May 12, 2003
Getting to Know...
One of the top rising stars on the WTA
Tour is Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova.
Kuznetsova has not had a problem
finding impressive doubles partners, as
she has paired with two tennis greats,
Arantxa Sanchez Vicario and Martina
Navratilova have already
doubles titles together this year.
In addition, Svetlana has also made her
mark on the
singles side. Her ranking
spots on the season-ending
2001 and 2002, holding a
ranking at the end of 2002.
her first Tour title last year at Helsinki, as a qualifier ranked
couple of months later, she won her second Tour title at Bali by
doubles partner and friend Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario in the semifinal
Martinez in the final.
www.wtatour.com caught up with Svetlana Kuznetsova in Berlin to talk about
her career and
her off-court interests.
Many people have been made aware of you because of your rather famous
doubles partner. How did this partnership come about?
It started when Arantxa retired. Martina (Navratilova) called Emilio (Sanchez-
asked if I wanted to play with her. I did not have a partner so I
play with her and we started in the Gold Coast.
You had a very impressive junior career and almost immediately enjoyed
success on the WTA Tour. What was the hardest thing to deal with in
the transition from junior to senior player?
The hardest thing is the consistency. On the WTA Tour, the level is so much
you need to concentrate much more because all the players want to
win and you
have to fight from the beginning to the end.
Having trained at the Sanchez-Casal Academy, and having spent a lot of
with Arantxa, what is the biggest difference between the Spanish and
When I was in Russia I did not practice much with coaches. The last year that I
was in Russia,
I had a sparring partner as it was difficult to find a full time
Spain, I felt right away that people outside my family believed in me
and tried to
help me from day one.
To this point in your career, what has been the most memorable match you
have played, and why?
My match against Conchita Martinez in Bali. It was a long and tough week for
me. The day
before I had defeated Arantxa and I was sad afterwards because I
had beaten my
friend. It was emotionally very tough to overcome.
What type of things do you like to do on a day off, either at or away
When I am not at tournaments I like to spend time with my friends and family.
reading and listening to music. When I am at events I try to leave the
club as soon
as I can so I can go back to my room and relax listening to music
or reading a
What tournament do you look forward to the most each year, and why?
I always look forward to Roland Garros and to the Kremlin Cup. Roland Garros
special. I also have a lot of friends that come to see me and I
always have a
good time there. The Kremlin Cup because it's in Russia and I
am home for a
little while. I have the chance to see friends and family that I
don't see all
year round. I also enjoy Wimbledon because it's my birthday and
that I have loads of friends with me. This year is a special one for
me as I will
At what moment (i.e. after winning a particular tournament or reaching a
certain junior ranking) did you realize you were definitely going to be
professional tennis player?
In 1999, when I left St.Petersburg to go live and practice in Spain. That was a
for me and I did it because it was the best thing for me as I wanted
to be a
professional tennis player.
Which athlete (not necessarily a tennis player) do you most admire, and
Lleyton Hewitt because of the way he fights on the court. I admire any athlete
that is a