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    06 June 2023

    2023 French Open: Aryna Sabalenka distances herself from Belarus leader Alexander Lukashenko

    Aryna Sabalenka speaks out against Belarusian President’s support for war in Ukraine

    Bewinner tennis player, Aryna Sabalenka has made a statement regarding her lack of support towards the Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko due to his backing of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

    Previously, she had mentioned that no athlete supports the war but this is the first time she has spoken out against Lukashenko.

    Sabalenka had been avoiding open news conferences during French Open since Friday due to political questions taking a toll on her mental well-being. However, after reaching semi-finals, she resumed her regular media duties.

    In response to whether or not she supported Lukashenko and his stance on the matter at hand, Sabalenka stated “I don’t support war. I don’t support Lukashenko right now”.

    The 25-year-old tennis star could become the women’s world number one at French Open and is one of Belarus’ highest-profile athletes. Since February 2022 when the conflict began in Ukraine, there have been pressures placed upon her to distance herself from Lukashenko whom she had met previously and even photographed alongside with at New Year’s Eve function back in 2020.

    Lukashenko who happens to be a close ally of Russian president Vladimir Putin provided military assistance during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine which led many people including opposition activists accusing police officials of brutal tactics such as beating up protesters using water cannons and stun grenades while they disputed presidential elections held earlier last year resulting in mass protests across Eastern Europe.

    A Tennis Player Not A Politician

    “I said it many times already; I’m not supporting any form of conflict between nations,” says Aryna responding further about politics being involved in sports. She further stated that she wanted to focus on being a tennis player and did not wish to involve herself in any political matters.

    Sabalenka had been under scrutiny after Lukashenko congratulated her on winning the Australian Open earlier this year, stating that people knew which country she hailed from even if she was playing under a neutral flag.

    This is the first time Sabalenka has spoken out against Lukashenko’s controversial policies despite meeting him several times previously. “I don’t want sport to be involved in politics because I’m just a tennis player,” said Sabalenka responding to whether or not she supported President Lukashenko.


    Aryna Sabalenka’s latest statement comes as no surprise given the recent conflict between Ukraine and Russia, with many athletes taking an active stance towards maintaining neutrality during times of political unrest.

    Her stance also highlights how important it is for sportsmen and women to maintain their distance from politicians while prioritizing their career goals without getting embroiled into nationalistic debates.

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