Aryna Sabalenka skipped her press conference after a second-round victory at the French Open, citing her mental health.
After Sabalenka, the 2023 Australian Open winner, dispatched Kamilla Rakhimova in straight sets, 6-2, 6-2, the second-seed Sabalenka, who is from Belarus, detailed why she wasn’t holding an open press conference, instead opting to speak to a few journalists picked specifically by the tournament organizers.
“For my own mental health and well-being, I have decided to take myself out of this situation today, and the tournament has supported me in this decision,” she said. “On Wednesday, I did not feel safe in press conference.”
“I should be able to feel safe when I do press conferences. It hasn’t been an easy few days, and now my focus is continue to play well here in Paris.”
After her first-round win, a Ukrainian journalist asked her two questions: one about Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko and how she could possibly support a dictator.
Both times, Sabalenka said, “I have no comments for you,” but the journalist pressed on with his questions, prompting the moderator to step in and control the press conference.
Sabalenka will next take on the winner of Sloane Stephens and Yulia Putintseva in the third round.