The invasion of Russia and the war in Ukraine split the waters in the WTA tours and Belarusian Aryna Sabalenkanumber two in the world, he said he has experienced uncomfortable situations and that it is difficult for him to understand the “hate” he sees in the dressing room of the women’s circuit, amidst the tense relationships between some players.
“It was very difficult for me because I had never faced so much hate in the dressing room,” the Minsk player said during the pre-match press conference. Miami WTA 1000. “There are many haters In instagram when you lose a game, but I had never faced him in the locker room. It was very difficult to understand that there are so many people who hate me for no reason. I did nothing”.
“I’ve had conversations that I wouldn’t call real fights, but I’ve had strange, very hard ones: I’m not saying with the other players, but with their coaching staff… It was tough, even if things are a bit better now,” continued the Belarusian. 25 years old and winner in January of Australian Open.
Sabalenka, her compatriots and her Russian colleagues compete on the circuit as “neutral”, i.e. without a flag, under the sanctions imposed by the three governing bodies of tennis (WTA, ATP extension AND ITF) to these two countries because of the war in Ukraine. Furthermore, they have been excluded from the 2022 edition of Wimbledon.
Last week, after winning the semifinals of Indian wells to the Greek Maria Sakkari and a few hours before the final she lost against the Kazakh Elena RybakinaSabalenka had assured that she has “nothing against the Ukrainians” and that she “feels bad” about what they are experiencing following the Russian invasion of their country. And he had also referred to the tense atmosphere in the locker room.
“Nobody can control each other’s emotions. Of course there is a lot of tension between us, but I think I have done nothing wrong to Ukraine – neither me, nor the Russian athletes, nor the Belarusians, none of us have done anything wrong. Some of us helped too, though not publicly,” he said.
“I think the WTA is doing a great job of supporting both sides. What else can they do? None of us have that much control in this situation. We all try to stay calm in the locker room and still understand that it’s not our fault and that we all understand Ukrainians. But I went through so many bad things and, unfortunately, I can’t tell, because who will believe the Belarusian girl”.
On that occasion they consulted him on the situation that the Ukrainian had led Lesia Tsurenkowithdrew from the match he was supposed to play against Sabalenka in the round of 16 in the Californian desert, after suffering a panic attack linked to the war in his country, after an interview with SteveSimonexecutive director of the WTA, which left her “in shock”.
“There was more than a panic attack or a political issue. I think there is something more. Last year I had a really difficult situation with his coach (Nikita Vlasov) for the way it behaves around me. I think it put so much pressure on her that it happened” said the world number two.
Clash of two numbers 1
A few days ago Iga Swiatek also referred to the tense climate Sabalenka was talking about. The Polish, number one in the world, assured that “at the beginning of the war there was a lot of chaos in the locker rooms”, she complained to the WTA about the attitude of the Russian Anastasia Potapova, who took the field at Indian Wells wearing the of Spartak Moscow and said “everything we discuss in tennis is about players from Russia and Belarus.”
In the Miami preview, Victoria Azarenka came out to cross the current number one. “Personally, I have not seen that tension. It is clear that there are some players who have different feelings and behaviors. In general, I do not share the same view of Iga. I encourage you to take a look at the things that have happened before not commenting “, he said that he also managed to occupy the first place in the standings.
“As a member of the Player Council, I would be very happy to introduce and teach Iga everything that has been done before. And I think it would be a much more appropriate way to have that conversation,” Vika said.
The cross between Azarenka and Swiatek could have reached the field in Miami, as the two had been in the same half of the tournament draw. But the Pole, champion in 2022, has decided to withdraw from the race, due to an injury to the rib area caused by a strong coughing episode and which causes her a lot of pain.
“We were checking if it’s the type of injury you can still play with or the type where things can get worse. In the end, the smartest thing is to get out of the tournament because I want to rest and take care of myself,” explained the number 1 in an interview with the press.
And without revealing whether it’s a muscle or bone problem, he added: “It hurts in certain movements but it’s not that bad. I can do many things. But I’m aware that if something hurts, it could be a problem in the future.” . The break won’t be long if all goes well.”
Jason Root is the go-to source for sports coverage at News Rebeat. With a passion for athletics and an in-depth knowledge of the latest sports trends, Jason provides comprehensive and engaging analysis of the world of sports.