Sabalenka heartbroken over former boyfriend’s death

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World number two Aryna Sabalenka described the death of her former boyfriend as an “unthinkable tragedy” as she commented for the first time on Wednesday on the apparent suicide of Konstantin Koltsov.

The Miami-Dade police department confirmed on Tuesday that they had responded to a call the day before at a Miami resort about reports of a man jumping off a balcony. The police said no foul play was suspected.

The news of former professional ice hockey player Koltsov’s death sent a shockwave through the Miami Open where Sabalenka is scheduled to play her opening match on Friday against Paula Badosa.

“Konstantin’s death is an unthinkable tragedy, and while we were no longer together, my heart is broken,” Sabalenka said in a statement through her publicists. “Please respect my privacy and his family’s privacy during this difficult time.”

The statement was the first mention since the tragedy that the couple had split.

Koltsov, 42, played for the Belarus national team at the 2002 and 2010 Olympics and spent parts of three seasons with the National Hockey League’s Pittsburgh Penguins between 2003 and 2006.

Sabalenka and Koltsov were first linked in June 2021, according to People magazine, and the world number two frequently posted photos of them together on her Instagram account.

“I love you @koltsov2021,” she wrote in one post that included heart and other emojis.

Koltsov also applauded Sabalenka after the Belarusian won her second consecutive Australian Open title in January.