Russian Tennis Pro Dubbed ‘The Next Anna Kournikova’ Dead at 23 from Sudden Heart Failure During Training
An up-and-coming 23-year-old tennis player passed away on Jan. 12 as the result of heart failure during tennis practice, according to recently released reports.
Violetta Degtiareva was hailed as “the next Anna Kournikova” and was one of the highest earners on the International Tennis Federation pro circuit. Little is known about her death, as the Russian media has so far delayed any announcements.
The news was revealed when Degtiareva’s friend and fellow tennis player Anastasia Vdovenco posted her reaction on Facebook, saying, “I can hardly believe it. Rest in peace.”
According to Central European News, media outlets in Russia have not revealed where Degtiareva was training or any other details surrounding her death.
Degtiareva was known more for her looks than for her prowess in the sport this early into her career. Before her death, she was ranked at only 1,084 in the world, with a highest all-time ranking of just 947. She had also never won a major title.
The comparison to Kournikova may have been an apt one — the other Russian beauty was one of the top earners and had plenty of lucrative endorsement deals despite never winning any titles.
As for Degtiareva, her career high came when she reached the quarter-finals in the ITF-Turnier pro-circuit tournament.
Yet from the amateurs in tennis clubs all the way to pros in ITF tournaments, female tennis players are often known for, or criticized for, their looks.
The news of Degtiareva’s death comes shortly after another tennis scandal on social media — this one involving a Australian sports reporter and a 20-year-old Canadian tennis pro.
In a post-game interview, Australian Channel 7 presenter Ian Cohen asked Eugenie Bouchard to do a “twirl” to show off her outfit for the Australian Open.
Bouchard is currently ranked no. 7 in women’s world tennis.
“It was very unexpected,” Bouchard later said of the interview at a press conference. “I don’t know, an old guy asking you to twirl. It was funny.”