Belarusian tennis participant Victoria Azarenka bought right into a heated trade with the media throughout a press convention final week after she confronted numerous questions concerning the controversial shows of pro-Russian supporters on the Australian Open, arguing that she is an “athlete” being questioned about issues outdoors her management.
After shedding the semifinal match in straight units to Elena Rybakina on Thursday, Azarenka grew to become considerably combative with a reporter who questioned her concerning the scrutiny surrounding Russian and Belarusian gamers because the invasion of Ukraine and if she felt it was troublesome to “put all these issues out of your thoughts” whereas competing.
“Different gamers get impacted by what precisely are you asking me?” she requested in response.
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The reporter went on to make clear the questions however Azarenka fired again.
“You are right here speaking about it proper now, so clearly it is a subject you wish to proceed to convey up and up and up once more. So I don’t know what you need me to say.”
The reporter continued his line of questioning, referencing the incident on Wednesday involving Novak Djokovic’s father forward of his semifinal match. Srdjan Djokovic was pictured posing with followers holding Russian flags and not less than one individual carrying the pro-Russian “Z” on his shirt.
“I do not know what it has to do with Novak in any respect, to be truthful,” Azarenka mentioned. “I do not know what you guys need us to do about it. Like speak about it? I do not know what is the aim right here that it is constantly introduced up.”
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She continued: “These incidents that, in my view, don’t have anything to do with gamers, however someway you retain dragging gamers into it. So what is the aim right here? I believe you need to ask your self that query, not me.”
One other reporter adopted up with questions on pro-Russian demonstrations occurring at the Australian Open however Azarenka seemingly had sufficient.
“Regardless of the reply I’ll give it to you proper now, it is going to be turned whichever method you wish to flip it to. So does it trouble me? What bothers me is there’s actual issues that is happening on the earth. I do not know. Are you a politician? Are you? Are you overlaying politics?”
When the individual responded that they’re certainly overlaying sports activities, Azarenka replied: “And I am an athlete and also you’re asking me about issues that perhaps any person says are in my management, however I do not consider that.”
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Athletes from Russia and Belarus had been barred final yr from competing in varied sports activities occasions, together with the lads’s World Cup in soccer and Wimbledon, the Billie Jean King Cup and Davis Cup in tennis, due to the warfare in Ukraine. Russia invaded, with assist from Belarus, in February.
Russian and Belarusian gamers have been allowed to play on the Australian Open, French Open and U.S. Open, however as “impartial” athletes, so their nationalities will not be acknowledged on any official schedules or outcomes for the occasion and their nations’ flags will not be displayed on TV graphics.
The Related Press contributed to this report.