Australian Open: Ukrainian tennis player Yelyzaveta Kotliar investigated for shaking hands with Russian opponent Vlada Micheva

A 16-year-old Ukrainian tennis player is being investigated by her home country for shaking hands with her Russian opponent at the end of their match at the Australian Open.

Yelyzaveta Kotliar had just lost 6-2 6-4 in her first round clash in the junior singles with Vlada Micheva when the pair met at the net as part of the normal “post-match ritual”.

Ukrainian players on the tennis circuit have refused to shake hands with opponents from Russia and Belarus after Moscow’s initial attack on their country.

The Ukrainian Tennis Federation (UTF) said it was looking into the “unpleasant incident” at Melbourne Park – but Kotliar’s father called it a “mistake” and said his daughter will not “allow anything like that to happen again”.

In a statement released through the UTF, Konstantin Kotliar said: “At the beginning of your career, it’s hard to cope with this and not be nervous.

“Unfortunately, my daughter didn’t feel calm, her emotions were running high, so she wasn’t completely in control of her behaviour.

Dayana Yastremska blamed Yelyzaveta Kotliar’s handshake on emotions. Pic: Reuters

“She automatically performed the post-match ritual, not realising that behind the net there was a representative of the country who launched the attack on our homeland.

“It was definitely a mistake that Liza regrets and assures us that she will never allow anything like that to happen again.”

The controversy comes as Ukrainian Dayana Yastremska became the first women’s qualifier to reach the Australian Open semi-finals in 45 years.

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Yastremska was asked about Kotliar’s handshake and said: “You know, Ukrainians, we have our position. We are not shaking the hands.

“But I think she’s still a little bit young. Not so experienced.

“But I’m sure that she stands by Ukraine, and I’m sure that she just got too emotional and confused.”

It is the second year Russian and Belarus players are only able to compete in Melbourne as neutral players.

Officials have also continued to ban Russian and Belarusian flags being put on display at the tournament.

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