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Aryna Sabalenka’s best friend finding it ‘uncomfortable’ to play Miami Open star

Paula Badosa, close friend of Aryna Sabalenka, has admitted it will be an ‘uncomfortable’ experience when she has to play the Belarussian at the Miami Open later this week. Sabalenka’s preparations for the competition were thrown into disarray when her boyfriend died.

World number two Sabalenka’s participation at the Miami Open looked under threat when it was revealed Konstantin Koltsov had passed away. Koltsov, a former NHL ice hockey player, had been in a relationship with Sabalenka for three years, with the 42-year-old confirmed dead on Tuesday morning.

It wasn’t until later that evening that reports emerged that the death was being treated as a suicide, with the local police revealing the 42-year-old had jumped off his hotel balcony. Despite the tragedy, Sabalenka is still going ahead with her involvement in the Miami Open, and her first match against Badosa is scheduled for Friday.

“I mean, I don’t want to talk about it. But of course. As I said before, she’s one of my best friends,” Badosa said. “Yesterday I spoke with her a lot of time. This morning the same. So I know what she’s going through. I know the entire situation, what is happening.”

She added: “That for me is a little bit shocking also to go through that because at the end she’s my best friend and I don’t want her to suffer. It’s a very tough situation. At the same point playing against her, it’s also uncomfortable. Yeah, but I don’t really want to talk about it because I said I’m not going to talk about it. She’s my best friend and I promised that. I’m going to stay like this. Sorry.”

Badosa had beaten Simona Halep to set up the tie against Sabalenka, with the Spanish ace coming from a set down to win. It was a controversial match in its own right though, as it marked Halep’s return to the court following a lengthy doping ban.

The Romanian had her sentence reduced by the Court of Arbitration for Sport earlier this year, having previously been handed a four-year suspension from the sport. Halep was handed a wildcard spot for the 2024 Miami Open, her participation didn’t last long, as the 2019 Wimbledon winner fell at the first hurdle against Badosa.

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