As she has done since facing other Russian and Belarusian players, Svitolina – who won a hard-fought 2-6 6-4 7-6 (11-9) – refused to shake Azarenka’s hand. war in his home country,
Instead, when Azarenka left the court, she showed her appreciation to her opponent by waving at the net before the crowd booed.
“What can I say about the crowd? Nothing to say,’ the No. 19 seed told reporters after the match. “She doesn’t want to shake hands with Russians, Belarusians. I respected her decision.
“What should I have done? Stayed and waited? I mean, there’s nothing I could have done that would have been right, so I did what I felt was respectful of her decision.
“But this conversation about shaking hands is not a life-changing conversation. So if you guys want to keep talking about it, bring it up, make it a big issue, make headlines, whatever it is, go on.
“I thought it was a great tennis match. If people are only going to focus on the handshakes or the crowd – quite the intoxicated crowd – in the end, that’s a shame. That’s probably what it is at the end of the day.”
As she exited Court One and the audience began booing, Azarenka paused, shook her head in disbelief, and then gestured with her hands above her head. She later said that she “had no idea” what the gesture meant.
Azaynka said, “I can’t control the crowd.” “I’m not sure many people understood what was happening. it’s probably too much Pimm’s All day.”
Sunday’s thrilling, rollercoaster match was ultimately decided in a final-set tiebreak, with Svitolina ending the contest with an ace.
The world number 76 has enjoyed a wonderful return to tennis this year following the birth of her daughter last October.
She reached the quarterfinals of the French Open last month and will now face top seed Iga Swiatek in the last eight at Wimbledon after receiving a wild card for the tournament.
“I think, after giving birth to our daughter, it’s the second happiest moment of my life,” Svitolina laughed during her on-court interview.
“It was a very tough match and when I was 0-2 down in the second set, I heard you guys cheering for me and I almost wanted to cry.”
After falling behind early in the second set, Svitolina leveled the match with two breaks of serve. She then took a 3–0 lead in the final set, but this time Azarenka came back and took the game to a deciding tiebreak.
It was Svitolina’s first win against Azarenka after five previous losses and only the second time in her career that she has reached the Wimbledon quarterfinals.
When asked about the crowd’s reaction at the end of the match, he said: “I got the same in Paris [at the French Open], I played three matches like this in Paris. today also.
“For me, personally, I think tennis organizations have to make a statement that there will be no handshakes between Russian, Belarusian and Ukrainian players. I don’t know it’s probably not clear to people. Some people really don’t know what is happening. So I think this is the right way to do it.”