The Belarusian Australian Open winner Aryna Sabalenka has again reported hatred in the tennis scene and positioned herself clearly against Russia's war of aggression in Ukraine. "If I could stop the war, I would do it, but unfortunately it's not in my hands," said the world number two at the tennis tournament in Stuttgart.
She definitely feels she's been looked at strangely since the war and "probably" felt hatred from some people. "But now I realized that I didn't do anything bad to Ukraine," said the 24-year-old. "There are people who don't like me just because I was born in Belarus. That's their choice. I can't control that. It's not the best feeling to be hated for practically nothing. But it is what it is ."
At the tournament in Indian Wells in March, Ukrainian tennis player Lessia Zurenko withdrew before the third-round game against Grand Slam tournament winner Sabalenka. First, the women's organization WTA gave personal reasons for not appearing. The Ukrainian herself later explained her withdrawal with a panic attack. Belarus is considered one of Russia's most important allies in the war of aggression against Ukraine.
She has nothing to do with politics, said Sabalenka. She tries to look less on the internet because of the atmosphere. "I can concentrate on myself and my game," said the Stuttgart finalist of the past two years. At the high-class clay court tournament in Stuttgart, Sabalenka is second behind the Polish world number one Iga Swiatek. Russian and Belarusian professionals are allowed to compete in tennis tournaments but compete without their flag.