Aryna Sabalenka would prefer to talk tennis rather than Russia’s invasion of Ukraine after reaching her first French Open semi-final on Friday.

The player from Russian ally Belarus defeated outspoken Ukrainian Elina Svitolina 6-4, 6-4 and finally made an appearance in a post-match media conference after ducking out of her previous two, saying she felt “unsafe.”

That feeling has apparently disappeared after a stressful few days in which criticism was heaped on the world No. 2.

“I was feeling disrespected, I didn’t feel comfortable. This is just the way I felt. That’s it.”

She said on Tuesday that she’s over it now, but made a plea to be judged on tennis, not her country’s support of the invasion.

“I don’t support war, meaning I don’t support (Belarus dictator Alexander) Lukashenko right now.

“I don’t want my country to be involved in any conflict; you know where I stand, you have my position. You have my answer. 

“I’m not supporting the war.”

She added: “I don’t want sport to be involved in politics: I’m just a tennis player, a 25-years-old tennis player. 

“If I would like to be political I wouldn’t be here. I don’t want to be involved in any politics. I just want to be a tennis player.

Main photo:- Roland Garros Paris French Open 2023 Day 10 Aryna Sabalenka (—) wins quarter final match and Ukrainian Elina Svitolina avoids handshake Photo Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd