Updated on 06/01/23 at 11:10 a.m.
If the Russian and Belarusian players play under a neutral banner, the war between Ukraine and Russia is never very far from the professional tennis circuit. Latest example, a journalist asked Aryna Sabalenka about her support for President Alexander Lukashenko following his victory against his compatriot Iryna Shymanovich (7-5, 6-2) in the second round of Roland-Garros, as underlined THE Figaro.
“In 2020, you signed a letter to support Lukashenko as he tortured and beat protesters in the streets. Then you celebrated the New Year with him. How a potential number 1 [mondiale] can she support a dictator? asked the journalist. “I have no comment to make. Thank you for your question,” the player immediately replied.
The journalist then asked her to condemn the war in Ukraine, which the player refused to do, before the moderator of the press service of the tournament interrupted the exchange. In the first round, the Ukrainian Kostyuk refused to shake hands with Sabalenka after her defeat in the first round against the Belarusian (6-3, 6-2).
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