"You're absolutely out of line" - Rennae Stubbs defends Marta Kostyuk from accusations of wanting to 'kill' Russian & Belarusian players

Rennae Stubbs defend Marta Kostyuk
Rennae Stubbs defend Marta Kostyuk

Marta Kostyuk has been vocal about her displeasure with Russian and Belarusian players amid the war in Ukraine. Her opinion sparked a reaction from a fan who made an unsettling claim about Kostyuk on social media, which saw Serena Williams' former coach Rennae Stubbs come to her defence.

Kostyuk made headlines for her remarks after losing to Aryna Sabalenka in the opening round of the 2023 French Open. In her post-match press conference, the Ukrainian said that while she does not "hate" Sabalenka, she has no respect for her and is disappointed with the Belarusian's perceived refusal to raise her voice against the war in Ukraine.

Kostyuk's remarks went viral online and led one fan to suggest that she once said on a podcast hosted by Stubbs that she intends to "kill" players from Russia and Belarus.

The eyebrow-raising comment prompted Stubbs to retort forcefully. She debunked the user's claim and slammed them for making saying such a damaging thing.

"She never used the words kill! You’re absolutely out of line!" Stubbs tweeted.

However, many other users responded to Stubbs' tweet by sharing video clips of the podcast where Kostyuk said that when the war had just started, she wanted to physically and mentally "harm" players from Russia and Belarus before clarifying that she did not mean physically but only mentally.

Marta Kostyuk gets booed off the court after the French Open loss

Marta Kostyuk at the French Open
Marta Kostyuk at the French Open

Marta Kostyuk lost 6-3, 6-2 to Aryna Sabalenka in the opening round of the 2023 French Open. Before the match, the two women had exchanged tense comments directed at each other, and that tension was evident on the court.

After the match, Kostyuk refused to shake hands with Sabalenka, in line with her conduct against players from Russia and Belarus since the start of the war in Ukraine. Kostyuk has previously refused to acknowledge the likes of Varvara Gracheva, Victoria Azarenka, and Anastasia Potapova after matches against them.

However, her action in Paris did not go down well with the crowd in the stadium, who started to boo and whistle at the Ukrainians. In her post-match remarks, Kostyuk said that fans should be embarrassed by their behavior and will regret their actions when they look back at it in the future.

"I don't know. I want to see people react to it in ten years when the war is over. I think they will not feel really nice about what they did. I said that I will not do it [shake hands with Russian and Belarusian players], and I don't know why people think I'll suddenly change my mind," Kostyuk said.
"What happened today, I have to say I didn't expect it. I did not, but I have no reaction to it. People should be honestly embarrassed, but this is not my call. I don't know. I feel fine., she added.

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Edited by Anirudh
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