Sportsmanship is an important part of any sport, and shaking hands after a match is a sign of respect. However, there have been several instances in which sports players have refused to shake hands with their opponents.

Handshake etiquette is back in the news, with Ukrainian tennis player Marta Kostyuk, refusing to shake hands with Russia’s Varvara Gracheva after winning her first WTA title.

Kostyuk, 20, beat 22-year-old Gracheva 6-3, 7-5 in Texas. She proudly dedicated her victory to Ukraine and “all the people who are fighting and dying” following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year.

Footballers Who Refuse To Shake

Although stars and athletes from all sports have been known to refuse to shake an opponent’s hand, it appears that footballers often tend to be at the center of such headlines.

Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra

The Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra handshake saga is one of the most controversial incidents in English football history.

In 2011, Liverpool forward Luis Suarez was accused of racially abusing Manchester United left-back Patrice Evra during a match. The incident caused an uproar in the football community, with Suarez being suspended for eight games and fined £40,000 for his actions.

In 2012, when Liverpool were due to face Manchester United at Old Trafford, there was much speculation as to whether or not Suarez would shake Evra’s hand before the game. In the end, Suarez refused to do so, and this further inflamed tensions between the two clubs.

The incident sparked a debate around racism in football and highlighted the need for greater awareness of such issues within the sport. It also led to increased scrutiny of players’ behavior both on and off the pitch.

Since then, both Suarez and Evra have apologized for their part in the incident and have moved on from it.

John Terry and Wayne Bridge

Long before Patrice Evra and Luis Suarez, there was the epic story of John Terry, Wayne Bridge, and Vanessa Perroncel’s love triangle with its many elements of passion, loyalty violation, and football – not to mention viciously snubbed handshakes.

On February 2010, Wayne Bridge’s Manchester City and John Terry’s Chelsea were pitted against each other for the first time since it came to light that Terry had been cheating on his ex-teammate with Vanessa Perroncel.

In the end, Bridge had the last word. His refusal to shake John Terry’s hand in front of a full stadium and the watching media sent shockwaves through the football world, making headlines and sparking yet another debate around sportsmanship.

Steven Gerrard and Cheeky Chelsea Mascot

In 2006 Chelsea met Liverpool and, in the tunnel prior to the game, Steven Gerrard MBE led his team and noticed a blue-haired child who was that day’s Chelsea mascot. The mascot held out his tiny hand for the Liverpool captain to shake.

Gerrard went to shake hands, but the cheeky kid moved his hand away at the last moment, put his thumb on his nose, and waggled his fingers. A classic gag perfectly executed by the young mascot.

Olympic Snub

One event that usually brings out the best in sportsmanship is the Olympic Games.

However, in Rio 2016, an Egyptian judo athlete refused to shake hands with his Israeli opponent. The crowd loudly booed Islam El Shehaby for his action, and the

The IOC understood that the rules of judo don’t necessitate a handshake, yet indicated El Shehaby’s conduct went against the fair play regulations and “spirit of camaraderie” established by the Olympic Games.

“The Egyptian Olympic Committee has also strongly condemned the actions of Mr Islam El Shehaby and has sent him home,” the IOC said in a statement.

It just goes to show that sportsmanship is an important part of any sport, and a simple handshake can be a powerful symbol of respect. Refusing to shake hands is an affront to the rules and regulations of sportsmanship, as well as being disrespectful and detrimental to the spirit of sport.

The incidents discussed here are just a few examples of how refusing to shake hands can have a lasting impact on an individual’s career and reputation, as well as that of the sport they represent.

Origins Of Shaking Hands

It is believed to have originated in prehistory as a demonstration of peaceful intent since it shows that the hand holds no weapon.

A popular theory on the handshake’s origin is that it began as a gesture of peace, with humans shaking hands for thousands of years, dating back to 5th-century B.C.E. Greece.

Handshakes were also described several times in Homer’s The Iliad and The Odyssey, often in relation to pledges and displays of trust. By the 1800s, the handshake had become commonplace as a socially accepted custom.




New customers only. Register (excl. 13/04/24) with WELCOME50. First bet £10+ at Evens (2.0)+ on Sports within 7 days to get Free Bets: £20 In-Play, £20 Acca & 50 x £0.20 (£10) Free Spins on Fishin’ Frenzy within 10 hours of settlement. 7-day expiry. Eligibility & payment exclusions apply. Full T&Cs apply. #ad. Please bet responsibly.