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Aryna Sabalenka: ‘My heart is broken,’ tennis star says after ex-boyfriend found dead | World News

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Tennis star Aryna Sabalenka has said her “heart is broken” after the death of her ex-boyfriend.

Konstantin Koltsov, 42, a Belarusian former professional ice hockey player, was found dead at a hotel in Miami, Florida, on Monday. He was in the city to support Sabalenka in the Miami Open.

Police investigating the death have said it was an “apparent suicide” after they found no evidence of “foul play”.

FILE PHOTO: Belarus' Konstantin Koltsov (L) celebrates a goal against Russia during their IIHF World Hockey Championship quarter-final game in Bern May 6, 2009. REUTERS/Michael Buholzer/File Photo
Image:
Konstantin Koltsov. File pic: Reuters

“Konstantin’s death is an unthinkable tragedy, and while we were no longer together, my heart is broken,” Sabalenka, 25, wrote on Instagram.

“Please respect my privacy and his family’s privacy during this difficult time.”

Sabalenka, who is currently ranked world number two by the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), is set to continue playing despite Koltsov’s death and will face a close friend, Spaniard Paula Badosa, in the Miami Open on Friday.

Badosa admitted playing against the Belarusian will be “uncomfortable”.

In widely-quoted remarks, she said: “She’s my best friend and I don’t want her to suffer. It’s a very tough situation.”

Aryna Sabalenka .
Pic:AP
Image:
Aryna Sabalenka . Pic: AP

Ex-wife says she doubts Koltsov took his own life

Police in Miami-Dade confirmed on Tuesday they responded to a call at a Miami resort about reports of a man jumping off a balcony.

But Koltsov’s ex-wife Yulia Mikhailova has said she doubts he took his own life and that “most likely, he was very drunk” when he died.

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“Empty alcohol bottles were found in the room where Konstantin stayed,” she told Belarusian news outlet Zerkalo. “There was a balcony overlooking the ocean. Probably Konstantin did not keep track of his actions.”

Ms Mikhailova accused the media of making a mistake, saying: “I think it was your colleagues who misunderstood something. Or they passed off the police’s assumption of suicide as a fact.”

She said there was nothing in her former husband’s behaviour to suggest suicidal thoughts.

After accessing his email via an old family computer, she said she found he had booked apartments in a different location and was waiting to receive items he had paid for and had “rented a car for a long time”.

Though she admitted “right now it is impossible to say for sure whether it was suicide or an accident,” she was adamant “he did not intend to die. Anything, of course, can go to your head, but there was no sign of tragedy”.

Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org. Alternatively, letters can be mailed to: Freepost SAMARITANS LETTERS.

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