Aryna Sabalenka defeated Elina Svitolina in straight sets in the quarter-finals of the Roland Garros. After the match, World No.2 was seen standing at the net for the customary exchange between the players. However, Svitolina refused to engage in any kind of post-match interaction with the Belarussian player. The tennis world directed their criticism towards Sabalenka for unnecessarily creating a scene.
The 25-year-old had an incredible start this year. She claimed her first maiden Grand Slam trophy at the Australian Open after her triumph over Elena Rybakina. With the start of the clay tours, Sabalenka reached the final of the Stuttgart Open but faced a tough loss at the hands of World No.1, Iga Swiatek. The Australian Open champion won her first claycourt title of the season at the Madrid Open.
At the French Open, the World No.2 booked her semi-finals seat after her sensational win over Elina Svitolina in the quarter-finals. After the match, Sabalenka came closer to the net for a post-match handshake.
But, Svitolina crossed the baseline and walked passed the Belarussian. The Ukrainian player had openly stated that she will not be shaking hands with the Russian and Belarussian players. Alex Dolgopolov, the Ukrainian tennis player took to Twitter to voice his criticism against Sabalenka. He called her action ‘making fun’ of what Ukraine as a nation is going through. The internet also responded to the controversy and criticized Sabalenka for expecting a different response from Svitolina.
Sabalenka will be playing Karolina Muchova in the semi-finals of the Roland Garros.
Aryna Sabalenka stated that she felt disrespected at the press conference in Roland Garros
Aryna Sabalenka has played outstanding tennis this year. The World No.2 won her maiden Grand Slam at the Australian Open and made three final appearances on the WTA Tours. The Belarussian player claimed her season’s first claycourt title in the Madrid Open. At the Roland Garros, Sabalenka defeated Kamilla Rakhimova and Sloane Stephens in the third and fourth rounds respectively. In the quarter-finals, the 25-year-old overcame the challenge of Elina Svitolina to reach the semi-finals of the major.
However, the Australian Open champion skipped two post-match press conferences at the Roland Garros. The Belarussian player has been constantly questioned about her stance on the ongoing war and her links with the Belarus dictator, Alexander Lukashenko. While addressing a larger audience on her return to the press room, Sabalenka clarified that she does not support Lukashenko. World No.2 cited that she stepped away from the media conference after being disrespected and overwhelmed by the questions.
“I don’t regret the decisions. 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,” she said.
Sabalenka also stated that she is not a politician but a tennis player and would like to focus on her career.
Tanushree Verma is a Content Creater for Tennis at FirstSportz. Since her first interest in the sport in 2014, she has been religiously following tennis from 2021. The most memorable match she ever watched has to be the 2022 Australian Open final. Apart from watching tennis, she is an avid reader and loves to watch Korean dramas.
FirstSportz is the First Stop for all sports fanatics. Starting in 2019, we initially covered Olympic Sports, but in 2021 we added every other sport which you might be looking for, like NFL, Golf, MLB, WWE Cricket, Football, Tennis, Esports, NBA, MMA and more.