Fans angry with Sabalenka for her favorable words about tennis in Saudi Arabia

Many users on social media have harshly attacked the Belarusian for having declared herself in favor of moving the WTA Finals to Saudi Arabia

by Lorenzo Ciotti
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Fans angry with Sabalenka for her favorable words about tennis in Saudi Arabia
© Julian Finney / Staff Getty Images Sport

Aryna Sbalenka has attracted a lot of criticism from social media users, in the last few hours. There was great anticipation for the match between the defending champion and the very young Brenda Fruhrvirtova, in the second round of the Australian Open 2024. After a difficult start, an initial part of the first set with too many errors, the Belarusian literally swept away her opponent .

Aryna Sabalenka has, as mentioned above, attracted a lot of criticism and indignation for having expressed herself in favor of moving the WTA finals to Saudi Arabia. During the post-match press conference, Sabalenka responded to a question about the possibility of the WTA Finals taking place in Saudi Arabia.

Aryna Sabalenka
Aryna Sabalenka© Daniel Pockett / Stringer Getty Images Sport
 

The Belarusian recalled her previous experience playing in the country, and during the exhibition match of the Riyadh Season Tennis Cup against Ons Jabeur, underlining the incredible atmosphere and hospitality, declaring that she would gladly return to Saudi Arabia. Many users were annoyed by her words, as she supported a country which, according to the social media users, constantly violates human rights.

"Playing in Saudi Arabia was an amazing experience. I expected something different. They treated us really well. There was a really great atmosphere in the stadium. People really like sports there. They really like tennis. The atmosphere was amazing. the level of hospitality was definitely much, much, much better than in Cancun. Yes, I'm happy to go there," expained Aryna.

Below are some of the most poisonous posts shared on.

A year of social criticism for Aryna

It hasn't been an easy year for Sabalenka. She, of Belarusian nationality, had to defend herself from the avalanche of criticism received for having maintained an ambiguous position (according to fans and social media users) regarding the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

Many tennis players and coaches (mostly Ukrainians) also sided against the winner of the 2023 edition of the Australian Open, underlining her ambiguity and avoiding her in tournaments and in the locker rooms.

Pressured by questions, Aryna asked tournament organizers to ban journalists from asking her questions about the war. A situation, too, which greatly annoyed the fans, so much so that many literally buried the Belarusian with abusive posts.

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