Watch: Aryna Sabalenka responds to tricky question from Ukrainian journalist

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Watch: Aryna Sabalenka responds to tricky question from Ukrainian journalist
Watch: Aryna Sabalenka responds to tricky question from Ukrainian journalist

Belarusian tennis star Aryna Sabalenka had to clarify certain things to a Ukrainian journalist after a French Open match against Marta Kostyuk that ended in a dramatic way. After losing to Sabalenka in the French Open first round, Ukraine's Kostyuk was booed off the court by the crowd for refusing to shake hands with the Belarusian.

During Sabalenka's press conference, a Ukrainian journalist appeared to suggest that the Belarusian was "twisting it as if Ukrainian players hate her." Also, the journalist accused Sabalenka of avoiding condemning the war and also appeared to suggest that she as a role model needed to do better.

“First of all, I'm not saying that they are saying they hate me," Sabalenka said. The Ukrainian journalist interrupted Sabalenka by saying: “You did. You did many times”.

Sabalenka's long answer to the journalist

“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. 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 those 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. Secondly, as the World No 1, what's my message? Okay, let's get back to the country. I'm from a 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 are from small countries, who don't have enough money, who's just from small countries, that they can do well in this sport. That they have to work hard and believe in themselves and they can do whatever they want to.

This is my main message as World No 1. I don't know if I'm a role model for a lot of people or, as I said, there's going to be people who don't like me and there are going to be people who like me. I'm focusing on people who like me and who want me to be the best.

I want to show my best tennis, I want people to enjoy tennis matches, to enjoy my matches. So this is my message, to bring joy for people. I don't know," Sabalenka said, per Express-Sport. For months, Sabalenka has been repeating that she is "for peace all over the world." But the problem for Sabalenka is that some feel that's not enough.

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