ZipRecruiter Player Resume: Estonia's highest-ranked player ever, Anett Kontaveit thought she might have hit her ceiling. Then she shattered it.

At this time last year, Anett Kontaveit was ranked outside the Top 20 and had just one WTA title to her name: at 2017, at a relatively minor grass-court tournament in s'-Hertogenbosch. A perennial threat in any draw, Kontaveit nevertheless hovered around the 20s and 30s in the WTA rankings for years. Many doubters—including herself, at times—had thought she might have hit her ceiling.

Now, the Estonian will arrive in Indian Wells as one of the top contenders for the BNP Paribas Open title, and sitting at a career-high ranking of world No. 5.

What did the 26-year-old do to produce such a turnaround? In the first round of the 250-level Cleveland back in August, Kontaveit found herself down 6-1 against Lauren Davis; a loss would have marked her fifth defeat in a row. Kontaveit refused to let that happen, won the next 12 games—and then the tournament—as a response.

“I mean, even now when I'm down break points, I'm like, ‘I got this, I got this,’ like everything's okay. I don't panic so much as I think I used to,” Kontaveit reflected in Doha.

“I think the worst scenarios would pop to my head. I would think about all the things that could possibly go wrong. I think it definitely shows, and like on court, you eventually can't hide from these thoughts. But now, I just really believe in myself a lot more.”


Kontaveit has been on a tear since she hired Dmitry Tursunov as her coach in August. The former pro has helped her hone her game, injecting the right amount of aggression at the right time. The result has been clear to see: after winning her second WTA trophy in Cleveland, she continued on a tear with victories in Ostrava, Moscow and Cluj-Napoca. She capped off the season with a run to the WTA Finals championship match in Guadalajara.

But that was only half of the equation. Once Kontaveit began to raise her level, a newfound sense of self-belief kicked in.

“If I lose my serve, I lose my serve. You know, I'll start over again,” she explained. “It's okay. I don't stress about these scores as much as I did I think before… So it maybe takes some stress off trying to close it out, or it's just sort of like a more positive way to think about these things.”

After winning nine matches in a row to clinch her sixth career title in St. Petersburg and reach her first WTA 1000-level final in Doha, there are few players who have the same momentum going into Indian Wells as Kontaveit.

Kontaveit, who is 13-3 on the season, reached her first quarterfinal in Indian Wells last year, amid her fall surge. Expect even bigger results from a player who is full of confidence, and ready to challenge for her biggest title yet.