According to the Central European News, the talented athlete collapsed during a training session last Monday, Jan. 12, after suffering heart failure.
Degtiareva, who was born in Rostov in southwestern Russia near the Ukraine border, reportedly suffered a heart attack, but it is not yet clear whether she died at the training center or en route to the hospital. Further details about her heart failure are not immediately known.
Anastasia Vdovenco, a fellow tennis player and friend of Degtiareva, paid tribute to the late star via her Facebook page. Sharing a beautiful picture of Degtiareva, she wrote, "I can hardly believe it. Rest in peace." The news was later picked up by the Russian media.
Degtiareva was hailed as the next Anna Kournikova thanks to her striking features and long blond hair, but also for her talent in the sport. She was already ranked 1,084 in the world, with her highest ranking in her pro career at 947.
Degtiareva's career high took place when she reached the quarter-finals at the ITF-Turnier in Turkey. And despite never winning a major competition, she was already one of the highest-earning players, according to the New York Daily News.
Our thoughts go out to all of Violetta Degtiareva's family and friends during this sad time.
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