Victoria Azarenka was ordered to take away a shirt she was carrying in weird scenes earlier than her semi-final loss on the Australian Open on Thursday night time.
After a nailbiting first set, reigning Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina claimed the tie-break and ran away with the match, successful 7-6 6-3.
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Earlier than the match, Azarenka walked onto Rod Laver Enviornment carrying a Paris Saint Germain soccer jersey however was swiftly instructed by umpire Alison Hughes to take away it.
The 33-year-old had worn the PSG shirt onto court docket earlier than a number of of her matches at Melbourne Park, explaining she wears it as a result of it’s the membership her son Leo helps and desires to play for in the future.
Azarenka had additionally worn the jersey throughout press conferences, however the umpire instructed her to take away it and heat up within the outfit she was going to play in.
The 2-time Australian Open champion complied with the directive and mentioned she believed it was a sponsorship subject — although Azarenka and PSG are each sponsored by Nike.
“They instructed me to take it off twice as a result of I had a unique shirt,” Azarenka mentioned in her post-match press convention.
“I feel it’s the difficulty with the sponsorships. I suppose the logos are too huge … I do know that I’m not allowed to play in that. I knew these kind of issues.
“However I can nonetheless step on the court docket in what I need to step on the court docket. I do it for my very own causes. My son wore the white jersey right this moment to his observe, and I attempted to put on a white jersey to my match however couldn’t. In order that’s OK.”
Azarenka was vying to turn into simply the fourth lady to win a grand slam after changing into a mom however fell simply wanting the uncommon feat.
Saturday’s closing will see Rykabina tackle Aryna Sabalenka after the Belarusian beat Poland’s Magda Linette 7-6 6-2 within the different semi-final.
Azarenka was in no temper for journalists after her straight units defeat.
The veteran was requested a prickly query in her publish match press convention about Russian nationalists staging an indication in help of President Vladimir Putin exterior Rod Laver Enviornment.
On Thursday it emerged Novak Djokovic’s father Srdan posed for a photograph with members of the group, together with one man carrying a T-shirt that includes the ‘Z’ pro-war image. The demonstration, which adopted Djokovic’s win over Andrey Rublev on Wednesday night time, was a essential dialogue level, nevertheless, Azarenka, who’s enjoying below a impartial flag as Belarusian participant, batted away the sequence of questions.
Azarenka’s change with one reporter grew to become frosty as she mentioned her response was more likely to be “spun”.
“You’re asking me about issues that possibly anyone says are in my management, however I don’t imagine that,” she mentioned.
“I don’t know what you need me to reply. If it’s a provocative query, then you may spin the story nevertheless you need.”
She mentioned the off-field scandal has nothing to do with the gamers on the match.
“Regardless of the reply I’m going to present it to you proper now, it’s going to be turned whichever approach you need to flip it to,” she mentioned.
“So does it trouble me? What bothers me is there’s actual issues that’s occurring on this planet.”