The WTA (Women's Tennis Association) Tallinn 250 Open gets underway at the end of September. Estonia's Anett Kontaveit (WTA 3), who is the highest-ranked player in the tournament, is looking forward to a tough competition and does not believe that playing at home will give her a major advantage.
26-year-old Kontaveit was last in action at the US Open on September 1, where she reached the second round. The Estonian lost in three sets to Serena Williams, who was playing in her final tournament before retirement.
"After that match, I came home and concentrated more on general physical training. During the last week, I've also added more tennis to that. That's how the preparation has been going," Kontaveit told Estonian reporters on Sunday.
While Estonian fans will be hoping Kontaveit can achieve victory in Tallinn, the strong lineup for the tournament means it certainly won't be easy. Amongst the top players the Estonian may have to face, are current Wimbledon champion Jelena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, Olympic gold medalist Belinda Bencic (Switzerland), and French Open winners Jelena Ostapenko (Latvia) and Barbora Krejcikova (Czech Republic).
"I've even thought that it's a really formidable line-up. It's a very tough tournament," said Kontaveit. "At the end of the year, there are not so many tournaments, so this is good. It's very nice to have such a tough tournament," she added.
Kontaveit also played down talk of having a major advantage over her opponents at, what will be, a home tournament for the Estonian in Tallinn. "I've had a chance to practice here already. This club is familiar to me," she said.
"I've been training here for a week and I can still keep doing that. When you go abroad to compete, there are a few days of training and most of the time it's not on the courts."
"Maybe it's a small advantage, but when it comes to playing, all the girls have played a lot of games and there are some really strong competitors coming here in very good shape," she said. "These small advantages are such little things – when it comes to playing, you just have to be better than your opponent."
Last fall was an extremely successful period for Kontaveit, and to maintain her high position in the WTA rankings, the same level of performance is also required now. "I would have to win every tournament - that would be great," laughed Kontaveit. "But I try not to think about that."
"Obviously I want to do well in every tournament, but I'm taking it match by match. The most important thing for me is to enjoy playing at home. I think it's a special experience for me. That's the most important thing for me and the next three tournaments - that's what we're thinking about after Tallinn," Kontaveit said.
The qualifying rounds of the WTA 250 Tallinn Open will get underway on September 24 and 25 at the FORUS Tennis Center in Tondi. The main tournament starts on September 26, with the final scheduled to take place on October 2.
More information about the WTA 250 Tallinn Open tournament can be found here.
Editor: Michael Cole