Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus noted on Friday that players from other countries are also feeling the burden as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
While preventing players from Russia and its ally Belarus from competing under their national flags, the WTA and ATP tournaments maintain that any athlete has a right to compete. Wimbledon allegedly plans to lift its ban on players from Russia and Belarus from last year.
After having a chat with WTA CEO Steve Simon regarding the escalating tensions due to the war, in which she felt Simon to be unsupportive, Lesia Tsurenko subsequently claimed to have experienced a panic attack, and she was unable to play against Sabalenka in Indian Wells.
Sabalenka vs. Tsurenko’s coach Nikita Vlasov
When asked to comment on the issue while talking about her struggle, Sabalenka was also vocal against Lesia Tsurenko’s coach.
“I was through so many bad things, and unfortunately, I’m not able to say that because who is gonna believe Belarusian girl,” said Aryna. “I think Tsurenko withdrawing, there was more than panic attack or more than political situation. I think there is something more. I had a really tough situation last year with her coach the way he act to me. So I think that guy put so much pressure on her, and that’s why that happened.
“It’s nothing to do with WTA. They are doing their best job. None of us have control in this situation.
“All of us (are) just trying to keep calm in the locker room … all of us understand Ukrainians and we really feel bad for them.”
Sabalenka in Indian Wells, ranking, and results in 2023
Now ranked no.2 (career-high), the Belarussian achieved a composed 17-1 match record in 2023. Sabalenka is now playing in Indian Wells where she conquered the world no.427 Evgeniya Rodina 6-2 6-0, the world no.95 Lesya Tsurenko w/o, the world no.16 Barbora Krejcikova 6-3 2-6 6-4, the world no.6 Cori Gauff 6-4 6-0 and the world no.7 Maria Sakkari 6-2 6-3.
Aryna Sabalenka will play the world no.10 Elena Rybakina in the final. Their actual head to head record is 4-0 for Sabalenka.
Sabalenka has won 2 titles in 2023 in Adelaide and Australian Open.
The Belarussian won 12 titles in her career: 9 on hard courts, 1 on clay courts and 2 on indoor courts. (See the list of her titles)
Sabalenka has scheduled to compete next in Miami (Miami Open). She will start the tournament from the main draw that will commence on the 21st of March.
Tsurenko in Indian Wells, ranking, and results in 2023
Now ranked no.95, Tsurenko has achieved an overall 18-4 match record in 2023. The Ukrainian is playing at the moment in Indian Wells where she bested the world no.123 Taylor Townsend 6-75 6-1 6-1, the world no.151 Katie Boulter 6-3 6-74 6-4, the world no.33 Lin Zhu 6-4 6-3 and the world no.23 Donna Vekic 2-6 6-2 6-2.
Aryna Sabalenka and Lesya Tsurenko squared off only 2 times. Their actual head to head record is 1-1. Previously, the last time they fought against each other, Aryna Sabalenka won 6-2 7-5 in the 3rd round in Indian Wells (BNP Paribas Open) in March 2019.
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