Elina Svitolina seemingly questioned the French Open's decision not to fine Aryna Sabalenka over skipping a press conference. Exactly two years ago, Osaka drew lots of criticism when she announced she would not be conducting press conferences during the French Open.
Before abruptly pulling out of the 2021 French Open, Osaka was handed a $15,000 fine and warned she could be thrown out of the tournament if she continued skipping pressers. After Sabalenka was confronted by a Ukrainian journalist in back-to-back press conferences about her views on the war, she didn't hold press conferences in her next two French Open matches.
On Tuesday, Sabalenka handed Svitolina a 6-4 6-4 defeat in the French Open quarterfinal and returned to the press room for the first time in six days. "I think it should be equal for everyone. Like, for example, why Naomi got fined last time and this time there is no fine for the player, which also skip the press conference.
So this is like if there would be no fine for Naomi, maybe it would be different, but, you know, it should be equal for every situation. Yeah, just I faced difficulties, I faced difficulty also with the question about Novak, about his statement about Kosovo.
So, you know, I'm not escaping. I have my strong position, and I'm vocal about that. I'm not gonna try to win likeness of the people by betraying my strong belief and strongest position for my country," Svitolina said.
Svitolina questions why Sabalenka wasn't fined like Osaka
After beating Svitolina and returning to the press room, Sabalenka said she felt "disrespected and bad" before deciding to skip her press conferences in Paris.
With that being said, Sabalenka had no regrets over her decision. “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.
I really hope that you guys will understand me, my feelings. You know that I really respect all of you, and I'm always open. You can ask whatever you want. You will get all the information, but in the last press conference, I felt like my press conference became a political TV show, and I'm not expert in politics. I'm just a tennis player," Sabalenka said.
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