Aryna Sabalenka, the world No. 2 tennis player, expressed concern that the comments made by Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko could further diminish her popularity on the WTA Tour. Sabalenka revealed last month that she faced “hate” from some players in the locker room because of strained relations between countries following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
She also made it clear that she has nothing to do with politics and wishes to stay out of it. Lukashenko recently congratulated Sabalenka on her Australian Open win and implied that she represented Belarus even when playing under a neutral flag. Sabalenka believes that such comments do not help her in any way.
Sabalenka expressed her opinion on the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, saying that she would “stop the war” in Ukraine if she could. Sabalenka made this statement in response to the increasing tension between players on the WTA Tour due to the conflict.
Tennis’s governing bodies banned players from Russia and Belarus from playing under their countries’ flags following the war. The move has strained relationships between players from different countries, with some expressing anger toward their counterparts. Sabalenka’s stance on the war shows that she is willing to go beyond sports and speak out on important issues.
Sabalenka believes that she is caught in a difficult situation because of Lukashenko’s comments. She fears that Ukrainians may hate her more because of the president’s statements.
However, she also acknowledges that she has no control over what people think or do. Sabalenka is willing to accept hatred if it makes people feel better, even if it is unjustified.