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Tennis star Aryna Sabalenka says 'heart is broken' by Konstantin Koltsov's death

Tennis star Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus said she had broken up with former NHL player Konstantin Koltsov, who died Monday in Miami Beach, Fla. File Photo by Corey Sipkin/UPI
Tennis star Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus said she had broken up with former NHL player Konstantin Koltsov, who died Monday in Miami Beach, Fla. File Photo by Corey Sipkin/UPI | License Photo

MIAMI, March 20 (UPI) -- Tennis star Aryna Sabalenka says her "heart is broken" from the tragic news about her former boyfriend and NHL player Konstantin Koltsov, who died from what police called an "apparent suicide" Monday just north of Miami Beach, Fla.

Sabalenka, who is playing this week in the Miami Open, issued her first public comments about the death Wednesday night.

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"Konstantin's death is an unthinkable tragedy, and while we were no longer together, my heart is broken," the world's No. 2 female tennis player said in the statement issued through her publicist.

"Please respect my privacy and his family's privacy during this difficult time."

Russian hockey club Salavat Yulaev announced Kolstov's death earlier this week. The 42-year-old had been an assistant coach for the Kontinental Hockey League franchise.

Miami-Dade Police said Tuesday that Bal Harbour Police and Fire Rescue were dispatched about 12:39 a.m. EDT Monday to the St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort, 9703 Collins Ave., on report that a man had jumped from a balcony.

The Miami-Dade Police Department's homicide bureau is handling the investigation into his death. Officials said no foul play is suspected. The Miami-Dade County medical examiner's office said Wednesday that its toxicology report, was not yet available.

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Koltsov and Sabalenka, 25, a fellow Belarusian, started dating in 2021. Sabalenka last posted about the former Pittsburgh Penguins winger in April, calling him her "best friend and strongest support."

Sabalenka's publicist did not immediately respond when asked about when the couple broke up. Koltsov had been married previously, but divorced in 2022, according to Palm Beach County court records. He had three children.

Sabalenka did not participate in media day or other interviews at the Miami Open. Several players active in the tournament spoke about supporting her Tuesday, including American Jessica Pegula and Spain's Paula Badosa.

"She's one of my best friends," Badosa told reporters. "I spoke with her [Monday] a lot of time. This morning [Tuesday] the same. So I know what she's going through.

"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."

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Badosa is scheduled to face Sabalenka in the Round of 64 at the Miami Open on Friday in Miami Gardens, Fla.

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NBA and college basketball legend Bill Walton, prepares to announce for a game between the Houston Rockets and Denver Nuggets on January 12, 2007. Walton, who was also a successful broadcaster for ESPN, CBS and NBC, and who is in the Basketball Hall of Fame, died at the age of 71 on May 27. Photo by Gary C. Caskey/UPI | License Photo

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