Paula Badosa reveals promise to best friend and ‘strong woman’ Aryna Sabalenka – ‘I don’t want her to suffer’

Shahida Jacobs
Aryna Sabalenka and Paula Badosa friendly

Paula Badosa admits Aryna Sabalenka is going through a difficult time following the death of her partner Konstantin Koltsov, but has promised her friend “not to talk about” the situation in public.

The tennis community was left in shock on Tuesday after it was confirmed that former Belarus international and NHL ice hockey player Koltsov had passed away at the age of 42 in Miami.

Koltsov accompanied Sabalenka to various tournaments since their relationship became public in 2021 and she frequently posted messages about him on social media.

Despite the tragic news, the reigning Australian Open winner’s team have confirmed that she intends to play at this week’s WTA 1000 event and she was seen practicing at the event on Tuesday.

And in a twist of fate, she will face her good friend Badosa in the second round after the Spaniard came from behind to defeat Simona Halep 1-6, 6-4, 6-3 in their opening encounter.

READ MORE: Aryna Sabalenka makes Miami Open decision following death of boyfriend Konstantin Koltsov

Sabalenka herself hasn’t issued any statements about the passing of her partner, but Badosa was asked for her thoughts on the situation and admitted the match will be “uncomfortable”, but didn’t divulge too much as she made a vow to her friend.

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

The former world No 2 added: “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. 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.”

The match between Sabalenka and Badosa is scheduled for Friday and the latter is confident that the two-time Grand Slam winner will find “power” to get through the encounter.

“I know what she’s going through. Honestly, for me hasn’t been easy, too,” she said.

“I really don’t know what to say, honestly. She’s a strong woman. I think she will get the power from somewhere. I hope it’s going to be a battle, a good match, and let’s see.”