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Sunday, April 14, 2024

How Aryna Sabalenka Reduced Her Ego To Become Friends With Paula Badosa

World no. 2 tennis player Aryna Sabalenka is currently going through a tough time in her life. Her former boyfriend Konstantin Koltsov committed suicide by jumping off a balcony, and this has left her distraught. Since different people grieve in different ways, it is one’s friends that are essential to help them deal with the situation and recuperate. This is where Sabalenka’s deep bond and friendship with fellow player Paula Badosa becomes so special.

Badosa and Sabalenka first met on the court at the 2021 Cincinnati Open, where Badosa beat her 5-7, 6-2, 7-6 (7-4) in the Round of 32. They exchanged pleasantries and became cordial, but were yet to become friends. The very same year, they met again at the WTA Finals, where Badosa won again. She dominated Sabalenka 6-4, 6-0. An intense rivalry was brewing between the two, but in no time that would turn into friendship.

Credit should go to Sabalenka for keeping her ego aside after losing twice to Badosa and find a good friend instead in the Spaniard, in a ultra-competitive tennis circuit. Badosa, on her part, did not say anything mean or wrong about Sabalenka publicly or to others either, which helped in developing that friendship.

Their acquaintance strengthened by the third time they met each other, which was in the 2022 Stuttgart Open. By this time Sabalenka was a far stronger player, and she beat Badosa 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 in the semi-final. Next year at the Stuttgart Open i.e. in 2023, Sabalenka beat Badosa again by 6-4, 6-4, 6-4. By then, these two WTA stars were thick as thieves. From fast friends, Aryna Sabalenka and Paula Badosa had turned into best friends.

Badosa and Sabalenka have exchanged friendly jibes and shared love for one another on social media from time to time. During the 2023 World Tennis League, Sabalenka and Badosa teamed up for the doubles match. During this tournament, when they both played for Team Kites, their friendship was out there for the world to see.

“It is very difficult. It doesn’t happen very often that you can find your soulmate on the circuit because we compete against each other. But we had this deal: on the court we are opponents, we can shout whatever we want, but off the court we are friends again,” Aryna Sabalenka said about her friendship with Paula Badosa (via Puntodebreak), as reported by Sportskeeda.

Paula Badosa is heartbroken for Aryna Sabalenka as they face each other again

Paula Badosa and Aryna Sabalenka will face each other on court for the fifth time in their careers. The two will play each other in the opening match of the Miami Open 2024. But before the match, given that Sabalenka went through such a tragic incident, Badosa can only imagine what she must be going through. Sabalenka did not withdraw from the competition, despite the sudden news of her boyfriend’s suicide hitting her hard. Badosa said that given Sabalenka is her best friend, she understands what the Belarusian player is going through, and doesn’t want her to suffer.

Paula Badosa and Aryna Sabalenka will play against each other on the outdoor hard courts of the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. The date and timings of the match aren’t out yet. The weather in Florida looks moderate enough at around 22-26 degrees Celsius, 10 km/h wind speed, and 69% humidity.

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