Aryna Sabalenka Credit: EuroSport

Following her 2-6 6-3 6-2 loss to Coco Gauff in the women’s US Open final on Saturday, Belarusian tennis star Aryna Sabalenka returned to the locker room and, in an understandable moment of frustration, smashed her racquet into the ground and then threw it in the trash.

The moment was captured by a livestream camera and then shared on social media, initially by Eurosport.

Sabalenka is known for wearing her heart on her sleeve so it didn’t come as a surprise to tennis fans who follow the 2023 Australian Open winner’s career. However, some viewers at home questioned whether or not the footage from the players’ locker room should have been shared publically given that it occurred in what is traditionally a private space.

“This footage should never have been made public,” said Judy Murray, tennis coach and mother of men’s tennis star Andy Murray. “A private moment in an empty training room after the disappointment of losing a Grand Slam final.”

Others shared a similar sentiment.

However, that notion received pushback as well. Tennis reporter and commentator José Morgado, who shared the initial video, noted that the locker room area was livestreamed 24/7 and Netflix’s Break Point crew was notably visible in the corner, also filming the moment. So even if it hadn’t been shared now, it would have been shown eventually.

That revelation also led some people to believe that the moment was scripted, though we can’t know any of that for sure.

It’s understandable that many would flock to Sabalenka’s defense, given that, on paper, that’s a private moment in a private space. Especially given the context of a woman smashing a racket, which tends to be criticized in a way that a man doing so wouldn’t.

But the fact that Sabalenka knew the Netflix cameras were there, and clearly agreed to be filmed beforehand in the space for the docuseries, does absolve the US Open and Eurosport of any kind of violation here. Plus, it’s a good example of how a lack of context can influence the way that we consume a video or moment.

[José Morgado, Judy Murray]

About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to