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Thank you to Ksenya for translating this interview from Russian to English and providing it for this fanpage.

 

Парламентская газета

 

Издание Федерального Собрания Российской Федерации

 

The Heiress

 

By Eduard SOROKIN

 

"If you don't see a purpose, don't wait a payment" - for the first time Svetlana Kuznetsova, US Open-2004 champion has heard it from her father was at the age of 7.

A few years before the famous St-Peter's coach Aleksandr Kuznetsov repeated these words many times to Galina Tsareva - sixfold world champion and possessor of 20 world records of cycling track. In those times, his pupil has not been his wife and mother of his children - Nikolay and Svetlana. The son, who became an Olympic silver medaillist in Atlanta under the guidance of his father, also learned this sentence as a prayer. Moreover, all pupils of Kuznetsov, including Olympic champions Vyacheslav Ekimov and Mikhail Ignatyev work with this slogan.

However, when Svetlana was grown and started going to school, it turned out that Aleksandr Anatolyevich saw his daughter as anybody but not a cyclist. He mark in other purpose for daughter, not like for his son, wife and other pupils. And we can state that return now is given to all of them - Svetlana, her brother, their mom and also Aleksandr Kuznetsov, the great maximalist, who exactly planned sport future for his beloved daughter.

 

 

Svetlana, how did it happen, that this girl whose all relations are in the cycling sport, could play tennis?

I have, of course, badly kept in mind myself at 7 years old, and I don't remember what exactly was said. Father said that its enough cyclists in our family and it will be better for Svetlana to study something else. I have seen only bicycles around me before, and when I took a racket at first, as if I asked my father why I should go in for an to me unknown sport. His answer was like "Tennis-players earn a lot of money". In addition, my father very much wanted that I would train in Peter[sburg]. My mother told him that I must train overseas, that I would obtain nothing in my native country. However, for a long time he was convincing her that it is wrong. He offered us to try training with other coaches. My mother and I arrived to the Spain, when all of us were convinced that in St. Petersburg there is nothing to achieve.

 

Who advised your mother and you to go training to Spain?

Rausa Islanova, the mother of Marat Safin. She knew all of need about this country. In addition, my father was there - in Tartosa, he trains cyclists. The climate in Spain is very good; you can train outdoor all the year round. My father's friend, his name is Adolf, advised us to go to the Sanchez academy. Although it was far from Tartosa, I liked it very much.

 

Did you ever think about why none of the Russian coaches had noted anything special about you?

Yes, I do. In addition, so far I do not know an answer. Although Dad says that without special connection between coach and pupil - such as between spacemen - cannot be any really result. However, it was not such result. I was beginning with Inna Ogareva, and then moved to Sabina Khachaturyan, then there were Igor Chernyshev, Aleksey Belov, and Maria Moshkovskaya. During this time, we were feeling that something is not right here. We were searching, but we didn’t find a coach who really could help me. My mother is also a professional coach: she graduated from the Institute of Physical Culture. She told me that no one confided in me and did not see in me the champion. When coaches did not listen to her request then we moved to another coach.

 

The most famous pupil of your father, twofold Olympic champion Vyacheslav Ekimov, has been telling me about the  training system in Lokosfinks command and remembered that once the 10- year-old daughter of Aleksandr Anatolyevich volunteered duty out of turn[1].

I was occupied with tennis and was not in father's command. However, once I saw that my contemporary cyclists after training worked with brooms and dusters. Dad explained to me that who destroyed the day's regime was punished this way. Once it was the case that I was late for 10 minutes to the training in the Academy. So I solved to punish myself - after the dinner when many were sleeping I arrived to the territory of the base and I have swept the asphalt path. If somebody from coaches wouldn’t seen me at this moment, nobody would know about of this story.

 

Aleksandr Anatolyevich once said to journalists that his daughter resembles him Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya[2]. She never complains. At the age of 19, what you can say about your character?

I am a talker. I like the Spaniards because they like to talk. In addition, I try to be friendly with everybody, I don't like quarrels and I always yield if something is not right. However, I really do not worry my parents with my problems. Why? I am adult already.

 

When you were declared as the best junior at 2001, and you took the Russian Cup, you have been asked about your dreams and purposes. You answered that you want to be the first among seniors. Did your ambitions become less?

I would like to do something that people remember my name from. I did think about it when I was 259th in the world and when I got a place in the top-ten. Now I am dreaming about it, too.

 

There are several versions why you started to play in doubles at the age of 16. Is it true that your father was against this solution?

At first, Arantxa Sanchez suggested me to play with her in doubles. Her brother Emilio helped me more then others. After then my mother stopped to accompany me to the tournaments and I travelled with Emilio and Arantxa. At first, my father was really against doubles, he told that double loading will be bad for me.

I think he insured, because I had a very good physical preparation, I took part in cross-country races together with his guys. However, when I got the confidence that I am not worse than others, that I can win, then Arantxa decided to leave tennis. as the proverb has it, “Every cloud has a silver lining"[3]. Martina Navratilova, who won her 6th Wimbledon about June of 1985 - when I was born - she suggested me to play with her in doubles.

 

In last year’s Kremlin Cup, I had an exclusive talk with Martina Navratilova and she spoke of you with many flattering words. The most striking was her statement, that without that   Russian tennis-player, who could do a lot in 2003, she would not have had such a  pretty season on the decline of her career and some pleasant victories"

Can you repeat it once again? It sounds so pleasantly. I joke, of course. Quite seriously, thanks to Navratilova, I have learnt to play near the net. She has special arms. I mean, Martina can do something incredible with a racket and a ball. Of course, I spied and adopted a lot from her.

 

A few minutes before the match against Dementieva in New York,  you talked with your former doubles partner. If it is not a secret, what did she advise to you?

She had seen that I was frightened, and she said to me: When I was playing my first final, I trembled, too. But I plucked up my courage, and I won. Don't be afraid, you also can do it". Those words helped me. At any rate, I did not tremble so much.

 

It was reported, that you considered your success was incredible and even that you were struck dumb from the possible changes in your life. Is this true?

Someone among the journalists, it seemed to me he was Russian, asked me after the victory in New York: “How can you characterize this event with one word?" I answered: “Incredible". Honestly, I did not understand at the same time that I won the US Open. On the medicine language, this condition is called “shock". The next day after the victory in singles, I was supposed to play in the double's final. Nevertheless, I had no strength – neither physically, nor morally - to do it because I hadn’t gone to bed before  4 o'clock. After the doubles match, I went to the plane and left for Bali. And when I was there, I got the best apartment in the hotel. Then I began to understand that I would not be left alone. Really everybody tried to congratulate, to handshake. Around me, there were operators and photographers all the time. I imagine how it will be at the Kremlin Cup.

 

Three Grand Slams have been won by Russian tennis-players: Myskina, Sharapova, and you. Does it mean that Russian girls compete not only with opponents, but also among themselves?

It would be stupid to refute this. Of course, there is rivalry between us. If someone thinks that I like the victory of Myskina in Roland Garros when I had match point in the match against her – he really makes a mistake. I wanted to obtain her result very much. I can say the same about the triumph of Maria Sharapova in London. If these girls would open their hearts and answer the similar question you would note a zealous attitude to my victory in the USA. Vera Zvonareva told me recently: “Look here, I have reached the top-ten, but I do not feel nothing from it. Nothing. Do you know why? Because I am fifth among Russians". For each of us it is very important to be the first in our country. Besides the WTA rating we have our own rating, the Russian rating.

 

In the US Open final, Elena Dementieva played not quite healthy. From this case, do you feel your victory was not so perfect?

Whenever Lena loses, it is always turned round that she aches her hand or leg. In real, her game was not so bad. I just was better and I won well earned. If you know, Björn Borg said that in sport there are not healthy and sick but there are winners and losers.

 

How do you spend 1 million dollars, which you earned with the victory in USA? Did you decide?

It is known that dad build a cycling track at St. Petersburg. But it's unlikely known that he has elaborated the conception of this building. He and his companions had to do their utmost to overcome the army of influential persons in the city, who wanted to build tennis-courts on this place. And considerable sources are needed to realize father's dream and build the best track in the world. All money from my victory will come to this construction.

 

The main draw of the Kremlin Cup 2004 formed that in the quarterfinal you could meet Elena Dementieva, and if you would win, you could meet with Amélie Mauresmo, if she would be there, also. Then we could see a match such as a week ago in Filderstadt, Germany. The defeat there was offensively, wasn't it?

Of course, it was. But it's all my fault. I was leading in the second set - 3:0. But alas! Although it is a different tournament - not only in the payments, because in Moscow they are more than twice, but in motivation.

To play in Olimpiysky" before your compatriots is a great responsibility. In Germany, I should have won to get the prize – the Porsche car. For the moment, I drive a Toyota, I was getting it in one of the tournaments in Tokyo. I want to change it to something more expensive, because I have earned more than 2.5 million dollars. Although dad advises me to not spend money on buying a car, but to get it as a prize.

 



[1] In Russian it is from army's slang. Its meaning is to perform a supplementary work because you are guilty of something, in this case “voluntarily”

[2] Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya - (1923-1941) Russian partisan of the times of World War II. In the end of November 1941 in the village Petrishchevo at the performance of the fighting task, she has been seized by fascists. Despite of monstrous tortures and mockeries of executioners, she has not given out her comrades.

[3] Word for word in Russian: “No bad without good"