Former world No 2 announces shock retirement – ‘It is impossible to continue’

Anett Kontaveit at the WTA Finals

Anett Kontaveit has announced that Wimbledon will be her tennis swansong as she has been forced to quit the sport due to a degenerative back injury.

Barely a year after she first reached a career-high of No 2 in the WTA Rankings, Kontaveit revealed that she is no longer able to compete at the highest level due to her back problem.

Aged just 27, the Estonian confirmed in an Instagram post that she will quit the sport after Wimbledon.

“Today I am announcing that I am ending my career as a competitive athlete,” she started off. “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.

“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 x Anett.”

Kontaveit won six WTA Tour titles – the last coming at the St Petersburg Open in February 2022 – and also finished runner-up at the 2021 season-ending WTA Finals.

Her best Grand Slam performance was a run to the quarter-final of the 2020 Australian Open although she never reached the second week at Wimbledon.

She was ranked No 2 in September last year, but called an early end to her 2022 season due to her back problem and, although she competed at the Australian Open and French Open this year, she has made only a handful of appearances.

The Estonian has slipped to No 79 in the rankings, but it is still good enough for a place in the main draw at Wimbledon next month. Last year she lost in the second round at the grass-court Grand Slam.

Her fellow tennis players were quick to express their sadness with Ons Jabeur replying: “😢❤️❤️❤️”

Maria Sakkari wrote: “Be proud of everything you have achieved, you will always be my favourite FaceTime karantine partner! ♥️♥️♥️🥰🥰🥰”

Sloane Stephens added: “Anett ❤️ I’m going to have to come all the way to Estonia now to visit you!! I’m going to miss you so much, you have no idea!!! I know your next chapter will be amazing and I can’t wait to see what you do next!! Can’t wait to give you the biggest hug at wimby! Love you 💖”