Belarusian tennis star Victoria Azarenka has called out sports reporters for continually asking players questions about the Russia/Ukraine conflict, noting “I don’t know what you guys want us to do about it.”
Azarenka was speaking during a press conference after a recent match at the Australian open, when she lost patience with journalists asking question after question about pro-Russia protests by some at the event, and accused the reporters of continuously “dragging players into” political issues.
“I don’t know what you guys want us to do about it,” Azarenka asserted, adding “Like talk about it? I don’t know what’s the goal here that it’s continuously brought up.”
The former world number one continued, “These incidents that, in my opinion, have nothing to do with players, but somehow you keep dragging players into it. So what’s the goal here?”
“I think you should ask yourself that question, not me,” she sternly added.
Azarenka also stated that whatever she says will be twisted by the reporters to suit their own narrative anyway, so why should she bother.
“Whatever the answer I’m going to give it to you right now, it’s going to be turned whichever way you want to turn it to,” the tennis star urged, adding “So does it bother me? What bothers me is there’s real things that’s going on in the world. And I don’t know. Are you a politician? Are you? Are you covering politics?” she rhetorically asked the sports reporter.
“I’m an athlete,” Azarenka further proclaimed, adding “and you’re asking me about things that maybe somebody says are in my control, but I don’t believe that. So I don’t know what you want me to answer. And if it’s a provocative question, then, you know, you can spin the story however you want.”
“Obviously it’s a topic you want to continue to bring up and up and up again,” Azarenka charged, telling the reporters “I don’t know what you want me to say.”
Azarenka is correct, there is a sustained effort by reporters, even non-politics reporters to involve sports personalities in narratives centred around the ‘current thing’ they obsessively use to sell newspapers and garner clicks.
Novak Djokovic has been repeatedly subject to such treatment, with tennis officials also guilty of dragging politics into the sport.
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