09
Jun
10

The Anna Kournikova legacy is over, for now!

The Russian domination of the WTA tour is over! Predictions are for  no Russian women in the year-end Top 10. Elena Dementieva, the lone survivor, could have tough times ahead of her after a calf injury so painful it caused her to retire in the semifinals of last week – her first ever retirement at a major.

Safina has been hindered with a back injury. Sharapova has shown flashes of power since returning from shoulder surgery, but has yet to find her consistent prowess on the court from which she won three Grand Slams.

The Russians have fallen out of the Top 10, but they are not gone. In the Top 200, there are 28 Russian women – more than two times the number from any other nation except the United States, which has 14; Italy (10) and France (8); and by comparison, there are six Russian men in the ATP World Tour Top 200.

 It all started in 1988, when tennis returned to the Olympics and the Soviet Union eased its grip.  When Anna Kournikova signed a modeling contract bringing tennis mainstream. Sharapova followed suit, and despite not being in the Top 10 since January of 2009, she has stayed top news by extending her deal with Nike for eight years and $70 million, making her the highest paid female athlete and an icon for Russian girls.

 Russia still has numbers, an army of young girls playing tennis seeking the toughness in Kuznetsova, the grace in Dementieva and the serve in Sharapova. When will the Tour have Russian dominated rankings again? No one knows, but as always history repeats itself.


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