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Aryna Sabalenka to compete in Miami Open despite boyfriend's tragic passing

Posted : 20 March 2024

Aryna Sabalenka, seeded second in the Miami Open, has expressed her intention to compete in the tournament despite the tragic passing of her boyfriend, former ice hockey player Konstantin Koltsov. Koltsov, who represented Belarus in multiple Winter Olympics and spent time in the NHL with the Pittsburgh Penguins, passed away at the age of 42 in Miami, reportedly due to an apparent suicide, according to the Miami-Dade Police Department.


Sabalenka, 25, is set to enter the Miami Open at the second-round stage later in the week, following a first-round bye. She is scheduled to face Spain's Paula Badosa on either Thursday or Friday. Despite the devastating loss of her boyfriend, Sabalenka remains determined to compete and honor her commitment to the tournament.


The tragedy marks another significant loss for Sabalenka, whose father Sergey, also a former ice hockey player, passed away in 2019 at the age of 43. Sergey had been a source of immense inspiration for Sabalenka, who dedicated her Australian Open victories to him and cherished their shared dream of winning Grand Slam titles. Konstantin Koltsov, who retired from playing in 2016 and later served as an assistant coach with the Russia Kontinental Hockey League side Salavat Yulaev Ufa, is remembered fondly by colleagues, players, and fans for his strength, positivity, and contributions to the sport.


Both Sabalenka's tennis community and Koltsov's hockey affiliations have paid tribute to their respective losses. The Pittsburgh Penguins, where Koltsov had played, extended their deepest condolences, while Sabalenka's determination to continue competing amidst personal tragedy reflects her resilience and commitment to the sport she loves.


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