WATCH: 'Twisting It': Sabalenka Makes Things Clear After Journalist Accusation

WATCH: 'Twisting It': Sabalenka Makes Things Clear After Journalist Accusation

by Zachary Wimer

Aryna Sabalenka attended a very interesting press conference after her first-round win at the 2023 Roland Garros.

In the first round of the second Grand Slam of the season, the Belarusian defeated Marta Kostyuk from Ukraine in two sets. The match was overshadowed by what happened afterward as the Ukrainian didn't shake her opponent's hands, prompting a booing response from the French crowd.

Therefore, it was not a surprise that after the match, the majority of Sabalenka's press conference was about the moment after the match. Some journalists approached the situation lightly, while others asked some longer questions.

A question from one of the journalists at the press conference was probably one of the longest questions in the history of journalism. The question in full was very long and quizzed about more points.

"With this Roland Garros you might become World No. 1. As World No. 1, you should be a role model. I think you are already a role model for many people, for many tennis players in the world. World No. 1 is a very difficult status. What is your message to the world? Because meanwhile, this situation with Ukrainian players show that you're twisting it as if Ukrainians hate you, but they do not say that they hate you."

"The only thing they want to know from you is either you condemn the war or you support the war. This is the only thing that Ukrainian players want to hear. You're avoiding this question. You're coming up with different answers. So you say it's politics, even though missiles launched from Belarus does not choose if it's a politician or tennis player. What is your message as the World No. 1? How can you sort it out with Ukrainian players that there is no more words "hate" or something like that? Thank you."

After closely listening to the journalist's question, Sabalenka decided to make things clear and she was also really long with her answer, as she wanted to make sure that her words will be clear this time.

"First of all, I'm not saying that they are saying they hate me. No, but listen. First of all, when I get the question about Ukrainians, they ask me, like, So you know that they hate you? Like not personally or politically, they asking the question. So I'm answering the question that if they hate me, like I don't feel anything like that."

After clarifying the comments about Ukrainian athletes hating her, Sabalenka also shared her thoughts about the ongoing war, and once more emphasized that she doesn't support it.

"About the war situation, I said it many, many times: Nobody in this world, Russian athletes or Belarusian athletes, support the war. Nobody. How can we support the war? Nobody, normal people will never support it."

"Why we have to go loud and say that things -- this is like one plus one, it's two. Of course we don't support war. If it could affect anyhow the war, if it could like stop it, we would do it. But unfortunately, it's not in our hands. That's the part about Ukrainians."

As one of the main points of the journalist's question was the fact that the Belarusian could become the world no. 1 and should lead the WTA Tour by example, Sabalenka took a chance to answer also that part of the question. However, she has decided to take a different approach and serve as an inspiration for athlete from smaller countries.

"The secondly, as the World No. 1, what's my message? Okay, let's get back to the country. I'm from small country, from Belarus, who was working really hard to get to this level. This is the message to a lot of young athletes who is from small countries, who don't have enough money, who's just from the small countries, that they can do well in this sport. That they have to work hard and believe in their selves and they can do whatever they want to. This is my main message as World No. 1."


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