French Open 2023: Aryna Sabalenka opts out of press conference after facing questions about war in Ukraine

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Aryna Sabalenka did not take part in a post-match interview after winning her third-round match at the French Open on Friday, stating in a declaration that she did not feel safe after an interview previously in the week. Sabalenka, a local of Belarus, had actually been pestered with concerns previously in the week worrying her position on the war in Ukraine and Belarus’ function as a staging ground for Russia.

During an interview on Wednesday, Sabalenka was faced by a Ukranian press reporter who asked if she supported Belarus president Alexander Lukashenko or if she would condemn the war in Ukraine, and at one point was implicated of preventing such concerns and “twisting it as if Ukrainians hate you.” Sabalenka consistently decreased to field the line of questioning up until it was closed down by mediators.

After her win on Friday, Sabalenka rather used remarks to the media through an interview launched by competition organizers at Roland Garros. According to Reuters, a representative stated that Sabalenka would not be fined for avoiding interview, stating that competition organizers supported her option regarding “protect” her. Organizers likewise stated that whether she participated in other post-match interview would be her choice.

“After my match (on Wednesday) I spoke with the media like I normally do. I know they still expect some questions that are more about the politics and not so much about my tennis,” Sabalenka stated. “For lots of months now I have actually addressed these concerns at competitions and been really clear in my sensations and my ideas. These concerns do not trouble me after my matches.

“I know that I have to provide answers to the media on things not related to my tennis or my matches, but on Wednesday I did not feel safe in the press conference.”

Sabalenka stated in March she had a hard time to comprehend the “hate” that she had actually experienced in locker spaces in the middle of stretched relationships in between professional athletes from the Russia, Ukraine and Belarus areas. Such stress were on screen at the French Open when Ukrainian gamer Marta Kostyuk declined to shake hands with Sabalenka after their opening round match.

Addressing Kostyuk’s snub throughout a Sunday interview, Sabalenka took an extremely anti-war position.

“Nobody in this world, Russian athletes or Belarusian athletes, support the war. Nobody,” Sabalenka stated. “How can we support the war? Nobody — normal people — will never support it.”

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