Will Belarus players, treated as stateless, face off in the final at the Australian Open?
The Australian Open women’s singles semifinals were condensed into a showdown between Belarus’ Sabalenka and Poland’s Lynette, and Belarus’ Azaranka and Kazakhstan’s Rivakina.
A ‘new history’ in Belarusian tennis will be made when Sabalenka and Azaranka win side-by-side in the semifinals held at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia, on the afternoon of the 26th.
In the history of more than 100 years of the four majors, there has never been a case where men and women from Belarus faced each other in a singles final.
Azaranka is the only Belarusian who has ever reached the singles final of a major tournament.
Azaranka, who has won two majors, has faced only players from other countries in all five finals.
Sabalenka, who is 25 years old this year, is a generation who grew up dreaming of becoming a tennis player by watching Azaranka, who is 9 years older than her, so the matchup will feel more special to the two.
But a bigger reason for Sabalenka’s desire to face Azaranka in the final is the feelings Belarusian players feel about the actions taken in the aftermath of the Russo-Ukrainian war that began last year.
Belarusian players who helped Russia and Russia’s invasion competed after the war without national flags or other symbols indicating their country of origin.
The organizers of Wimbledon, considered the most prestigious of the major tournaments, banned Russian and Belarusian players from last year’s tournament, causing a stir. 안전놀이터
The WTA and ATP decided not to impose a fine on the organizers of Wimbledon and not impose ranking points on the players’ performances at Wimbledon, but it does not seem to be much comfort for Russian and Belarusian players.
The stadium atmosphere at the Australian Open is also not friendly to Russian and Belarus players.
Stadium security staff are confiscating flags from fans of both countries from the stands.
Sabalenka, who criticized last year, “No player supports war. It’s really disappointing (to see politics intervene in sports).” He did not hide his desire to create a ‘new history’, saying, “I will do anything.”
“(Political decisions) affected me a lot, and it’s still hard,” he said. “I know it’s not my fault, but I don’t have a choice. I can’t do anything.”