Racket that brings peace
Aryna Sabalenka’s victory at the Australian Open rocked the planet
A splendid start to the year by the best tennis player of Belarus and the world No. 2 in tennis, Aryna Sabalenka, received an equally magnificent continuation. Following the win of the WTA tournament in Adelaide, Aryna was unchallenged at the Australian Open, elegantly defeating the representative of Kazakhstan Elena Rybakina in an incredible beauty final — 4:6, 6:3, 6:4 and for the first time in her career winning the main title of the Grand Slam event.
Aleksandr Lukashenko congratulated the athlete on her success, “Dear Aryna! From the bottom of my heart, I congratulate you on your first and very long-awaited victory in the Grand Slam final, which is so important for you and for all of us. You are a great athlete, your personal progress is evident, the main thing now is not to stop.
The whole of Belarus is rooting for you, wishing you new victories!”
However, not only the President and the whole of Belarus sincerely worried and rejoiced at the achievement of our athlete. Among those who congratulated Aryna Sabalenka personally or in all sorts of other ways (from messages on the Internet to personal calls) are thousands and thousands of her acquaintances and friends, as well as ordinary fans of her talent all over the planet. Her counterparts are no exception, because Aryna is an open and sincere girl, smiling and good-natured, who knows how to make friends and enjoy life. In a word, a real Belarusian! Canadian Bianca Andreescu and Belarusian Victoria Azarenka, Tunisian representative Ons Jabeur and Spaniard Paula Badosa, Frenchwoman Alizé Cornet and American Amanda Anisimova, representatives of the top 10 world ranking from the USA Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula and many, many others. Kind words also came from the former top players of the world Belgian Kim Clijsters, Serbian Ana Ivanovic, American Tracy Austin... All these prima tennis stars from the heart rejoiced for the representative of Belarus, not remembering politics, because it has no place in this victory. ‘Well done, Aryna!’ and ‘Wow, what an amazing final!’ they wrote. ‘Deserved win’ and ‘I’m very happy for Aryna’ — this is how they unanimously assessed the victory.
“One of the reasons why Sabalenka won today. She practiced with me… Well, at least I like to think that,” Ons Jabeur joked. The Croatian Donna Vekić and the Polish Magda Linette, defeated by Aryna in the quarter and semi-finals, also said cordial words. And a living legend from the 1960-80s, American Billie Jean King, who won 39 (!) Grand Slam events, wrote on Twitter after presenting the main trophy of the Australian Open to the winner from Belarus, “Congratulations to Aryna Sabalenka on her first Grand Slam title! Honored to present Aryna with the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup.” Aryna Sabalenka modestly thanked in response, “Thank you so much for all the support during these few weeks, I really appreciate it.”
Note: no deceit and causticity. There is no guile, hidden malice or hidden agenda in these words and congratulations — all genuine joy for their counterpart. The imaginary feeling of hostility towards Russian and Belarusian athletes on the part of the rest of the competitors and fans, allegedly saved from which, the International Olympic Committee suspended our athletes from participating in world competitions, is also farfetched by political adventurers. The victory of Aryna Sabalenka in Melbourne says better than a thousand words that all this is nonsense and vile provocation, while sport was, is and will be a symbol of peace and a really great unifying principle.
By Sergei Kanashits