Thursday, October 18, 2007

Russian Invasion

Tennis has always been a very international sport but today there seems to be an overwhelming dominant force coming from one country; Russia. The tennis world believes that Anna Kournikova sparked the fire of the Russian Takeover. Her success and fame led others to believe they could achieve what she did and more. As more and more russians trickled onto the scene their success couldn't be ignored. Year 2004 was the best example of this dominance. Starting with Anastasia Myskina from Moscow won the French Open, Maria Sharapova from Nyagan, Siberia won Wimbledon and Svetlana Kuznetsova from St. Petersburg won the U.S. Open. Even when they aren't winning grand slams, they are continuing to win tournaments left and right.

Kournikova, Myskina, Sharapova, Kuznetsova.

TTheir journies all fall along a similar movie making storyline. They begin playing at their local tennis courts and simply "fall in love". They each have obsessed parents, go relentless hours on the court and eventually get shipped off to America to perfect their training and game. Their results also reflect similar patterns. Their booming tennis game starts their popularity but their off court success feeds the obssessed fans. Maria Sharapova fills these shoes perfectly. Blonde hair, piercing screams and ground strokes that paint the sidelines cause a loyal crowd to form. However her offcourt endeavors complete the successful package. Currently the highest paid female in the business, yet only 20 years old and ready for years more of tennis.
SSo what we are all wondering is why? Why Russia? Tennis seems to be an odd success story in the refridgerator like atmosphere. The answer is simple though. It is their way out. Also it is a way for woman to be in a business world and be as equally successful as men. So as long as the drive and motivation burns, be prepared for the locker room to be filled with mostly Russian conversation.

WTA World Rankings- Russian Players in the top 100
2- Svetlana Kuznetsova
5-Maria Sharapova
7- Anna Chakvetadze
10-Elena Dementieva
12- Nadia Petrova
14-Dinara Safina
23-Vera Zvonareva
26-Maria Kirilenko
41-Vera Dushevina
52-Elena Vesnina
68-Elena Likhovtseva
75-Alla Kudryavtseva
77-Anastasia Rodionova
83-Olga Poutchkova
86-Yaroslava Shvedova

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