Aryna Sabalenka throws shade at Paula Badosa while Ons Jabeur contests

Sabalenka and Badosa might be friends on tour, but Jabeur wants to come between them.
Paula Badosa and Aryna Sabalenka at Paribas Open
Paula Badosa and Aryna Sabalenka at Paribas Open / Matthew Stockman/GettyImages

Ons Jabeur recently claimed Paula Badosa for her own. Many tennis fans assume that Badosa and Aryna Sabalenka are best friends, and that could be the case, but Jabeur wants to come between them. Jokingly.

In May, a video was posted of Jabeur and Badosa sitting next to each other on the court and Jabeur says Badosa is her best friend. The Spaniard giggled. The Tunisian then wondered aloud where Sabalenka might be. The whole scene was in jest and reminded fans that high-end tennis players are human beings as well.

Sabalenka showed another human moment this week during the Berlin Open. All three players were part of the tournament. Jabeur and Sabalenka made deeper runs than did Badosa. During a press conference at the event, Sabalenka was asked an odd question about Badosa's "favorite shot."

Aryna Sabalenka jokingly battles Ons Jabeur for the affections of Paula Badosa

That kind of question is better asked to the specific player instead of an opponent. No matter if Sabalenka and Badosa are friends, they are still rivals on the court when they face each other with each obviously wanting to win. Sabalenka answering what Badosa's favorite shot is would only allow the Spaniard to guess which shot to use more against the Belarusian.

Instead, Sabalenka was more concerned about answering who Badosa's true best friend is and what kind of men most interests the Spaniard. Potentially, without the wretched "best shot" question we would not have gotten to see the humanity and friendship between Sabalenka, Badosa, and Jabeur. Accidentally, the silly question about the shot yielded a better answer.

In response to who the Spaniard's best friend on tour is, Sabalenka said, "I mean she made a statement that it's Ons, but we decided that I'm her soulmate. So, I guess Ons?" Funny, and likely not true.

Next. Ons Jabeur drops sad news about the Olympics. Ons Jabeur drops sad news about the Olympics. dark

The Belarusian's answer to the shot question was even better when she said, "Her favorite shot? We are not talking about tennis. Like, I am not like talking to Paula like, 'Oh girl, what's your favorite shot? Can you tell me?' Especially we are like opponents on the court. But, you can ask me, like, what's her type of guy? I mean, obviously Greek."

Badosa has been in a relationship with ATP player Stefanos Tsitsipas for most of a year. Tsitsipas is Greek.

Most importantly, however, Sabalenka's answer and Jabeur's quip about Badosa being her best friend only remind tennis fans that in a world that can come down to raw statistics and wins and losses, players are people first. They can make us laugh, plus we can enjoy watching them play.

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