I don’t support the war, I don’t support Lukashenko, says tennis number 2 Sabalenka

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Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka, the world tennis number two, said on Tuesday she did not want her country to be in any conflict and did not support the war in Ukraine.

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“I don’t want my country to be in any conflict, I don’t support the war,” Sabalenka told a press conference after her quarter-final victory against Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina at the French Open.

“I don’t support war, meaning I don’t support (Belarus President) Alexander Lukashenko right now.”

Sabalenka did not attend her two previous press conferences last week, citing mental health reasons and saying she did not feel safe after being grilled about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow calls a “special military operation,” and Belarus being used as a staging ground for Russian troops.

“I really felt bad not coming here. I couldn’t sleep. Like all those bad feelings was in my head, I couldn’t fall asleep. I felt really bad not coming here,” Sabalenka explained, although she did not regret skipping her media duties.

“I don’t regret the decisions. I felt really disrespected, and I felt really bad. I mean, Grand Slam, it’s enough pressure to handle, and I just tried to focus on myself, on my game,” she said.

“I really hope that you guys will understand me, my feelings. You know that I really respect all of you... 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.”

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