marta Kostyuk refuses to play vs Russian player

Ukrainian tennis star Marta Kostyuk refuses to play against 16-year-old Russian opponent amid the ongoing war in her country – withdrawing just hours before their exhibition match in France

  • Marta Kostyuk was set to meet Mirra Andreeva in the final of an event in France 
  • The Ukrainian star withdrew from the match hours before it was set to take place 
  • A men’s player was drafted in to face Andreeva in the final of the tournament 

Ukrainian tennis player Marta Kostyuk withdrew from her finals match against Russian star Mirra Andreeva at the 2023 Negometal Open de Bourg-de-Peage tournament on Sunday. 

The pair were set to meet in the women’s final of the exhibition event but the world No 39 pulled out just hours before the match was set to start. 

Kostyuk had stepped in as a replacement for Donna Vekic, who had withdrawn from the event earlier in the week due to shoulder pain. 

But Kostyuk would also withdraw, with tournament organisers releasing a statement on Sunday night that read: ‘Due to reasons beyond our will and given the geopolitical context in Ukraine, Marta Kostyuk will not be able to compete in the final of the sixth edition of Negometal Open.’ 

Three players were scheduled to participate in the women’s tournament, with Kostyuk set to take on the winner of Andreeva’s match against world No 43 Varvara Gracheva.

Ukrainian tennis star Marta Kostyuk (pictured) has refused to play against a Russian opponent in the final of an exhibition event in France 

She was due to face 16-year-old Mirra Andreeva, but withdrew just hours before the final

The pair were taking part in the Open de Tennis de Bourg-de-Peage, an exhibition event, who had issued a statement on Kostyuk’s withdrawal on Sunday

Meanwhile, Alex de Minaur, Davi Goffin, Adrian Mannarino and Lucas Pouille all took part in the men’s event. 

And it was Andreeva who would book her place in the final, with the 16-year-old besting her opponent 6-1 6-2. 

With Kostyuk withdrawing, tournament organisers were forced to find a new opponent for the Russian, with 23-year-old men’s player Yanis Ghazouani Durand, who is ranked No 1145 on the ATP Tour, stepping in to face her. 

‘We’ve done our bet to activate our network of professional players,  but the time is unfortunately too short to find a replacement,’ organisers wrote on Facebook.  

Ghazouni would defeat Andreeva 7-5 6-2, with Andreeva, who reached the round of 16 at Wimbledon this year, being presented with the tournament trophy despite the defeat. 

Kostyuk refused to comment on the reasons for her withdrawal, with Andreeva facing Yanis Ghazouani Durand instead

It comes as Kostyuk has refused to shake hands with Russian and Belarusian players in the past, notably snubbingAryna Sabalenka at the French Open earlier this year 

Meanwhile, Kostyuk was asked by reporters about why she chose to withdraw from the match. 

She said to Ubitennis:  ‘I prefer not to comment on this matter. Thank you for understanding.’

Kostyuk has refused to shake hands with Russian opponents in the past, notably avoiding shaking hands with Gracheva after winning the ATX Open final in Texas, before dedicting her victory to those ‘fighting and dying’ in Ukraine. 

She was also booed off court at the French Open after she refused to shake hands with Belarusian opponent Aryna Sabalenka, calling the reaction from the crowd ’embarrassing’. 

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