Sabalenka to play in Miami Open following boyfriend's death


Aryna Sabalenka is expected to play in the Miami Open, where she is due to face Paula Badosa on Tuesday, following the death of her boyfriend Konstantin Koltsov.

Badosa said she has talked several times with Sabalenka during the last horrific 24 hours and just hopes her friend can find the strength from somewhere when she steps on court. "It's not an easy challenge, it's a mental one," said Badosa. "She's one of my best friends.

"Yesterday I spoke with her a lot of time, this morning the same, so I know what she's going through.

"That for me is a little bit shocking also to go through that because at the end she's my best friend and I don't want her to suffer."

Sabalenka, who has a first-round bye, so far has given no indication she plans to withdraw with posts on social media on Tuesday showing her at work on a Hard Rock Stadium practice court.

The Miami-Dade police department confirmed on Tuesday that they had responded to a call at a Miami resort about reports of a man jumping off a balcony.

"At approximately 12:39 am, Bal Harbour Police and Fire Rescue were dispatched to the St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort in reference to a male that jumped from a balcony," the police said.

"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."

The former forward, who was 42, played for the Belarus national team in the 2002 and 2010 Olympics and spent parts of three seasons with the National Hockey League's Pittsburgh Penguins between 2003 and 2006.

Sabalenka and Koltsov were first linked in June 2021, according to People magazine, and she has frequently posted photos of them together on her Instagram account.

While Sabalenka has yet to speak, fellow players have rallied around her.

"I can't even imagine what she's going through right now," said former world number one Caroline Wozniacki after her 6-1 6-4 win over Frenchwoman Clara Burel. "I'm saying that. I'm also tearing up.

"I reached out to her and I told her that I was here if she needed anything."

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