'My heart is broken': Tennis star Aryna Sabalenka has addressed her former partner's death.

Aryna Sabalenka has asked for privacy following the death of her former partner, Konstantin Koltsov, who died on Monday in Miami at the age of 42.

"Konstantin's death is an unthinkable tragedy, and while we are no longer together, my heart is broken. Please respect my privacy and his family's privacy during this difficult time," she wrote on Instagram.

The tennis star shared a statement on her Instagram. Image: Instagram @sabalenka_aryna.

Sabalenka is currently competing in the Miami Open, where she is set to face her best friend, Paula Badosa, in the second round. The match, which was meant to be played on Thursday, has been pushed back to Friday because of the current circumstances.


Badosa said it will be "uncomfortable" facing Sabalenka following the death of Koltsov.

"Yesterday I spoke with her [for] a long time. This morning the same. So I know what she's going through. I know the entire situation. That for me is a little bit shocking to go through that because 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. 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. She's a strong woman. I think she will get power from somewhere. I hope it's going to be a battle, a good match."

Caroline Wozniacki also expressed her support during a press conference, saying: "I can’t even imagine what she’s going through. I'm also tearing up. It's such a terrible situation. It’s so hard. I reached out to her and I told her that I was here if she needed anything.

"I love Aryna. She's such a great person. She's always so happy and out there. To see her go through that, it's heartbreaking. Everyone grieves in a different way. She was walking past today. I was giving her her space. I let her know that if she ever needs anything, I'm here, we're here for her."

Koltsov, a former ice hockey player who competed in the NHL for the Pittsburgh Penguins, had been a regular presence supporting Sabalenka at tournaments.

The world No.2 frequently referenced Koltsov on social media in pictures and messages while they were dating.

The news was announced by the Russian ice hockey team Salavat Yulaev Ufa, where Koltsov had been assistant coach.

It was confirmed by Miami police. Koltsov was in the US city ahead of Sabalenka playing in the Miami Open.


Police said the death was an apparent suicide and no foul play was suspected.

Koltsov represented Belarus at the 2002 and 2010 Winter Olympics and was also a coach of the national team.

National team coach Dmitry Baskov called Koltsov's death "an irreparable loss."

"Konstantin was one of the undisputable leaders of our team, a talented progressive coach, a bright player," Baskov said in a statement.

"He was an example of sturdiness, hard work, dedication and an idol for many Belarusian boys and his colleagues. It's hard and unfair when such people leave so early."

A statement on Salavat Yulaev Ufa's website said Koltsov "forever wrote himself into the history of our club. Koltsov won the Russian Championship and the Gagarin Cup as part of Salavat Yulaev and did a great job on the team's coaching staff."

Pictures showed tributes to Koltsov outside Ufa Arena laid by fans of Salavat Yulaev.

Sabalenka and Koltsov began dating in 2021.

When the athlete won her second grand slam title at the Australian Open in January, Koltsov celebrated her on Instagram, writing, "Congratulations again my love."

Aryna Sabalenka and Konstantin Koltsov. Image: Instagram/@sabalenka_aryna


It is the second tragedy to hit the 25-year-old Belarusian, whose father Sergey, also a former ice hockey player, died in 2019 at the age of 43.

Sabalenka's victory at the Australian Open fulfilled the dream she shared with her father of winning two slam titles by the age of 25 and, speaking in Melbourne, she said: "It was really important. Of course he's my biggest motivation. He's been everything for me."

Messages sent to Sabalenka's publicist and tournament officials seeking comment were not immediately returned.

— with AAP.

This story was originally published on March 20, 2023, and has since been updated with new information.

If you think you may be experiencing depression or another mental health problem, please contact your general practitioner. If you're based in Australia, 24-hour support is available through Lifeline on 13 11 14 or beyondblue on 1300 22 4636.

Feature Image: Instagram @sabalenka_aryna.