Aryna Sabalenka on her pictures with Belarus President: "Nothing bad was happening; I'm not supporting the war"

Aryna Sabalenka marked her presence at French Open presser after boycotting her previous two pressers
Aryna Sabalenka marked her presence at French Open presser after boycotting her previous two pressers

Aryna Sabalenka has provided clarification about the pictures of her hugging and conversing with Belarus’ President, which are circling around the internet.

Sabalenka is currently contesting the 2023 French Open and is through to the semifinals with victory over Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina 6-4, 6-4.

In her post-match press conference, the Belarusian was asked about the resurfaced pictures of her with her country’s President Alexander Lukashenko. Aryna Sabalenka clarified that the images of her meeting were from when the president had attended the Belarusian team's Fed Cup matches.

“We played a lot of Fed Cups in Belarus. He was in our matches taking pictures with us after the match,” she revealed.

The Australian Open champion reminded that the situation was different during their meeting, as Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine were not involved in conflict.

“Nothing bad was happening that time in Belarus or in Ukraine or in Russia,” Aryna Sabalenka explained.

Sabalenka, who has publicly stated that she is against war, reiterated her position by repeatedly declaring her opposition.

“I said it many times already, I'm not supporting war. I don't want my country to be involved in any conflict. I said it many times, and you know where I stand, you know. You have my position. You have my answer. I answered it many times. I'm not supporting the war,” she said. “I don't support war, meaning I don't support Lukashenko right now.”

"I really hope that you will understand me, my feelings" – Aryna Sabalenka makes a plea to journalists at French Open 2023

Aryna Sabalenka at the 2023 French Open
Aryna Sabalenka at the 2023 French Open

Aryna Sabalenka attended her post-quarterfinal press conference after skipping her previous two press conferences. The 25-year-old had stated that she felt “unsafe” in the environment when a few journalists asked her persistent questions about her position on the Russia-Ukraine war.

During her latest press conference, Sabalenka requested the journalists to be considerate towards her and stated that she, as a tennis player, did not wish to be involved in politics.

“The thing that I don't want sport to be involved in politics, because I'm just a tennis player, 25-years-old tennis player. And if I would like to be political I wouldn't be here. I don't want to be involved in any politics. I just want to be a tennis player,” she said.
“I really hope that you guys will understand me, my feelings. You know that I really respect all of you, and I always open. You can ask whatever you want. You will get all the information. But in the last press conference, I felt like my press conference became a political TV show, and I'm not expert in politics. I'm just a tennis player,” she added.

World No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka is in pursuit of the World No. 1 spot as well as her second Grand Slam title at the 2023 French Open. She is through to the semifinals of the event and will face Czech Republic’s Karolina Muchova for a spot in the ultimate clash.

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Edited by Hari Priya CR
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