'Felt Disrespected': Sabalenka On Being 'Put Words In Her Mouth' During Press Conferences

'Felt Disrespected': Sabalenka On Being 'Put Words In Her Mouth' During Press Conferences

by Balasz Virag

Last updated

Aryna Sabalenka's 2023 Roland Garros experience truly has been polar opposites in the way her tennis and the way her press conferences went.

The Belarussian had no worries with her tennis from the start of the event cruising through the rounds, including Tuesday's Roland Garros match against Elena Svitolina. It was a straight-set win for her with the anticipated no handshake and the booes for Svitolina for not shaking hands.

As opposed to previous rounds, Sabalenka opted to do a press conference after declining an open one two rounds ago and declining any kind of press conference one round ago. The Belarussian expressed some frustration with her press conferences believing that journalists were trying to put words into her mouth which she deemed quite disrespectful.

Just the way I was made feeling and I felt disrespected. I felt like journalist try to put the words in my mouth. I didn't feel comfortable. This is just the way I felt. Yeah. That's it.

Allowing Sabalenka to sort of skip press conferences created parallels with the Osaka situation two years ago. It also possibly set a tricky new precedent which could impact tennis in the years to come. Either way, Sabalenka did a press conference after her win over Svitolina explaining that she always respects media obligations.

I mean, I always really respect press conferences. I'm always open in my answers. I really felt bad not coming here. I couldn't sleep. Like all those bad feelings was in my head, I couldn't fall asleep. I felt really bad not coming here. I really respect all of you guys. Thank you so much for coming here, for being interested in me. Yeah, I just felt so bad not coming here.

It was a good one with Sabalenka addressing seemingly waiting for Svitolina on the net for the handshake as well adding that she doesn't really support the president of her country in his recent actions. She also provided insight into her decisions earlier at the event which were defended by fellow player Jessica Pegula in a column for BBC Sport.

No, I don't regret the decision. I felt really disrespected, and I felt really bad. I mean, Grand Slam, it's enough pressure to handle, and I just tried to focus on myself, on my game. I really hope that you guys will understand me, my feelings. You know that I really respect all of you, and I am always open. You can ask whatever you want. You will get all the information.


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