Training Room Racket Smash Causes a Fuss in Tennis

Aryna Sabalenka vents in players' room afterward, raising privacy questions
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 11, 2023 7:29 AM CDT
After a Tough Loss, a Training Room Racket Smash
Coco Gauff, left, of the United States, poses for photographs with Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus at the women's singles final of the U.S. Open tennis championships, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2023, in New York.   (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Aryna Sabalenka has had such a strong year in tennis that she will be ranked No. 1 on Monday even after losing the US Open final over the weekend to American Coco Gauff. But that loss nevertheless stung for the 25-year-old Belarussian, as video from the players' dressing room after the match shows, per Yahoo Sports. The footage first posted by Eurosport France shows Sabalenka smashing a racket in frustration and then dumping it in a garbage bin. Whether it should have surfaced in the first place is now a topic of debate.

"This footage should never have been made public," wrote Jody Murray, mother of Andy Murray. "A private moment in an empty training room after the disappointment of losing a Grand Slam final." But sports journalist Jose Morgado points out that the room where the racket smash took place was live-streamed throughout the tournament—and that crew members from the behind-the-scenes Netflix show Break Point can be seen as well.

The New York Post notes that "Sabalenka's powerful groundstrokes consistently found the net during Saturday's final, as she committed 46 unforced errors to just 19 from Gauff." And the two stars were gracious to each other in their post-match comments. "I just want to say congrats Coco, you played unbelievable," said Sabalenka, while Gauff called her opponent not only a brilliant player but a "really nice person." Sabalenka won the Australian Open earlier this year. (More Aryna Sabalenka stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.