“I don’t want to be fake” – Aryna Sabalenka shrugs off being misunderstood by fans who do not know the ‘fun-loving’ and ‘charismatic’ part of her

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Aryna Sabalenka faced a tough exit at the 2024 Indian Wells Open on Wednesday, falling in the fourth round to 23rd seed Emma Navarro in three sets. The Belarusian clawed her way back in the second set but could not turn the tide decisively against the American, falling 3-6, 6-3, 2-6 ultimately.

Speaking at her press conference afterwards, the World No. 2 was asked by a journalist about how she was perceived by fans at large. The journalist hinted at Sabalenka being ‘misunderstood’ by people who do not get the ‘fun-loving’ side of her, one that is often seen when she is interacting with the media.

The journalist also pointed out the dichotomy displayed by the two-time Grand Slam champion, wherein she presented a very serious picture when on the court but a charismatic and humorous persona off it.

“The other day you were so much fun here in the press room, and you are often. You laugh so much and have such a good time. Talk about that. Do you think people sort of misunderstand you and don’t really get that fun-loving part of you?” the journalist said.

“They don’t understand what a wonderful sense of humor you have, how free-thinking you are. I don’t know. You have a charm to yourself that I don’t think the fans necessarily understand. So intense on court. The dichotomy,” they clarified further.

Sabalenka, however, shrugged off it being a concern for her, stating that she was just going to be who she was and not worry about making fans understand her. The 25-year-old emphasized that this was the “real” her and that she did not want to be fake in order to appeal better to fans.

While Sabalenka admitted that it would be nice if people understood that side of her, she was clear about the fact that she cannot change who she is on the court as it was more important for her to play the way she wanted to.

“I mean, if people don’t understand that, it’s not like I’m trying to make them like me. It’s just the way I am, and there always will be people who understand that and there is always will people who not. I’m just the way I am. I don’t want to be fake. I want to be real. This is the way I am,” Aryna Sabalenka said.

“I really want them to understand and, yeah, to understand me, but I don’t know what to say on this question. I mean, on court that’s my, I don’t know, that’s my job and that’s what I’m really crazy about, I want to do well. That’s why I a little bit crazy there. And off court, I’m just normal person. I don’t know. It’s like awkward question. I don’t know what to say. I think I said enough,” she added.

“It’s not like I won Australian Open the beginning of the year and the year is done” – Aryna Sabalenka

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