Aryna Sabalenka reportedly plans to play Miami Open

Sabalenka's long-time boyfriend Konstantin Koltsov died on March 18 in Miami

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Aryna Sabalenka, World No. 2, reportedly will play in the 2024 Miami Open. The Tennis Channel is reporting that she made this decision despite losing her longtime boyfriend Konstantin Koltsov who died on March 18 in Miami.

Sabalenka's first match is on Friday, March 22. Because of her ranking, she has a first-round bye. She will face the winner of the Simona Halep and Paula Badosa match being played on Tuesday afternoon at 4:00 PM EDT. Sabalenka will not be doing any press during the tournament.

The fact that the Miami Open is managed by former player turned tournament director James Blake probably gave Sabalenka some relief. There is no doubt that he told her to decide whatever is most appropriate for herself in the circumstances.

Koltsov reportedly committed suicide

The Miami-Dade Police Department has stated that Koltsov died by "apparent suicide." CNN has reported that authorities were dispatched to the St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort at 12:39 AM on Monday, March 18. No foul play is suspected.

Sabalenka committed herself to the sport in 2019 after the shocking sudden death of her father Sergey Sabalenka. Since then, she has won two consecutive Australian Opens. Her decision to play in the tournament will likely be met with adverse opinions, but tennis is her job. Given the circumstances, she should be afforded the respect to grieve and deal with this sudden loss in the best way possible.

Many other athletes have chosen to play immediately after the loss of a loved one. Most notably, Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre played the game of his life after learning his father passed away.

If Sabalenka meets Badosa in her Friday match, she will be facing one of her closest friends on the WTA Tour, someone she has admitted helped her open up and be friendly to other players.

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