Estonia's top tennis star Anett Kontaveit (WTA No. 79) has announced that she is calling time on her playing career due to a back injury at the age of 27.
Kontaveit, who reached a high of WTA (Women's Tennis Association) No. 2, wrote on social media, that her injury has made it impossible to continue performing at the highest level.
"I started training for tennis 22 years ago, have been competing since the age of 7 and have been on the international tennis circuit since 2007. All these years, I have worked with determination and dedication to rise to the top of women's professional tennis. Today, I announce that I am retiring from my career as a competitive athlete," Kontaveit said in a press release.
"This is an extremely emotional decision for me because I love tennis. I love the game, which has been the center of my life, my passion and my goal has been to achieve the best results. Every professional player knows how difficult it is to reach the top in tennis and even more difficult to stay there. To win any title, you have to work not only physically, but also mentally," said the six-time WTA tournament winner.
"After several doctor's visits and consultations with my medical team, I have been advised that I have lumbar disc degeneration in my back. This does not allow for full-scale training or continued competition. Therefore, it is impossible to continue at the top level in such a highly competitive field," Kontaveit wrote on social media.
"Tennis has given and taught me a lot, and I am very grateful for that. It has been important for me to bring the Estonian flag to the tennis courts and to be able to play in front of my supporters and fans all over the world. I am ready for new challenges after my last effort as a professional tennis player – to enjoy the game and compete as hard as I can at Wimbledon. Thank you everyone for your continuous support."
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This story is being updated.
Editor: Michael Cole