Marathon runners have often said, “It’s not how you start the race, it’s how you cross the finish line that matters.”
Nothing has been more true for Anett Kontaveit, who ended the 2021 season with four WTA titles and as a Top 10 player—a far cry from her middle-of-the pack start after a year of glittering breakthroughs.
Kontaveit, a Top 30 mainstay since 2018, was used to flying under the radar. Her name was recognized as a potential landmine in any draw, but she often lacked the consistency and mentality to challenge the top names for the biggest titles.
"I was working so hard and I kept losing to Top 10 players consistently," Kontaveit told WTA Insider in November. "I felt like I was doing well, I was playing really good tennis, and I was just falling short to these really good players.
“At some point I was thinking, 'OK, maybe I'm just not meant to beat them or something.' This demotivating thought went into my head.”