"She clearly felt enough was enough, I think that's her right": Pegula weighs in on Sabalenka press conference snub

Monday, 05 June 2023 at 17:30
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Much has been said about Aryna Sabalenka skipping press conferences lately at Roland Garros and fellow player Jessica Pegula wrote a column on it.
Pegula is a WTA council member and knows really well what the situation on the Tour is. Being an active player gives her an insight into the locker room as well which in turn makes her really qualified to talk about this. She wrote a column for BBC Sport defending Sabalenka for skipping over press conferences believing that she has a right to do that.

Comparing Sabalenka and Osaka

"On Sunday night, Aryna Sabalenka pulled out of doing a post-match open news conference for the second round running after saying she did not feel safe in a previous one. Two years ago there was a similar issue when Naomi Osaka did not want to speak to the media to protect her mental health. I guess the French Open are now being more empathetic about players' mental health needs surrounding press conferences. What Naomi did alerted people to the possibility of doing what Sabalenka did and for the tournament to work ways around it."

It's her right

Pegula believes that Sabalenka has a right to decline to answer questions same way the media has a right to ask questions:
"She has been hammered with questions about the war in Ukraine and Belarus' support of Russia. She clearly felt enough was enough. I think that's her right. It's the right of the press to ask the questions they want to ask, but also it is her right not to answer them if she doesn't want to answer them. After I had a really tough loss in the singles on Friday, I was not really in the mood to speak to the media."


"I think the tournament is now more flexible because of what happened with Naomi. That's a good thing. Of course, speaking to the media is important for growing the sport and connecting with fans. We wouldn't want to lose that. But it has to be the right balance and the player has to feel safe."

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