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Other SportsSabalenka clash 'uncomfortable' for friend Badosa

Sabalenka clash ‘uncomfortable’ for friend Badosa

Paula Badosa accepts it will be “uncomfortable” to play close friend Aryna Sabalenka at the Miami Open on Friday.

Sabalenka is mourning the loss of her boyfriend Konstantin Koltsov, who died on Monday after reportedly jumping off a hotel balcony in the Floridian city.

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Badosa beat the returning Simona Halep in the first round yesterday and the draw has pitted her against world number two Sabalenka, who has not withdrawn from the event despite her loss.

Speaking after beating Halep, Badosa said: “I mean, 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. 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. I’m going to stay like this. Sorry.”

Koltsov, who represented Belarus at the 2002 and 2010 Winter Olympics and played for the Pittsburgh Penguins in the NHL, died at the age of 42.

Having retired from playing in 2016, he was assistant coach for Russia Kontinental Hockey League team Salavat Yulaev Ufa.

A statement on their website said Koltsov “forever wrote himself into the history of our club” by helping them win the Russian Championship and the Gagarin Cup.

The Tennis Channel said in a broadcast on Tuesday that Sabalenka will start as scheduled in the second round this week but not carry out media duties during her campaign, according to multiple reports.

The Miami-Dade Police Department said Koltsov’s death was by “apparent suicide”, adding: “No foul play is suspected”.

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.
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