Aryna Sabalenka: Konstantin Koltsov death in Miami is 'unthinkable tragedy'

Aryna Sabalenka hits a smash in practice at the Miami Open
Aryna Sabalenka has been practising at the Miami Open this week and will not play her opening match until Friday

World number two Aryna Sabalenka says her "heart is broken" after the death of her former boyfriend this week.

Konstantin Koltsov, a former ice hockey player, died at the age of 42 in Miami on Monday in what police have described as an "apparent suicide".

On Wednesday, Sabalenka issued a statement saying Koltsov's death was "an unthinkable tragedy".

The 25-year-old Belarusian, who is a two-time Grand Slam champion, is set to play in the Miami Open this week.

"Konstantin's death is an unthinkable tragedy, and while we were no longer together, my heart is broken," Sabalenka wrote in an Instagram post.

"Please respect my privacy and his family's privacy during this difficult time."

Sabalenka is set to play Spain's Paula Badosa - who described the pair as "best friends" - in the second round on Friday.

Badosa says it will be "uncomfortable" playing the Australian Open champion in the circumstances.

"It's a very tough situation," said the Spaniard, 26. "Yesterday I spoke with her. This morning the same.

"I know the entire situation, what is happening.

"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. It's a very tough situation."

Koltsov represented Belarus at the 2002 and 2010 Winter Olympics and also spent three years in the NHL with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Miami-Dade Police Department said "no foul play is suspected" following the announcement of his death.

"Playing against her (Sabalenka), it's also uncomfortable," added Badosa, who beat Simona Halep on the Romanian's return after a doping ban on Tuesday.

"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 the power from somewhere. I hope it's going to be a battle, a good match."

Aryna Sabalenka and Paula Badosa
Sabalenka (left) and Badosa (right) are long-term friends and have played doubles together on tour