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Kostyuk, Badosa form strong support system through Roland Garros runs
The good friends each weathered COVID-19 to reach the second week in Paris.
Published Jun 05, 2021
WATCH: Kostyuk and Badosa documented their flight from Abu Dhabi to Melbourne in January (Instagram/@kostyukmarta)
Paula Badosa advanced into the second week of Roland Garros in a dramatic three-setter over Ana Bogdan. Forced to save a match point late in the second set, the Spaniard ultimately secured victory in front of an empty Court Simonne Mathieu as the two hour, 51 minute epic extended past Paris' COVID-enforced curfew.
One player watching from afar was Ukraine's Marta Kostyuk, who herself joined good friend Badosa in the fourth round on Saturday in a far more decisive manner against Varvara Gracheva.
"She’s really nice and an amazing soul," Kostyuk said of Badosa earlier in the week. "I’m supporting her 100% and after every match, I’m telling her, ‘Let’s go, girl! You’re my inspiration and my idol!’"
Wary of fair-weather friendships on the WTA tour, Kostyuk clearly lists the No. 33 among her proverbial "day ones," and the two even planned to be one another's practice partners ahead of the Australian Open this year.
The two shared a jaunty flight from Abu Dhabi—documenting the adventure on Kostyuk's Instagram stories—only to discover that a close contact to COVID-19 would send the entire flight into strict hotel isolation. Days after going live together on social media to discuss the situation, Kostyuk received the shocking news that Badosa, too, had tested positive for the virus.
"I woke up to 100 messages like, ‘Are you ok? Is everything fine?’ I was like, ‘Jesus Christ, what’s going on?’ That’s when I saw Paula tested positive for COVID, and I was like, ‘Oh my God.’ I wasn’t very nervous at first because it had already been eight days since I’d seen her, so if I’d caught it, I would have probably been sick already, as well.
"On Day 12, I did start feeling horrible, and I was like, ‘Ok, this is it. I’m dying. This is probably COVID, and it’s Day 12, so I’ll probably have to quarantine and skip Australia. It’s going to be a mess!’ People were trying to calm me down saying, ‘You could not have gotten COVID, because it’s impossible. Where would you have gotten it; it’s already Day 12 and you’ve been alone in your room this whole time.’ When you’re isolated in the room and something like this happens, you can’t think straight and be positive and relaxed."
Kostyuk ended up contracting a severe case of COVID-19 weeks later, visiting the emergency room due to shortness of breath. Back to full health, the 18-year-old is enjoying her best run at a major tournament and surely pleased to match Badosa's result.
"Thank God, I’ve been able to see Paula every day because we’re based in Lenglen most of the time. She is at another hotel, though, so we’re not seeing each other in the evenings or going out for dinner together because of the bubble. You just have to make the best out of the situation."
In opposite halves of the draw, might these two friends support one another all the way into the finals?