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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Tuesday October 12, 2021

Dmitry Tursunov spent several years coaching Aryna Sabalenka, guiding the powerful Belarusian to the top of the women’s game. Now that that partnership has ended, the Russian is now hoping to do the same with Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit. The pair began working together this summer, at Cincinnati, and since then, Kontaveit has reeled of 15 victories in 16 matches, including two titles runs in Cleveland and Ostrava.

Tennis Express

Kontaveit, seeded 18 at Indian Wells, will take the court against Brazil’s Beatriz Haddad Maia in the round of 16 on Tuesday.

Tursunov, who has also coached Elena Vesnina in the past, told Tennis.com that he is hoping to get Kontaveit to tap into her aggression.


"She's a bit more aggressive, and I think that's a kind of built-in trait,” he said. “I felt she has this internal aggression in her game, suppressed in some way and that's what I felt she should tap into. So, I wanted to bring that aggressive Anett on court more, and just work on the things that can give her the confidence to be aggressive.

"If you try to be aggressive but don't have anything that supports it, you just get erratic and hit balls into the back fence."

Kontaveit seems to be loving her new coaching arrangement, and the results speak for themselves. She credits her success over the last few months with just being free on the court, adding that not much has changed in the way she plays.

"I started working with him in Cincinnati, I didn't have a coach, I was looking for a coach and I suppose he was looking for a job, so that's how it happened,” she said. "There's not a drastic change in how he views my game but he's definitely given me some positivity, there are definitely things to work on and I think we agree on those things so that's definitely a good thing."

The Estonian, currently ranked 20, peaked at 14 in the world in 2019. Could her next stop be the Top-10?

Tursunov says that she’ll have to perform well at big events like the BNP Paribas Open to do that.

"If she's telling me she wants to be Top 10, I'm not going to be focusing on winning another of these 250 tournaments, which are not the ones which really help your ranking," Tursunov said. "I'm not going to focus just winning this match today (hypothetically) at all costs. I'm going to focus on building the game to allow her to compete at that level."

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