Anna Kournikova: Tennis Player Violetta Degtiareva, Touted as 'Next Anna Kournikova' Drops Dead During Practice

Pam WrightLife

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Anna Kournikova is not only a champion tennis player, she is a stunning beauty.

A 23-year-old Russian tennis player who was touted as the next Anna Kournikova, both in her skills and her beauty, dropped dead during a training session as a result of a heart failure attack, a report said Wednesday.

Violetta Degtiareva, who like Anna Kournikova was very popular on on the International Tennis Federation pro circuit and made millions in endorsements, died suddenly on Jan. 12 from an apparent heart attack.

Reports of her surprising death did not come out immediately and only came to the public's attention after fellow Russian tennis player Anastasia Vdovenco, 20, expressed her shock about learning of her Violetta Degtiareva's death in a post on Facebook, according to Central European News via the New York Post.

“I can hardly believe it,” Vdovenco wrote. “Rest in peace.”

The cause of Violetta Degtiareva’s heart failure is not known, nor the location where she was training at the time of her death.

Born in the Russian city of Rostov in southwestern Russia near the border of Ukraine, she was ranked 1,084 in the world at the time of her death. Although Violett Degtiareva ranked at 947 at one point, she never won a major title. Her greatest achievement was reaching the quarter-finals of the ITF-Turnier pro-circuit tournament in Turkey.

Like Anna Kournikova, her statuesque body and long blond hair garnered much attention, as well as a slew of endorsements.

Pam Wright