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Tennis star hailed as next Anna Kournikova dead at 23

News of Violetta Degtiareva's death broke after a friend posted her condolences online.

By
Annie Martin
Violetta Degtiareva. Facebook/Violetta Degtiareva
Violetta Degtiareva. Facebook/Violetta Degtiareva

PORTLAND, Ore., Jan. 22 (UPI) -- Violetta Degtiareva died earlier this month at age 23.

The Russian tennis star died of heart failure after collapsing at practice Jan. 12, but news of her death was not immediately released. Degtiareva was ranked 1,084th in the world as a player, but was hailed as the next Anna Kournikova due to her celebrity and good looks.

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"R.I.P. I can't believe it," friend and fellow tennis player Anastasia Vdovenco captioned a photo of Degtiareva on Facebook. Vdovenco also shared a status written by her mother, Tatiana Vdovenco, who also knew Degtiareva.

"A terrible tragedy occurred recently," she wrote. "Just a few months ago she, together with our girls, trained and made plans for the future, and today is not with us. On behalf of all tennis players and parents who knew Violet bring my sincere condolences to the families and friends."

It was unclear where Degtiareva was training at the time of her death, and unknown if she died at the facility or en route to the hospital. Anastasia Vdovenco followed up with a new post Jan. 15 declaring she knows nothing more about the tennis star's death.

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