27-year-old Anett Kontaveit announces shock retirement, to end career at Wimbledon 2023

27-year-old Anett Kontaveit announces shock retirement
27-year-old Anett Kontaveit announces shock retirement

Anett Kontaveit shocked the tennis world by announcing her retirement on Tuesday (June 20), just one year after reaching her career-high ranking of World No. 2.

While 2022 was a strong year for the Estonian, 2023 has not turned out as well, as a combination of injuries, most notably a back injury, prevented Kontaveit from competing at the top level. She endured a second-round exit at the Australian Open and a first-round exit at the French Open, sandwiched by a handful of early exits at other major tournaments.

Ranked World No. 79, the 27-year-old had assured fans recently that while her back injury was a permanent issue, she had managed it enough to continue her career as a professional.

On Tuesday, though, Kontaveit took to social media to break the news that she will end her career on the advice of her medical team. Because of the lumbar disc degeneration in her back, it's all but impossible for the former World No. 2 to compete or even train at the level required for the high-stakes world of competitive tennis.

"Hi friends, today I am announcing that I am ending my career as a competitive athlete. After several doctor’s visits and consultations with my medical team, I have been advised that I have lumbar disc degeneration in my back," Anett Kontaveit said on Instagram.
"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," she added.

Kontaveit added that she's grateful for all that she has learnt from tennis and that she was proud to have helped her home country of Estonia make a mark in the sport.

With the Wimbledon Championships coming up at the end of the month, the 27-year-old promised to give her best at the tournament, which will be her last on the WTA Tour.

"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," Anett Kontaveit said.
"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," she added.

Anett Kontaveit is the last player Serena Williams beat

Anett Kontaveit at the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open - Day 3
Anett Kontaveit at the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open - Day 3

Incidentally, Anett Kontaveit has the honor of being the last player Serena Williams beat in her legendary career as well as at a Grand Slam. The two locked horns in the second round of the US Open last year, when Kontaveit was ranked World No. 2.

Despite a fightback from the Estonian in the second set, Williams closed out the contest 7-6, 2-6, 6-2 to reach the third round, where she fell to Ajla Tomljanovic in another three-setter.

It was the final tournament of the 23-time Grand Slam champion's career, as she had announced that she was hanging up her racquet at Flushing Meadows in front of her home fans coming into the event.

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