Look for 2011 to be the year of the Russian Revolution on the WTA tour.

At year’s end Vera Zvonareva was the only Russian woman ranked in the top ten. For a decade the Russian women have dominated the Women’s game and often had as many as half of the top ten players on tour. The Russian tennis program, and the individual player’s ambition for a better life outside of their homeland, produced what seemed to be a never ending parade of super stars. Most of them are still playing. Some have been struck down by injury, while others have been adjusting to the pressures of just being on tour.

Elena Dementieva, a permanent fixture in the top ten has retired, but Zvonareva, Sharapova, Kuznetsova, Safina are very much alive and kicking. They are all top ten players, all capable of winning against any opponent on any given day, and if they remain healthy and rededicated they can once again dominate the WTA tour. They are all younger than the Williams sisters, Clijsters and Henin. They have experience, Grand Slam titles, Fed cup victories in their resumes, and are just too good to be ranked outside of the top ten.

Just behind this group is a collection of talented yougsters ready to step up and be ready to fill in if one of the ‘big guns’ falters. Kleybanova, Pavlyuchenkoca, Makarova, Kirilenko and Pironkova make up a battalion of competitive players who will once again make Russia the most powerful tennis nation.


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