Sabalenka Skips French Open News Conference Citing Her Mental Health

Like the other Ukrainian players, Svitolina did not shake Blinkova’s hand after the match.

“Can you imagine the guy or a girl who is right now in a front line, you know, looking at me and I’m, like, acting like nothing is happening,” Svitolina said. “I’m representing my country. I have a voice.”

Sabalenka is scheduled to play Sloane Stephens of the United States on Sunday in the fourth round. It’s not yet clear whether she will face reporters after the match.

Meshcheriakova, who works as a political analyst in addition to covering sports, said she was returning to her day job after Saturday. She said she had been using vacation time to report on the tournament and was paying her own expenses.

In Osaka’s case, tournament officials said that not requiring Osaka to attend news conferences could give her an unfair advantage over other players.

Stephens, who is a member of the WTA Players’ Council, said Friday that she supported Sabalenka’s decision not to attend her news conference, and that every player had a right to feel safe performing her media obligations.

“Everyone needs to feel good about themselves and what they’re doing,” Stephens said. “If she doesn’t feel safe, then she doesn’t need to be there. That’s the end of that.”

Meshcheriakova said she had spoken with her parents earlier in the day. Her mother, she said, had been watching the Russian media coverage of the story, in which she was described using the Russian words for a Black cross-dresser. She implored her daughter to stop covering the tournament and to leave immediately.

“Of course I told her I wouldn’t,” Meshcheriakova said. “I’m a journalist.”

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