BNP Paribas Open champion Elena Vesnina almost quit tennis amid self-doubt and inconsistent form, but was kept going by her sparkling doubles displays.
The Russian produced a stunning comeback to defeat compatriot Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-7 (6-8) 7-5 6-4 at Indian Wells on Sunday, marking the high point of her singles career.
But the 30-year-old – who beat world number one Angelique Kerber en route to the final in California – revealed she had pondered giving it all up until a flurry of doubles crowns, including gold at Rio 2016, restored her faith.
"I had some moments when I was really not sure if I should continue, should I play, how should I play," she told the WTA Tour website.
"Then the doubles helped me. I kept winning titles and I was playing finals. Last year was just amazing. Dream of my life. Gold medal. WTA Finals. Semi-finals of Wimbledon.
"That was the most important thing. Even before Wimbledon, I played the final of Charleston coming from the qualifying. I had good wins against good players, like Venus [Williams].
"I knew that I could beat the big players. I knew I had it inside of me. I just needed to free it up. To show it to everybody."
Having demonstrated her talent for the world to see at the weekend, Vesnina did not have long to acquaint herself with the trophy before it was taken away from her.
While speaking to the media post-match, a tournament representative removed the trophy from in front of her, saying: "I'm sorry to interrupt you. We only have one of these and the men's final is about to end."
Vesnina saw the funny side as the impressive piece of glassware was taken away to be presented to Roger Federer, who overcame Stan Wawrinka.
25. September 2017
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24. September 2017
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