Rising Russian Tennis Star Violetta Degtiareva Dies at 23
Celebrated as the next Anna Kournikova for her talent as well as her physical beauty, Russian pro tennis player Violetta Degtiareva has died at the age of 23. The International Tennis Federation star apparently suffered heart failure during a training session on Jan. 12. The news went public Wednesday following a Facebook post by her friend and fellow tennis player Anastasia Vdovenco, according toCentral European News. "I can hardly believe it," wrote Vdovenco, 20. "Rest in peace." Russian media outlets have not specified where she was training, according to CEN, and details about Degtiareva's heart failure are unknown. The blonde beauty – who was born in the city of Rostov, near the border with Ukraine in southwestern Russia – was recentlyranked 1,086 in the world as a singles player, with a slightly higher 905 ranking in doubles. The high point of her pro career was reaching the quarterfinals at the ITF-Turnier tournament in Turkey. Like Kournikova, a fellow Russian whose good looks vaulted her to celebrity status even though she never won a major tennis title, Degtiareva was able at her young age to secure endorsements that helped to make her a top earner among players on the professional circuit.