Sabalenka becomes first-ever neutral Grand Slam champion as Belarusian abbreviation left off trophy

Aryna Sabalenka became the first-ever neutral grand slam champion after the country Belarus was omitted from the official trophy of the Australian Open.

There was never a grand slam winner which didn't have his country's name abbreviated next to theirs on a grand slam trophy. That is precisely what happened to Aryna Sabalenka as she became the 2023 Australian Open champion. Since the invasion of Ukraine, Sabalenka has been playing as a neutral player due to her country's support for the invasion of Ukraine.

She can't play under the flag or Belarus and it's omitted everywhere including the trophy she just won. It's never happened before and she'll be forever known as the first player to ever have that happen to. It likely won't be the last time as the invasion is set to continue for a while leaving players like Medvedev or even Sabalenka likely to repeat that.

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