Sabalenka and Badosa reflect on rivalry despite friendship ahead of French Open clash

Thursday, 30 May 2024 at 22:30
Aryna Sabalenka and Paula Badosa are set to face off in the third round of the French Open. The well-known friendship between the Belarusian and the Spaniard adds an extra layer of intrigue to their matches, with Sabalenka currently leading their head-to-head 4-2.
The two-time Australian Open champion commented in a press conference that the days of "intense and crazy" rivalries are behind them. Sabalenka acknowledged that playing against a close friend like Badosa presents an additional challenge, but both will give their all for the victory.

Sabalenka highlights good relationship between the top players

This will be the third meeting between Badosa and Sabalenka this year. The first occurred in the second round of the Miami Open, just days after the death of Sabalenka's ex-boyfriend. Sabalenka won 6-4, 6-3, and they left the court with an emotional hug.
Less than a month later, they played on the clay at the Stuttgart Open in a high-tension battle that unfortunately could not finish due to Badosa's retirement at 3-3 in the third set. "It's always tough to play your best friend on tour," said Aryna Sabalenka in the press conference at Roland Garros. "But we know how to separate court and life. So it's always a great battle. I always enjoy playing against her."
Sabalenka mentioned that there is a good relationship among the top players off the court: "I would say that right now the top 10 players are all good with each other, and there are no big fights outside of the court," the world No. 2 said. "It's not like we are best friends, but it's not something crazy, like intense."
Sabalenka leads the H2H against Badosa 4-2.

Badosa underlines Sabalenka's personality

On the other hand, Badosa also previewed the third-round duel. The Spaniard has advanced with solid wins over Katie Boulter and Yulia Putintseva and will seek to end a four-match losing streak against Sabalenka.
Badosa took the opportunity to praise her opponent: "She has a big personality, she's a good girl, always bringing good energy, even on court," said the former world No. 2. "I think it's going to be fun. Of course, sharing the court with her after all these results she's achieving is a pleasure for me," she added.
Finally, Badosa mentioned her participation in the mixed doubles main draw alongside her boyfriend Stefanos Tsitsipas. They will debut on Friday against specialists Ena Shibahara and Nathaniel Lammons: "I'm really grateful to have someone like him by my side. Also, in the next few days, we're going to play mixed doubles, so sharing the court with him makes it even more special."

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