Aryna Sabalenka Australian Open WTA 2022

Aryna Sabalenka set to face ‘best friend’ Paula Badosa amid tragedy

Paula Badosa has set up a second round clash against her ‘best friend’ Aryna Sabalenka at the Miami Open, scheduled for just days after the news of the tragic passing of the Belarusian’s boyfriend.

Konstantin Koltsov – the 42-year-old former NHL star who represented Belarus at the Winter Olympics twice – was in Miami with Sabalenka when he died from an apparent suicide.

In a statement, Miami-Dade Police Department said: “According to investigators, on Monday, 18 March, at approximately 12.39am, Bal Harbour Police and Fire Rescue were dispatched to the St Regis Bal Harbour Resort.

“The Miami-Dade Police Department, Homicide Bureau, responded and has taken over the investigation of the apparent suicide of Mr Konstantin Koltsov. No foul play is suspected.”

READ NEXT – Aryna Sabalenka struck by tragedy as former NHL star boyfriend takes own life

World No.2 Sabalenka has since been filmed training ahead of getting her campaign underway on Friday, but will not partake in her media duties, Tennis Channel reports.

On Tuesday, Badosa clinched a comeback win against Simona Halep, who was making her return to top-flight tennis in almost 19 months after a shortened doping ban.

And the Spaniard’s reward is a meeting with one of her strongest companions, Sabalenka, in an ‘uncomfortable’ second round match that will be tricky to navigate for both women.

“As I said before, she’s [Sabalenka] one of my best friends,” Badosa said following her 1-6 6-4 6-3 win over Halep.

“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.

“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.”

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Jerome Coombe, Tennishead Writer, discovered his love for tennis journalism whilst studying languages and playing competitive tennis. He has a vast knowledge of tennis and strives to shed a light on all corners of the sport.