Jimmy Connors defends Aryna Sabalenka: 'Keep your comments to yourself'

The former US legend defended and motivated the Belarusian's choice to play Miami, despite the death of her former boyfriend Konstantin Koltsov

by Lorenzo Ciotti
Jimmy Connors defends Aryna Sabalenka: 'Keep your comments to yourself'
© Al Bello / Staff Getty Images Sport

Aryna Sabalenka decided to participate in the Miami Open anyway, despite the dramatic death of her ex-boyfriend Konstantin Koltsov, who died from an alleged suicide by jumping from a hotel balcony.

For this choice, Sabalenka received several criticisms, with insiders and fans showing their insensitivity in such a particularly dramatic moment.

Jimmy Connors, in his podcast Advantage Connors, defended the Belarusian player and explained, as it should be, that people don't know what the Australian Open champion is really going through.

"With all due respect, there are some topics where people should keep their comments to themselves. Unless you're actually in her shoes and know her thoughts, it's best to avoid certain statements.

We are talking about a devastating story and only you can decide how to take it. She would have been criticized even if she had decided to withdraw from the tournament, because people are like that. In my time, when I played, tennis was a great escape for me.

When you're going through a tough time, playing games gives you a chance to have a mental break. It distracts you from everything that happens off the pitch. It's her choice. My thoughts go out to her," he told.

Sabalenka was then defeated in the 3rd round in Miami by Anhelina Kalinina with a score of 6-4 1-6 6-1.

Aryna Sabalenka
Aryna Sabalenka© Al Bello / Staff Getty Images Sport

The dramatic mourning of Aryna Sabalenka

"Konstantin's death is an unthinkable tragedy and, even though we were no longer together, I am heartbroken. Please respect my privacy and that of her family during this difficult time."

With a single message, published on her Instagram account a few hours after her match against Paula Badosa at the WTA 1000 in Miami, Aryna Sabalenka asked for respect for her privacy and that of Konstantin Koltsov's family.

Her ex-boyfriend disappeared last March 19 and, according to what was declared by the Miami police, it was an apparent suicide, although the investigations are still ongoing.

Jimmy Connors Aryna Sabalenka