Anett Kontaveit anxious to shake off illness and start playing again

Estonian tennis player Anett Kontaveit is on the road to recovery from a viral infection which cut short her 2019 season in September.

Kontaveit, 23, from Tallinn, said she underwent surgery on an infection which developed into an abcess, which ultimately prevented her from playing in the Linz and Moscow tennis tournaments in October, bringing the season to a premature end.

However, Kontaveit says she has started a workout regime already.

"I wrote some kind of announcement [about the illness] to the media," Kontaveit told ERR's sports portal, at a press conference which also featured top Estonian men's player Jürgen Zopp.

"It was what it was, and I don't want to talk about it anymore," she continued.

"I'd like to leave that behind and focus on what I'm doing now, how I'm recovering, how I'm working out," she added.

On being asked about how the illness affected her, Kontaveit said she had been on the best form ever until it came along.

"Of course it's been hard, but now I have a lot of motivation to come back and play again. I'm definitely looking forward to the new year."

Kontaveit dropped 12 places from her career-high position of 14th in April this year, to 26th earlier this month.

However, highlights of 2019 included reaching the final of the Stuttgart competition, as well as the semi-finals in Miami, in springtime.

"These were such nice results," she said.

"And getting Estonia's highest ever tennis ranking is certainly great. There were quite a few beautiful moments," she added.

When questioned about tournament victories, Kontaveit, who was knocked out of the French Open in May in round one, Wimbledon in round three, with the illness cutting short her round three encounter at the US Open, said: "Didn't I have that little tournament win a couple of years ago?" (probably referring to the Andrezieux-Bouthéon Tournament in January 2017-ed.).

"But at least this year I was playing bigger tournaments, where you'll find very tough competition. Every tournament you enter, you always want to win, but I have to take into consideration that the other girls want exactly the same and everyone is at a pretty good level. A tournament win is coming," she said.

In preparation for next season, the Estonian, who started training under Briton Nigel Sears in 2018, is due to return to training in Thailand soon, in preparation for the Australian Open in January. She'll next be in action at home in early February, when Estonia hosts a round of the Fed Cup, the 57th edition of the most important tournament between national teams in women's tennis.

The original ERR Sport interview (in Estonian) is here.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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