Djokovic, Sabalenka Brush off Controversy, Focus on French Open

Djokovic, Sabalenka Brush off Controversy, Focus on French Open

Novak Djokovic and Aryna Sabalenka have made it clear that they want to move past recent controversies and concentrate on their upcoming matches at the French Open.

Despite off-court issues dominating the headlines since the tournament began, both players aim to avoid any further discussion and put the controversies behind them.

Sabalenka’s performances in the tournament so far have been overshadowed by the fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. After defeating compatriot Iryna Shymanovich, the Belarusian refused to address questions about the conflict during a press conference.

Her first-round opponent, Marta Kostyuk from Ukraine, urged Sabalenka to take a personal stand on the war. As she prepares to face Russian player Kamilla Rakhimova, the issue might resurface once again.

READ MORE: Pakistan’s Cricket Facilities, Plans Earn Praise from ICC Chairman

In the men’s draw, Djokovic also hopes to steer clear of controversy surrounding his recent statement that “Kosovo is the heart of Serbia” as he continues his quest for a record-breaking 23rd Grand Slam title. His next opponent is Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

Djokovic’s message on a TV camera following his win over Aleksandar Kovacevic stirred attention, particularly because it came after clashes between NATO peacekeeping soldiers and Serb protesters in Zvecan, where Djokovic’s father grew up.

When asked about the message following his victory over Marton Fucsovics, Djokovic responded, “It’s something that I stand for. So that’s all… I have no more comment on that. I said what I needed to say.” His primary focus now is on his match against Spanish 29th seed Davidovich Fokina, who previously defeated Djokovic on clay at the Monte Carlo Masters.

READ MORE: ICC’s Proposed Finance Model Sparks Concerns Over Global Cricket’s Growth

Another match with political undertones is the encounter between Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina and Russia’s Anna Blinkova. Svitolina, who has called for Russian and Belarusian tennis players to be banned from international competition, did not shake hands with Blinkova during their meeting in last week’s final at Strasbourg, which Svitolina won.

In another highly anticipated third-round clash, top seed Carlos Alcaraz is set to face Canadian Denis Shapovalov in their first-ever meeting. Alcaraz acknowledges Shapovalov’s skill and considers him a formidable opponent, emphasizing the difficulty of the upcoming match. “I practiced with him in Barcelona. But everybody knows his level. He’s a really dangerous player. He has great shots,” said the US Open champion.

READ MORE: Harry Kane Backs AI Data for Injury Reduction in Soccer

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

1 + thirteen =