Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine booed at French Open for refusing to shake hands with Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka

(CNN) — Ukrainian tennis player Marta Kostyuk refused to shake hands with her Belarusian rival Aryna Sabalenka after her first-round match at the French Open, prompting boos from the crowd.

After Sabalenka won 6-3, 6-2, Kostyuk walked over to the referee to shake her hand, then returned to his seat, refusing to meet Sabalenka at the net for the customary handshake.

The Roland Garros crowd booed Kostyuk again as he left the rink.

Kostyuk, a native of Kiev, said at the Australian Open in January that she would not shake hands with any Russian or Belarusian opponent while a war was raging in her country.

Kostyuk was booed as she left the track. (Credit: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Sabalenka faced some tough questions in her post-match press conference, including from a reporter who accused her of “misrepresenting the situation as if Ukrainians hate it” and “avoiding” questions asking him to convict the war, as Belarus is being used as Russia’s key theater of war in Ukraine.

Sabalenka said in March it was difficult for her to understand the “hatred” she was encountering in the dressing room amid strained relations between some players following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“First of all, when they ask me about Ukrainians, [los periodistas] they ask me, ‘So, do you know they hate you? So I answer the questions: ‘If they hate me’.

“About the war situation, I’ve said it many, many times, nobody in this world – Russian athletes, Belarusians – supports the war. Nobody. How can we support the war? Normal people will never support it.”

“Because we have to talk loud [en público] and saying things, it’s like saying ‘one plus one equals two’, you know, obviously we don’t support war. And if we could influence the war in any way, if we could stop it, we would, but unfortunately it’s out of our control.”

French Open

Sabalenka advanced to the second round in straight sets. (Credit: Christophe Ena/AP)

Sabalenka later added that she understands why Ukrainian players don’t shake her hand and said Kostyuk didn’t deserve to be booed by the crowd.

Currently, Russian and Belarusian players continue to compete in major competitions as neutral athletes, not displaying their flag or country.

After winning the ATX Open in Texas in March, Kostyuk also refused to shake hands with her defeated Russian rival, Varvara Gracheva.