The war between Russia and Ukraine is such a widely discussed topic, that it inevitably spills over into other areas such as sport. Just think of the sanctions that Russian and Belarusian tennis players received at Wimbledon in 2022, to name one example.
Russian and Belarusian tennis players who, despite being totally unrelated to the atrocious Russian-Ukrainian political events, suffer considerable media pressure. The most striking case of the last few days is that which concerned Aryna Sabalenka, who declared that she did not feel safe in the last press conference held at the Roland Garros 2023, so much so that she asked the organization to draw up a precise list of journalists to be admitted to the press room from now on.
Request that, as announced by the tournament director Amélie Mauresmo in an interview with L'Equipe, the management board of the Parisian Slam has decided to satisfy.
Mauresmo: "her request also came from other tennis players"
Aryna Sabalenka's request was not an isolated one.
According to Amélie Mauresmo, other players have also invited the management of the Roland Garros to allow access to the tournament press rooms only to journalists who are less impertinent. In the end, the Parisian Grand Slam decided to accept this request, as Mauresmo herself declared to L'Equipe who openly sided with Sabalenka: "She came out of the first two conferences very impressed, to say the least.
Given the different experiences we have had in the past in terms of mental health, we decided to grant her request. And she wasn't the only one making this request. It doesn't necessarily shock me that politics is involved in sports.
After that, when there is a request for an opinion, the sportsman must be respected if the athlete does not want to express himself on the subject. It becomes problematic if a question is asked multiple times when the athlete has said they don't want to answer it.
You don't have to put the athlete in this situation. There must be a cordial understanding between the two parties. The athlete must respect the questions, but the journalist must respect the will of the athlete if she does not want to express herself." Returning to the court, Sabalenka played to access to the semifinals of hte Roland Garros against Elina Svitolina: the Australian Open champion won in straight sets, with a double 6-4.
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