Heartbroken Aryna Sabalenka WILL play Miami Open

ARYNA SABALENKA is set to play the Miami Open days after boyfriend Konstantin Koltsov’s death.

Former NHL player Koltsov died in Miami on Monday aged 42 in what local police are calling an “apparent suicide”.

In their statement Miami-Dade Police Department added: “No foul play is suspected.”

Sabalenka, 25, had been dating Koltsov since 2021. The world No2 has not withdrawn from the Masters 1000 event in Miami, which started today.

Due to her ranking she received a bye through round one and is not due to play until Friday.

She has drawn the winner of the first round meeting between Paula Badosa and Simona Halep – with the latter appearing in her first tournament since having her four-year doping ban reduced to nine months by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Sabalenka won her second Australian Open in January, beating China’s Zheng Qinwen in the final. She has since played two tour events; in Dubai and Indian Wells.

The Belarusian lost her father Sergey in 2019.

Also a former ice hockey player, he died aged 43. In 2020 she spoke of taking motivation from her late father, saying: “I’m just trying to fight because my dad wanted me to be No1.

“I’m doing it for him, so that’s what is helping me to be strong right now.”

Sabalenka reached world No1 for the first time in September last year, and has twice won the Australian Open.

TRIBUTES FOR KOLTSOV

During his career, Koltsov played for the Pittsburgh Penguins in the NHL between 2003 and 2006.

Paying tribute to him, they wrote: “The Penguins extend their deepest condolences to the family and friends of former Penguins forward, Konstantin Koltsov.”

Another of his former clubs, Saravat, also paid tribute, writing: “It is with deep sorrow that we inform you that the coach of Salavat Yulaev, Konstantin Koltsov, has passed away.

“He was a strong and cheerful person, he was loved and respected by players, colleagues, and fans.

“Konstantin Evgenievich forever wrote himself into the history of our club. May he rest in peace.”

Koltsov had three children from a previous marriage to ex-wife Julia.

He represented his country at the 2002 and 2010 Winter Olympics.

A statement on Belarus’ federation’s website read: “The Belarusian Hockey Federation expresses its deepest condolences to the family, friends and everyone who knew and worked with Konstantin Evgenievich.” – Sun

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *