Kostyuk Hits Back At Sabalenka Over 'Hate' Comments Ahead Of Spicy Clash

Kostyuk Hits Back At Sabalenka Over 'Hate' Comments Ahead Of Spicy Clash

by Zachary Wimer

Aryna Sabalenka and Marta Kostyuk are set to meet in probably the most anticipated first-round match at the 2023 Roland Garros.

Unfortunately, the anticipation isn't in place only because of Kostyuk's recent success and a potential of a very good match. In the past, the two exchanged some words via media as the tensions are high between the athletes from Belarus and Ukraine on the WTA Tour.

Ahead of the tournament, Sabalenka spoke to the press and she was asked about playing the Ukrainian. The World No. 2 stated that if her opponent wants to hate her, she's free to do that, while also explaining that she will understand if she doesn't shake her hand.

Speaking to BTU ahead of the 2023 Roland Garros, Kostyuk confirmed that she doesn't plan to shake hands with her first-round opponent while saying that she never said that she hated Sabalenka publicly or privately.

"I come to the tournament, I want to win every match I play, the only thing am doing am not shaking hands. I've never said in an interview or in private to Arya Sabalenka or anybody that I hate her or somebody else. I don't know how to comment on why she started talking about it like that. For me, this is not a story about emotions, because hate is an emotion, but a story about respect."

One of the things that Kostyuk blamed Sabalenka for is her decision to reportedly train in Russia, while also talking to the media there. According to the Ukrainian it's something unacceptable, and says that if the roles were switched, she would have acted differently.

"First of all, I cannot feel respect for her choice to continue to go to Russia, to train there, to speak to the Russian press. To not take her family out of the aggressor states despite having sufficient financial means to do it. I would not be able to accept myself when my country does this, and I stay there, and people around me just continue to live their lives, relax, have fun, the same as before."

Moreover, Kostyuk blamed Sabalenka for not using her platform well enough, something that was done before by the coach of Lesia Tsurenko. According to the Ukrainian, the Belarusian should use her platform to influence the world more.

"Secondly, for me personally, playing tennis was not just about my own development, money, comfort, helping my family etc. The main thing is the opportunity to change something, to change for the better. After this tournament, Sabalenka might become number one in such a popular sport. Having such a large platform and such influence in the world, she refuses it. What kind of message is this for the world?"


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