Belarusian world quantity two Aryna Sabalenka says she has confronted “hate” within the locker room over her nation’s function in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The Australian Open champion additionally stated she has had “bizarre conversations” with members of participant’s groups.
Belarus is an ally of Russia and allowed troops to make use of its territory to launch the invasion final yr.
“It was actually robust to grasp that there is so many individuals who hate me for no cause,” stated Sabalenka, 24.
“I did nothing.”
Gamers from each nations have been labeled as impartial athletes for the reason that begin of the battle and were banned from last year’s Wimbledon.
Sabalenka, who misplaced within the closing of Indian Wells to Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina on Sunday, was talking earlier than the beginning of the Miami Open.
“It was actually robust for me as a result of I’ve by no means confronted that a lot hate within the locker room,” she stated. “There are quite a lot of haters on Instagram while you’re dropping matches, however within the locker room I’ve by no means confronted that.
“I had some, not like fights, however I had some bizarre conversations with, not the ladies, however with members of their group. It was robust. It was [a] robust interval. However, now it is getting higher.”
Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko withdrew from a match towards Sabalenka – the 2023 Australian Open champion – at Indian Wells final week.
Tsurenko stated she had suffered a panic assault after a chat with Girls’s Tennis Affiliation (WTA) chief government Steve Simon in regards to the sport’s response to Russia’s invasion.
The WTA additionally issued a formal warning to Russia’s Anastasia Potapova at Indian Wells for sporting a Spartak Moscow soccer shirt earlier than her match towards American Jessica Pegula.
World primary Iga Swiatek has stated there ought to be a greater focus on helping Ukrainian players because the battle enters a second yr.
Two-time Grand Slam champion Victoria Azarenka, of Belarus, stated she does “not share the identical opinion” as Swiatek.
She added: “I might encourage her to have a look at the issues which have been completed earlier than she makes feedback. As a participant council member I am comfortable to supply the info. That might be a extra applicable technique to have that dialog.”