Aryna Sabalenka again found herself in a fiery exchange with a Ukrainian journalist at the French Open as this time the Belarusian tennis star simply decided to shut down all war-related questions. Following her French Open first-round win, Sabalenka received a very lengthy question from a Ukrainian journalist, who accused the Belarusian of avoiding condemning the war and also "twisting it as if Ukrainian players hate her." On Wednesday, Sabalenka won her French Open second-round match and the same journalist returned with some pointed questions.
"I want to ask you two questions. First, it's about Belarus. Then in 2020 you signed a letter to support Lukashenko, in times when he was torturing and beating up protestants in the street. And then eventually you showed up celebrating the new year with him.
How is it possible that the potential World No 1 supports a dictator and..." the journalist asked Sabalenka. Sabalenka gave a quick response: "I have no comments for you, so thank you for your question."
Sabalenka's fiery exchange with a journalist
The journalist then delivered a follow-up question: "The second question is, you keep saying that nobody supports war, nobody, but can you speak for yourself and say: I, Aryna Sabalenka, flatly condemn the fact that Belarus is attacking Ukraine with missiles, and I want it to stop?" Sabalenka pretty much repeated the answer she gave moments before: "I've got no comments for you." The journalist kept going at Sabalenka: "So you basically support everything because you cannot speak up? You're not a small person, Aryna.
You can..." The moderator then jumped it and highlighted: "She's made it clear that she's not going to answer." Sabalenka did add a bit more: "You've got enough answers from me, and l've got no comments for you."
In the French Open first round, Sabalenka defeated Ukraine's Marta Kostyuk.
Tense exchange at Aryna Sabalenka's press conference, when a Ukrainian journalist asked her a pointed question about her previous support for Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko: pic.twitter.com/dHJK0Cuysm — Molly McElwee (@molly_mcelwee) May 31, 2023
After the match, Kostyuk was booed by the French Open crowd for refusing to shake hands with Sabalenka. When Sabalenka was asked about Kostyuk, she said the French Open crowd should not have booed the Ukrainian.
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