Anett Kontaveit holds no regrets about taking the plunge on her playing career at the age of 27 due to a chronic back condition and she is at peace with the decision that shocked the tennis fraternity in late June.
Kontaveit, who rose to a career-high ranking of World No. 2 slightly over a year ago, called time on her tennis career in heartbreaking circumstances. With half of the 2023 campaign in the distance, Kontaveit delivered the upsetting news of her imminent retirement from the sport, playing her last pro tournament at Wimbledon.
In a recent lengthy interview on ETV show Hommik Anuga, Kontaveit stated that she's never doubted her decision-making ability. Her retirement decision did not come out of the blue, but a thoughtful one in which she bided her time.
She reached her breaking point this year when she relied on painkillers just to be able to train. Her back hurt even with limited movements - a condition that would be diagnosed as a degeneration of a disc in her lower back.
Looking at her career, there is always a feeling maybe she could have achieved more considering she had just tapped the best years of her professional career. Although injury cruelly ended that dream of a more fulfilled career, Kontaveit doesn't regret the whole ordeal nor the decision to hang up her racket.
"I wouldn't have stopped for no reason. This back injury has become so bad over the years. It was holding me back so much that I felt I couldn't play at that level anymore. It was such a tough decision."
"I'm the kind of person who thinks very long and hard before making any big decisions, so, I know it was the right decision and I'm 100 percent at peace with it. Of course, there are more things I could have still have achieved, but I know that when I was playing I gave 100 percent of myself. I did everything as well as I could and so I know this was the right decision for me."
"I knew that at some point this career had to end. Top sport is all about tearing your body apart. I would like to say though, that I don't regret doing it."
The end of tennis is not the end of life for Kontaveit. She describes her current life as that of living in a bubble. She hasn't even fully digested her tennis accomplishments and is still searching for what to do after tennis. So far, the Estonian revealed that she is 'scared' of coping with a different routine to that she'd always known since she picked up a racket for the first time 22 years ago.
"I think that everything that I have achieved or that I have accomplished will only sink in after a little while. Right now it's been kind of like being in a bubble."
"Of course there are some positives, I can be at home, I don't have to travel every week. A lot of the hard things that came with tennis are behind me now. But, one thing I'm really scared about is how I'm going to cope with all the things that I've never had to deal with before, like the routine of being at home, the cold and the long winter."
"My life certainly didn't end there when I stopped playing tennis. There are so many other opportunities in life. I think I'm pretty hard working and I hope to find something new and exciting to do. And maybe people really will hear from me again."
Kontaveit will play at an invitational tournament in Luxembourg this month, before getting her proper farewell match in her home country in November in a match against Ons Jabeur.