Marta Kostyuk sparks debate by undermining Zheng Qinwen’s Australian Open run


After her loss to world No.4 Elena Rybakina in the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix final, world No.21 Marta Kostyuk stirred up discussion for her comments about the varying difficulties in draws across events on the tennis calendar and her perspective on the significance of other players’ results.

Marta Kostyuk

Speaking to the press in Stuttgart, Kostyuk’s comments reignited the enduring debate in tennis regarding the differing levels of competition across various tournaments. The Ukrainian, who defeated three Top-10 players en route to the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix final, highlighted the unpredictable nature of tennis. She emphasized that while she could face the highest-ranked players in a 500-level event, other players might reach the final of a Grand Slam without facing a Top-50 opponent, citing Zheng Qinwen’s run at the Australian Open as an example.

While Kostyuk’s comments sparked discussion among tennis fans, some criticized her for publicly undermining her peers’ achievements. They argued that while it’s valid to discuss the differences in draw difficulty, it’s not necessary to call out specific players and belittle their accomplishments.

This isn’t the first time Kostyuk has been criticized for her outspokenness. Earlier, she compared Emma Raducanu’s US Open victory to Leylah Fernandez’s run, pointing out that Raducanu didn’t face a Top-10 player en route to her title. “Someone can have a very easy draw, and someone can have extremely difficult,” Kostyuk said. “I have an easiest example of when Leylah and Emma were playing the final, what draw Leylah had and what draw Emma had. Emma, no offense, but Leylah was really fighting for her life every single match.”

While these observations may be factually accurate, some feel that Kostyuk’s delivery comes across as dismissive of her colleagues’ successes.


  1. It depends what point Marta is making. What she says is true, someone can get high up in a tournament without necessarily playing well or being that good, if they don’t face a highly ranked opponent. So it is reasonable for her to say that (although there are other factors as well, like how well does your game match against the opponent, how flexible are you to adapt to different players, how you are feeling that day, what is the weather like, etc).
    But if there is an implication that the player who had an easier run doesn’t deserve the win or the points or the money or whatever, then that is more problematic. The fact that she has said it several times suggests maybe she does feel that. In which case she should pull her head in. However she is very young and I’m prepared to make some allowances.


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