Victoria Azaranka said a boozed-up Wimbledon crowd was partly to blame for the chorus of booing which ushered her off court after a fourth-round loss to Elina Svitolina.

The needle match between Ukraine’s Svitolina and from Belarus was highly charged due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine – which is supported by Belarus.

With Ukrainian players refusing to shake the hands of “enemy” opponents due to the war which has now lasted for 500 days, some tennis crowds have been left puzzled.

On Sunday it was the turn of the eliminated Azarenka to bear the brunt of the jeers.

The double grand Slam champion blamed part of the emotion on a tanked-up crowd at the No. 1 court where booze is freely available.

Chair umpires have been known to warn spectators not to pop distracting champagne corks when players are serving.

For Azarenka, an abundance of the boozy summertime drink Pimms was to blame.

“I can’t control the crowd. I’m not sure that a lot of people were understanding what’s happening, so…

“It’s probably a lot of Pimms throughout the day.”

She added: “I’ve known Elina for a very long time. I’ve always had a good relationship with her. And the circumstances, it is what it is, and that’s it.

“What can I say about the crowd? There is nothing to say. She doesn’t want to shake hands with Russian,Belarusian people.

“I respected her decision. What should I have done? Stayed and waited? There’s no thing that I could do that would have been right, so I just did what I thought was respectful towards her decision.”

Azarenka called the handshake storm “not a life-changing conversation.”

“If people are going to be focusing only on handshakes or crowd – quite drunk crowd – booing in the end, that’s a shame.

“It was a tennis match. Nobody’s changing lives here. We are playing tennis. We’re doing our jobs. That’s it.”