World No 2 Anett Kontaveit forced to split with coach as Russian passport causes chaos

Charlie Stayt and Mike Bushell reminisce about tennis matches

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Tennis star Anett Kontaveit has parted ways with her coach due to issues with his Russian passport. Dmitry Tursanov, a former player, had been guiding the world number two since last August and after less than a year together, their partnership is now over.

The 26-year-old explained that the current situation with obtaining visas for the former world number 20 to attend tournaments was too convoluted. “I want to thank him for a very successful and strong cooperation, I am very grateful to him,” Kontaveit told Estonian outlet ERR, adding that the current international situation contributed to the shock decision.

“The reason is that, since he has a Russian passport, it is very difficult for him to get visas at the moment, meaning he can’t accompany me to many tournaments. I still feel I need a coach who can accompany me and who does not have so many practical issues,” she added.

“There was a lack of such security, given the situation. He could not come to America with me in March, and now he had a visa problem in relation to England. The visa process was very complicated for him.” Due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Kontaveit explained Tursanov has found it difficult to secure a visa to enter certain countries.

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She added he was unable to accompany her to America for the Indian Wells and Miami events in March and the situation continues to remain uncertain as the war rumbles on. “There was a lack of such security in this situation,” she shared. “He could not come to America with me in March, and now he had a visa problem with England. The visa process was very complicated for him.”

Last year’s WTA finals runner-up confirmed the news on social media and thanked her former coach for his hard work. “I’d like to thank Dimitry Tursunov on a very successful time together,” she wrote.

“Along the way we enjoyed a number of big wins. Moving forward, we have mutually agreed to go our separate ways. I wish him nothing but the best!” Addressing the split, Tursanov said: “[I] feel proud of the work I put in and a bit sad but sometimes good things must come to an end.


“I would like to thank Anett for the opportunity, congratulate her on a career high ranking, and wish her the best of luck onward.” After joining forces shortly after the US Open, the Estonian’s progress under the Russian was almost instant.

She surged from No.30 to inside the Top 10 in the last quarter of 2021, a run in which she won four titles in her last nine events and qualified for the WTA Finals in Guadalajara, Mexico — where she lost to Garbine Mguruza in the final. By cracking the Top 10, she became the highest-ranked Estonian in WTA history and reached a career-high ranking of number two this week.

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