Aryna Sabalenka is off to a strong start in 2023, and she will be seeded second behind defending champion Iga Swiatek at the French Open 2023. The Belarusian will face Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk in the opening round.
The clash between Sabalenka and Kostyuk would be fun to watch under normal circumstances but this just is not the ideal time. The Ukrainian has been outspoken about her displeasure with Russian and Belarusian players being allowed to play tennis following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and Sabalenka is from Belarus, compounding the situation.
Aryna Sabalenka was asked if it is tough to enter a match knowing that Marta Kostyuk has negative feelings for her during a press conference before the start of the clay court Major. She replied that she does not want to waste her time thinking about it as she can’t change it if her opponent hates her.
“I don’t want to waste my energy on this kind of stuff, you know. This is like, it’s not about — it’s none of my business, you know. So if she hate me, okay. I can’t do anything about that,”she said.
“There is going to be people who loves me; there is going to be people who hates me. If she hates me, I don’t feel anything like that to her,”the Belarusian added further.
“I kind of understand why they are not doing it”- Aryna Sabalenka on Ukrainian players not shaking hands with Russian & Belarusian opponents
Aryna Sabalenka then expressed her understanding of the Ukrainian players’ decision not to shake hands with Russian and Belarusian players due to the political tensions between the countries.
“About the no shaking, I kind of can understand them. Like I imagine they’re going to shake hands with Russians and Belarusians, and then they’re gonna get so many messages from their home countries,”Aryna Sabalenka said.
She went on to say that if the Ukrainian players feel comfortable abstaining from shaking hands, she respects their decision. While she empathizes with their concerns, the Belarusian also believes that sports should ideally remain separate from politics.
“So I kind of understand why they are not doing it. At the same time, I feel like sports shouldn’t be in politics. Like we’re just athletes. If they feel good with no shaking hands, I’m happy with that,”she stated.
Leave a Reply