The Belarusian tennis player Aryna Sabalenka admitted there is “a lot of tension” between the tennis players due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and defended that the WTA you are doing the best you can to deal with this situation.
Sabalenkawho qualified this Friday for the final of Indian Wellswas asked at a press conference about how the relationship of Russian, Belarusian and Ukrainian tennis players and if the WTA has done a good job in this regard.
It was also mentioned that the same question is the withdrawal of Ukraine Lesia Tsurenkowho did not jump on the court against Sabalenka in the third round and who later secured having suffered a panic attack.
Victim of a crisis of panic and forfait pour son 3e tour contre la Biélorusse A. Sabalenka, à Indian Wells, l’Ukrainienne Lesia Tsurenko vit très mal une discussion qu’elle avait eue, avec Steve Simon, patron de la WTA, à propos de la guerre en Ukraine https://t.co/pg4e2KwnSY pic.twitter.com/xPek3i7omE
— L’ÉQUIPE (@lequipe) March 17, 2023
“No one can control the emotions of others. I think the WTA is doing the best it can to control it,” said the number two tennis player in the world.
Yes, of course there is a lot of tension between us. I mean, I still have this belief that I didn’t do anything wrong to the Ukrainians. Neither I, nor Russian athletes, nor Belarusian athletes, none of us did something wrong. Some of us are even helping. Not publicly, so to speak.
The Belarusian said that she has also gone through unpleasant situations relative to this voltage in the circuit.
On the other hand, Sabalenka hinted that, in addition to the panic attack and the “political situation” in Ukraine, the Tsurenko’s decision could be related to his coach.
“I think there is something else. I had a really tough situation with his coach and the way he acted towards me. so i think that man puts a lot of pressure on her“, he opined.
None of us have control in this situation. We are all trying to keep the locker room as calm as possible and understand that it is not our fault and that we all understand the Ukrainians and really feel bad for them. That’s all. I think I have talked a lot.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has crept these days into the talks of Indian Wellswhere several tennis players have spoken about the war and its consequences before the microphones of the media.
For example, Tsurenko explained about his withdrawal, on the portal Big Tennis of Ukrainewho had a panic attack after speaking with WTA Chairman and CEO Steve Simon.
Lesia Tsurenko: “I had a talk with WTA CEO Steve Simon & I was shocked by what I heard. He said he doesn’t support the war, but if players from Russia & Belarus support it, the opinion of others shouldn’t upset me. But he noticed that if he was in my place, he would feel terrible” pic.twitter.com/ZkOf8sDDx4
— The Tennis Letter (@TheTennisLetter) March 13, 2023
“I was absolutely shocked by what I heard from him. He told me that he doesn’t support the war but if the players from Russia and Belarus do, that’s just his own opinion. and other people’s opinions shouldn’t bother me,” explained the tennis player.
In an interview with the BBC this Friday, Simon reiterated that “solidarity” of the WTA “is at the highest level” with all Ukrainians.
We’re continuing to talk (with the Russian and Belarusian players) to make sure they understand the sensitivities here and are competing as neutrals. What is happening in Ukraine deserves to be condemned. You cannot support it in any way, nor what the Russian government is doing.
A very heard voice on the circuit is that of the Polish Iga Swiateknumber one in the world and who publicly supported Tsurenko.
I totally understand why she withdrew because honestly I respect the women of Ukraine so much and because if a bomb were to fall on my country and my house was vandalized I don’t know if I could handle that and play and compete in the WTA.
swiatekwho urged the tennis world to be more supportive of Ukrainian tennis players, also defended that Athletes have “the responsibility to set a good example” and implicitly criticized the Russian Anastasia Potapovawho in Indian Wells wore a Spartak Moscow jersey football before one of their matches.
Also in the men’s competition, the war has been discussed through Russian Daniel Medvedevthe most fit player at the moment with 18 straight game wins and three consecutive tournament wins (Rotterdam, Doha and Dubai).
Yes, it is a difficult question to answer. First of all, I definitely feel sorry for all the Ukrainian players and what they are going through.. Regarding the ‘top’ players, of course we have a responsibility and depends on what each person or individual does with it. I have always said the same thing: I am in favor of peace throughout the world and, to be honest, that is all I can say ”, he declared.
(With information from EFE)