'Wimbledon ban was hard': Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka on Belarusian ban from 2022 championships

'Wimbledon ban was hard': Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka on Belarusian ban from 2022 championships

Aryna Sabalenka's maiden Australian Open singles title holds special importance when considered over the backdrop of geopolitics.

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Sunday, January 29, 2023, 07:19 PM IST
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Austrtalian Open champion Ayrna Sabalenka who lifted her maiden Grand Slam trophy admitted the ban on Belarusian athletes at the 2022 Wimbledon Championships was really hard for her. Wimbledon took the decision to ban all players from Russia and Belarus amid Russia's war in Ukraine. Top seeds stars like Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev were both victims of the ban.

The controversial ban split opinion with ATP and the WTA the Tennis association bodies for mens and womens tennis. The move eventually led to Wimbledon being stripped of their ranking points for the 2022 Championships.

Didn't stop working hard...

Sabalenka who reached the semifinals of Wimbledon in 2021 spoke about how she felt after being banned from competing.

‘I mean, missing Wimbledon was really tough for me,’ Sabalenka said after her win over 2022 Wimbledon champion Rybakina as the 24-year-old became the first neutral athlete to win a major, with Russians and Belarusians unable to play under their nation’s flags since the invasion of Ukraine began in February last year.

‘It was a tough moment for me…. [but] it’s not about Wimbledon right now. It’s just about the hard work I’ve done. I think everyone still knows that I’m Belarusian player. That’s it.’

On being asked how she planned to celebrate following her Australian Open win Sabalenka said:

"It’s tough to explain what I’m feeling right now, she added." "I’m just super happy and proud! I don’t know how to explain. Just the best day of my life right now."

"I will have some good pizza and a lot of sweets. Maybe a little bit of champagne."

"I think during these two weeks I really was super calm on court, and I really believed in myself a lot, that my game will give me a lot of opportunities in each game to win this title."

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