Aryna Sabalenka defends herself from criticism after controversial statement about preferring men's tennis over women's

BNP Paribas Open - Day 3
Aryna Sabalenka received flak for her controversial remarks

Aryna Sabalenka recently defended herself from the criticism she received over her remarks about preferring men's tennis over women's tennis.

Sabalenka, who is currently in Madrid for the 2024 Madrid Open, said in her pre-tournament press conference that she preferred to watch men's tennis over women's tennis as men's tennis is more logical and interesting according to her.

"I'm not someone who watches too much tennis, I prefer to watch men's tennis rather than women's tennis, I feel like there is more logic and it's more interesting to watch (laughs)," Aryna Sabalenka said.

This invited ire from fans who felt her statement was detrimental to women's tennis which has suffered discrimination for a long time.

The Belarusian recently came out with another statement explaining her previous remarks. In the press conference, Sabalenka said that she spent a lot of time watching WTA players and analyzing them before her matches so she prefers not to watch the same players in her free time.

"I didn't mean to disparage women's tennis, I just find it more fun to watch men play because I spend a lot of time studying my opponents, so then in my free time I don't want to see girls again that I can play against," Aryna Sabalenka said in the press conference.

Aryna Sabalenka moves on to the third round at the 2024 Madrid Open

Aryna Sabalenka at the 2024 Madrid Open
Aryna Sabalenka at the 2024 Madrid Open

Defending champion Aryna Sabalenka won her tricky second-round match against Magda Linette 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 at the 2024 Madrid Open to begin her title defense. She received a bye in the first round.

The Belarusian said in the on-court interview that Linette was a tough opponent and that their matches have always been tough.

"She's a tough opponent. I've played a couple matches against her and they've always been tough battles. There were some ups and downs but I'm happy I was able to close this match and get through to another one," Aryna Sabalenka said in the on-court interview.

Sabalenka will face Robin Montgomery in the third round. This is their first encounter on the main tour.

Sabalenka previously won the Madrid Open title in 2021 and 2023. In 2021, the World No. 2 defeated Vera Zvonareva, Daria Kasatkina, and Jessica Pegula to reach the quarterfinals, where she defeated Elise Mertens. In the semifinals, she defeated Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Sabalenka battled past Ashleigh Barty 6-0, 3-6, 6-4 in the final to lift the title.

In 2023, she won the tournament again as she defeated Sorana Cirstea, Camila Osorio and Mirra Andreeva to reach the quarterfinal, where she downed Mayar Sherif. In the semifinal, she eased past Maria Sakkari to set up a final contest with the World No. 1 Iga Swiatek. Sabalenka defeated Swiatek 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 to lift the title.

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