Estonian tennis star Anett Kontaveit has admitted she didn’t think qualifying for the WTA Finals was "realistic".
Kontaveit secured a place at the prestigious end-of-season event after triumphing at the Transylvania Open on Sunday.
She overtook an injury-stricken Ons Jabeur in the world rankings at the last possible moment, qualifying for the WTA Finals for the first time in her career.
Kontaveit has enjoyed a meteoric rise up the standings after winning four titles in two months, adding her victory in Cluj-Napoca to wins at Tennis in the Land, the Ostrava Open, and the Kremlin Cup.
In late August, the 25-year-old was sitting at world number 30. She has now become the first Estonian to break into the top 10.
Kontaveit told the WTA she was finding it difficult to process the events of the past two months.
"Honestly, there's just been so much going on, all the tournaments in the row, having to play matches every day, traveling to new places," she said.
"So I really haven't had time to think. I've really been on auto pilot and just doing it, trying my best each match.
"I've played so many matches when you look back on it and I've played some great tennis, but of course it hasn't been easy on the body. I've seen the physios every day this week, trying to recover as well as I can.
"Maybe I'm doing it better than I was a couple of months ago, taking care of my body and making sure it's getting what it needs."
Kontaveit gave credit to her coach, Dmitry Tursonov, who she hired over the summer. But she revealed that breaking into the top 10 had not been set as a target.
"Honestly, after losing to Ons [Jabeur] in Cincy [Cincinnati Masters], I was just hoping to just win a few matches," she explained.
"I definitely didn't think ahead too much. You can plan so many things but life has other plans.
"So I've really been living in the moment and taking each match as they come and really having a great time on court, actually, which is strange to say."
Kontaveit added: "I didn't think anything like this was ever possible. But I just kept going each match.
"It's so tough to comment about it because I hadn't thought about it because I didn't think it was realistic."
Jabeur was the player who missed out on a place at the WTA Finals, but the Tunisian star has taken her exclusion well. Her friendship with Kontaveit is likely to have helped, and the pair shared some light-hearted banter during the run-in.
"Ons is such a great person," Kontaveit said. "We've been friends for years, we're similar in age, and I've known her since juniors. She's such a wonderful girl. I wish it wasn't her.
"Honestly, I don't even know what to say. I didn't think any of this was realistic. I genuinely thought Ons was going to the Finals. I would have been really happy for her because she deserves it.
"She's had a really great year and I've lost to her a couple of times. She's a really great player and an even better person. I guess that's tennis for you."News Now - Sport News