Paula Badosa makes a tough promise to 'best friend' Aryna Sabalenka

Sabalenka recently lost her boyfriend.

Robert Prange/GettyImages
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Paula Badosa and Aryna Sabalenka are going to try to do the near-impossible on Friday. They are going to play a tennis match after the recent death of Sabalenka's ex-boyfriend, Konstantin Koltsov. Instead of withdrawing from the Miami Open, Sabalenka decided to keep playing. And possibly, that is for the best.

People deal with tragedy differently. Some need silence and not to talk. Others need to find something to do instead of thinking about what has recently happened. The assumption can be made that Sabalenka falls in the latter group, though the emotional strength to do what she is attempting is still to be admired.

Maybe it helps that her first match since Koltsov's death is against Paula Badosa. Badosa and Sabalenka are good friends. In fact, Badosa says the two are "best friends" and that in the hours after losing Koltsov, and in the days leading up to Friday's second-round match, Badosa has spoken to Sabalenka "for hours."

Paula Badosa told Aryna Sabalenka she won't speak to the media about their conversations

But Badosa made her friend a promise that the media is going to likely make difficult to keep. Sabalenka made a short statement via social media about respecting her privacy which leaves some in the media who want to pry more and leaves those left to ask questions of those who know the Belarusian. One of the people is, of course, Paula Badosa. But Badosa said in a press conference this week that she told Badosa she is not going to publicly discuss what she and Sabalenka have said to each other this week.

And that is perfectly fair. In times of need, people should be able to find comfort in friends. The last thing that person would want is for their friends to then go and tell a lot of people what they are thinking. That is not what being a friend is about.

Badosa said to the media in Miami, "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."

Badosa is likely to keep her promise, though people will not make it easy. Let's just hope that Sabalenka playing Badosa helps emotionally. Both players deserve that.

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