We know Estonia
18.11.2022 | Leisure

Why is Estonian women’s tennis riding high at the moment?

Text Mark Taylor
Photos ETA 2022 /  Igor Pissarev,
ETA 2022 / Mauri Levandi 

Why is Estonian women’s tennis riding high at the moment?Anett Kontaveit is the most successful Estonian tennis player of all time.

 

The success of Anett Kontaveit (WTA 17) and Kaia Kanepi (WTA 29), as well as a number of promising young players in the top 1000 in both the men’s and women’s game, has posed a question. Why is Estonia doing so much better at producing players than some of its neighbours (including Finland), as well as many other much larger nations?

For Allar Hint, the general secretary of the Estonian Tennis Association, the development of facilities has played a major role. “When I played in the 1990s we only had 5 indoor courts in Tallinn, now there are 50-70.” This isn’t a phenomenon restricted to Tallinn either, with growing numbers of tennis facilities in Tartu, Parnu and all the regions of Estonia.

This is something that is echoed by Estonia’s number one player Anett Kontaveit, “We have really good facilities and conditions for playing tennis. Tennis is increasingly more popular”. 

Another factor behind the growing popularity of tennis in Estonia is the yearly Tennis month (“Tennnisekuu”), where free opportunities to try tennis are provided around the country every September to Mid-October.

However, by far the biggest draw to tennis for new players is the success of Estonia’s professional players. “The success of Annett and Kaia has been great for Estonian tennis and has attracted a lot of boys and girls to start playing tennis. They are the best advertising campaign of all,” Hint exclaims.

 

Allar Hint, general secretary of the Estonian Tennis Association: “It’s great that young people can see top tennis at home.”

 

For Hint, “it is not just about the opportunity to play, but to succeed.” This is why the tennis association has worked hard to develop coaching education, which is now at the ITF silver level as well as a tournament structure both nationally and internationally. 

The pinnacle of that tournament structure being the WTA 250 Tallinn Open, which took place for the very first time this September. As well as Kontaveit and Kanepi, home fans got to see many top 20 players including Madison Keys (WTA 11), Belinda Bencic (WTA 13), Beatriz Haddad Maia (WTA 15), and top Latvian player and former French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko (WTA 18).

“It is special to have this level of tennis here at home and for kids to see that. To see the best players in the world play in front of you. You see how good they are, you kind of feel it. It gives you motivation,” said Kontaveit.

Estonian number two Kaia Kanepi added that, “Estonian fans and coaches saw such a high level of tennis and players, maybe they have never seen live. It’s good for everybody.”  

With Estonia having four other young women and three young men all under the age of 24 climbing the ranks in the top 1000. Estonian tennis is going from strength to strength.

 

ANETT KONTAVEIT

  • Born on December 24th 1995 (age 27) Tallinn
  • A professional since 2010
  • Height 1.74 m
  • Best ranking: WTA 2 in June 2022
  • Currently ranked 17
  • The most successful tennis player in Estonian history

 

KAIA KANEPI

  • Born on June 10th 1985 (37 years old) Haapsalu
  • A professional since 2000
  • Height: 1.81 m
  • Best ranking: WTA 15 in 2012
  • Currently ranked 29
  • The first Estonian player to reach such a high-level in the professional game

 

To learn more about this and similar topics
Anett Kontaveit Estonian Tennis Association Kaia Kanepi Tallinn Open Tennis Tennis Facilities Tennis in Estonia WTA 250 Tallinn Open

27.11.2022 | Restaurants

camera icon8
Narva: Where history and art are intertwined

Narva: Where history and art are intertwined

Narva Castle is the historic heart of the city and the place that is likely to be top of … Read more

24.11.2022 | Leisure

New interactive exhibition about the brain opens at Ahhaa Science Centre in Tartu

New interactive exhibition about the brain opens at Ahhaa Science Centre in Tartu

Today, November 24, a new exhibition entitled “Ahha, brain” has opened at the Ahhaa Science Centre in Tartu. Visitors … Read more

2.11.2022 | Leisure

AHHAA Robobattle to take place in Tallinn this Saturday

AHHAA Robobattle to take place in Tallinn this Saturday

The crashing of metal, a flaming arena, sizzling parts and 1,800 screaming spectators. This is exactly the kind of … Read more

27.10.2022 | Beauty

In Pärnu, you can bathe in a unique snow sauna

In Pärnu, you can bathe in a unique snow sauna

A snow sauna has been built inside the water center of the Viiking Spa Hotel in Pärnu, which can … Read more

24.10.2022 | Leisure

camera icon12
Over 2500 people visited Veganmess 2022

Over 2500 people visited Veganmess 2022

On Saturday, October 22, the 12th consecutive Veganmess took place at the Noblessner foundry in Tallinn, where nearly 70 … Read more

21.10.2022 | Leisure

Estonia’s most modern sports and spa centre has opened in Tallinn’s Õismäe district

Estonia’s most modern sports and spa centre has opened in Tallinn’s Õismäe district

The almost 10,000-square-meter sports and spa centre “Ring” opened this week in Tallinn’s Õismäe district. It includes, among other … Read more

18.10.2022 | Shopping

camera icon5
Tallinn Fashion Week starts today

Tallinn Fashion Week starts today

Tallinn’s autumn fashion week will get off to a powerful start tonight, when at the Golden Needle gala, the … Read more

7.10.2022 | Leisure

Tallinn’s first ever Oyster Festival to take place on October 15

Tallinn’s first ever Oyster Festival to take place on October 15

In October, the beginning of the oyster season is celebrated from New York to Denmark. On Saturday, October 15, … Read more