Estonia's top tennis star Anett Kontaveit, has ended her working relationship with tennis coach Dmitry Tursunov. As a Russian national, the current situation with obtaining visas made Tursunov's attendance at international tournaments too complicated, Kontaveit says.
The cooperation started last summer and has borne fruit, with Kontaveit putting in a very strong finish to the 2021 season and recently being placed at number two in the World Tennis Association (WTA).
"I want to thank him for a very successful and strong cooperation, I am very grateful to him," Kontaveit told ERR, adding that the pair will no longer be working together purely due to the current international situation.
"The reason is that, since he has a Russian passport, it is very difficult for him to get visas at the moment, meaning he can't accompany me to many tournaments. I still feel I need a coach who can accompany me and who does not have so many practical issues, " Kontaveit, 26, From Tallinn, added.
"There was a lack of such security, given the situation. He could not come to America with me in March, and now he had a visa problem in relation to England. The visa process was very complicated for him."
This situation had also started to affect her game, career-high ranking notwithstanding, she added.
"I do think that everything is connected. When there is a good feeling off-court, it will be reflected more on-court," Kontaveit went on.
Tursunov, a former top-flight player, himself announced on his social media account that the coaching had come to an end.
"I would like to announce that Anett and I will not continue my cooperation," Tursunov wrote.
"I want to thank Anett for this opportunity, congratulate her on the highest ranking in her career and wish her success in the future."
"I am proud of the work we did and a little sad, but sometimes good things end," he added. "Thanks again, and good luck!"
Since joining forces last August, Kontaveit won five tournaments and reached the finals of two more. She had already reached the prestigious Eastbourne tennis tournament final, ahead of hiring Tursunov.
Overall, Kontaveit won 29 of the last 34 games of 2021, and won WTA events in Cleveland, St. Petersburg and in Romania.
As a result, she made it to the WTA top ten for the first time ever, and took part in the season-closing Guadalajara tournament in Mexico.
Kontaveit told ERR that while talks are ongoing for a replacement coach, she was unable to name names until contracts were signed, adding that after a bout with Covid in April meant that she could not even train at present.
While she crashed out of the French Open in round one, lack of a good showing from nearly all the top players at the Roland Garros contributed to a rise up to second in the world in the recently issued WTA rankings, a record for any Estonian tennis player.
Only Iga Swiatek currently ranks ahead of the Estonian, who is followed by Paula Badosa (Spain), Ons Jabeur (Tunisia), Maria Sakkari (Greece), Arina Sabalenka (Belarus) Karolina Pliškova (Czech Republic), Jessica Pegula (U.S. - also breaking into the top 10 for the first time), Danielle Collins (U.S.) and Garbine Muguruza (Spain).
18-year-old Coco Gauff (U.S.) is now 13th.
Meanwhile, demonstrating that a rising tide lifts up all the boats in the harbor, veteran player Kaia Kanepi, who turns 37 this week, is back in the top 40 in the WTA rankings after an eight-year absence.
Kanepi's recent run of success includes reaching round three of the French Open, where she was put out by Gauff in fact.
The next grand slam tournament, the Wimbledon Championships, starts later this month.
Editor: Andrew Whyte