Aryna Sabalenka's staggering move as new details emerge about boyfriend's death

The tennis world is rallying around the two-time Australian Open champion.

Aryna Sabalenka is reportedly still planning to play at the Miami Open tennis tournament this week and was spotted on the practice court on Tuesday, just hours after the death of her boyfriend Konstantin Koltsov was confirmed. Police have revealed Koltsov, a retired ice hockey player, died by apparent suicide, saying there was no foul play involved.

Koltsov, 42, was in Miami this week with Sabalenka to watch his girlfriend play at the WTA 1000 event. His death was confirmed by Miami police on Tuesday, with police spokesperson Argemis Colome saying officers "were dispatched to the St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort ... The Miami-Dade Police Department, Homicide Bureau, responded and has taken over the investigation of the apparent suicide of Mr. Konstantin Koltsov. No foul play is suspected."

Aryna Sabalenka and boyfriend Konstantin Koltsov.
Aryna Sabalenka and boyfriend Konstantin Koltsov. Image: Instagram/Getty

The Tennis Channel has reported that Sabalenka will still play the Miami Open. However the World No.2 and two-time Australian Open champion won't do any media commitments. The 26-year-old was spotted on the practice court on Tuesday and is scheduled to face Paola Badosa in the second round following a first-round bye.

American star Jessica Pegula said the players were aware of the tragic news and offering support to Sabalenka. "I think all of us all heard about it last night and then obviously there's more news about it this morning, which was just really horrible," she told reporters.

"All you can do is really offer support for however she wants to deal with it. You never know how someone is going to take it or how they want to grieve and everyone's so different. So I think the best you can really do is just offer support. And you know, that's really comforting. I hope for her to know, that even though we're all competitors and we're on kind of the stage where we're trying to beat each other, at the same time, we're still somewhat of a family."

Aryna Sabalenka and boyfriend Konstantin Koltsov.
Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka's boyfriend Konstantin Koltsov (pictured far left) has died. (Images: Twitter)

Tennis and ice hockey in mourning over Konstantin Koltsov tragedy

Koltsov played for the Pittsburgh Penguins in the National Hockey League in America and had been a regular presence supporting Sabalenka at tournaments. He was in attendance when the 26-year-old won her second Australian Open crown in January.

Sabaleka frequently referenced Koltsov on social media in pictures and messages. Just recently she wished him a happy birthday and wrote: “Happy birthday, my love. You are my dearest person, my best friend and my strongest support. Peace be with you, strength, patience and health. I hope we will have everything we planned.”


Koltsov competed in the 2002 and 2010 Olympics for Belarus and played in the NHL between 2002 and 2006. The news of his death was confirmed by his Russian ice hockey club Salavat Yulaev.

"It is with deep sorrow that we inform you that the coach of Salavat Yulaev, Konstantin Koltsov, has passed away," the Russian-based club said in the statement. "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."

Aryna Sabalenka, pictured here with boyfriend Konstantin Koltsov.
Aryna Sabalenka and Konstantin Koltsov. Image: Instagram

Belarus national team coach Dmitry Baskov called Koltsov's death "an irreparable loss." He said in a statement: "Konstantin was one of the undisputable leaders of our team, a talented progressive coach, a bright player. 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."

Koltsov had won a title with Salavat Yulaev as a player in 2008 and had recently returned as an assistant coach to help the team. He had played 144 games for the Penguins in the US. The news has rocked fans, with the Belarusian a very popular player on tour.

Sabalenka has won the last two Australian Open titles, which had catapulted her to World No.1 after this year's tournament. The couple had been dating for the last few years with Sabalenka posting photos of them together on her Instagram account. Fans have quickly rallied around the superstar after the tragic news on Tuesday.

Aryna Sabalenka's gesture during Australian Open

The news is devastating for Sabalenka, who also lost her father Sergei in 2019. This year at the Australian Open, Sabalenka admitted she never really talks about her family in victory speeches, but wanted to thank them in 2024 after she revealed her father still remains the biggest motivation for.

"I never really speak about my family during speeches," she admitted. "But I just wanted to make sure that they know how much they mean to me and that they are my biggest motivation and I'm doing everything for them."

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