Fresh off a spectacular performance to cap off the season, Estonian tennis player Anett Kontaveit spoke to ERR on Monday about her year, during which she became the first Estonian ever to be ranked in the world top-10.
Kontaveit held a press conference on Monday, during which she spoke to reporters about her season, which ended with the Estonian winning 29 of her last 33 matches, including a 12-match winning streak, which saw her win a tournament in Moscow, Russia and Romania. She also won tournaments in Cleveland and Ostrava earlier in the season.
"The year started to get going with the Cleveland victory and the ball got rolling from there. I gained confidence, experience positive emotions and enjoyed the game more. From there, I was able to win the Ostrava tournament and play well at Indian Wells," Kontaveit told ERR.
"I was able to do all that and enjoy these matches, which was the biggest win for me all season. Coming in second in the season-ending tournament is a great result to finish the best year of my career. I will first try to rest up for next year and will soon begin preparing for it," the Estonian added.
She said the start of the season in Australia was the toughest point of the season, as strict quarantine rules did not allow her to leave her hotel room for two weeks. "The biggest challenge this season was the start of the year in Australia, when I was quarantined and not even able to open my window. There were nicer moments, reaching the final right after quarantine and making the final at a grass tournament, as well," Kontaveit said.
She also became the first Estonian to make it to the season-end showcase WTA Finals tournament and also became the first Estonian to be ranked in the world top-10. She also represented Estonia in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, but was knocked out of the tournament in the opening round.
"I have been able to think about my next goals for a few days now. I think my biggest dream is to win a Grand Slam tournament, but I think the most important thing is for my goals to be development-based. I want to improve my game, improve my physical state and improve elements in tennis. As long as this development process is ongoing and is positive, results will follow," Kontaveit noted.
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You spoke about enjoying the game. Are there any specific ways to enjoy playing tennis more?
I cannot give you a precise answer. My coach (Dmitry Tursunov - ed) started planting that idea in my head and I cannot say how he did it. I think he can give you a better response.
Could it have been that you were not aware how much the game is mental?
I don't even know. I felt like I put too much pressure on myself. It was likely what stopped me from enjoying the matches. I expected some kind of result from myself and felt like I could do it, but the major results never came. Although, there were successful tournaments and great matches.
Explain your emotional state before the Cleveland tournament. It is hard to believe that was six months ago and now we are here. How did all this happen so fast and what did you feel then?
My biggest wish then was to just win a couple of matches. I went to play a WTA 250 category tournament after a long while, which is a little weaker in competition than those I usually play. I had lost five or six consecutive matches and just hoped I could get a victory and some confidence.
Speaking about next season, will you continue with Dmitry Tursunov?
Yes, our cooperation will continue.
Many tennis legends have said your goal for the next season should be to win a Grand Slam. Is it not always the goal when you go to a Grand Slam? What could be different now?
I think it has always been my goal and dream. I think every player dreams of it. The most important thing is to keep working hard, enjoy the process and enjoy these matches. I think if you work hard and believe in yourself, then good things will happen.
Do you feel like this dream is close?
I believe this dream is possible.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste