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Svetlana Kuznetsova: News

Below are news stories relating to Russian tennis player Svetlana Kuznetsova. To view the most recent additions, please click the Refresh button on your browser.


Justine Henin seeks hitting partner for Australian summer
17th December, 2009
BRISBANE -- Comeback queen Justine Henin will sweat up a storm in the dying days of 2009 under a Brisbane sun with a Queensland hitting partner. Henin has requested Brisbane International organisers line up a local player to tour the four-week Australian circuit with her, starting with her first sessions at Tennyson before her long-awaited WTA tournament return from January 3-10.

Ominously for her old rivals, the seven-time Grand Slam champion beat two top-20 players in straight sets this month in exhibition matches in Belgium and Egypt. Brisbane tournament director Steve Ayles is in talks with two top-10 players.

It is understood French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova and Denmark's US Open runner-up Caroline Wozniaki are uncommitted for the first week of the 2010 season and have been asked to play Brisbane. Henin beat Russian Nadia Petrova, the prospective fourth seed at Tennyson, in an exhibition match in Cairo on December 14, having accounted for world No. 12 Flavia Pennetta in Belgium the previous week.

Ayles said he understood Henin was "coming after Christmas and coming pretty early" to Brisbane for her first tournament since April, 2008. "There are a lot of players at this time of year where you're not sure how their preparation will be, but in Justine's circumstances, she hasn't come off a tough season and it's evident she is preparing hard," Ayles said.

"She has requested me to help line up a consistent hitting partner for the whole Australian summer, to start in Brisbane and travel with her. She did the same when she was on the Gold Coast (most recently in 2001). "It's very likely to be a Queenslander who hits with her, but hopefully we will be able to line that up for her in the next few days. She will be ready and want to do very well in this tournament."

Henin, 27, said after winning the Belgian exhibition that she had no "big expectations as regards results in Australia". But the US Open title win by compatriot Kim Clijsters in the third tournament of her comeback will serve to further elevate external expectations.

Ayles would not confirm the identities of the two top-10 players he has approached to replace the injured Dinara Safina, who had been the only top-15 woman to enter Brisbane. "We have made approaches to two of those top 10 players and they haven't been flat 'nos'," Ayles said.

"Serena Williams, Jelena Jankovic and Vera Zvonarava (all top-10 players) are not playing week one at this stage." Among other top 10 players, Venus Williams and 2009 Brisbane champion Victoria Azarenka are playing an exhibition in Hong Kong and Elena Dementieva is playing at Perth's Hopman Cup.

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Nine of women's tennis top 10 to play at Sydney
7th December, 2009
SYDNEY -- Eight of the women's top 10 will compete at January's Sydney International in the lead-up to the Australian Open Grand Slam, according to organisers.

World No. 1 Serena Williams heads the line-up, which also includes Russian Dinara Safina, French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, Caroline Wozniacki and Elena Dementieva.

Victoria Azarenka, Jelena Jankovic, Vera Zvonareva and Agnieszka Radwanska also join a field boosted by Australia's No. 13 Samantha Stosur and Italy's Flavia Pennetta and Francesca Schiavone.

The only top-10 player missing will be world No. 6 Venus Williams, who will warm up for the first Grand Slam of the year with an exhibition match in Thailand.

France's Gael Monfils, ranked 13, leads a men's field that includes Tomas Berdych, Australia's former No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt and one-time Australian Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis.

"We are delighted with our confirmed player line-ups, in particular our women's field, which is certainly the strongest in the event's history," tournament director Craig Watson said.

"To have nine of the top 10 women in the world playing in Sydney is incredible and tennis fans would be hard-pressed to find a more impressive line-up, outside the Grand Slams, anywhere in the world."

Organisers will leave open spots in both draws for wildcards and qualifiers for the January 10-16 tournament.

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Kuznetsova to start year in Sydney
Courtesy of official website
19th November, 2009
SYDNEY -- French Open champion and current world No.3 Svetlana Kuznetsova today confirmed she will begin the 2010 season at the Medibank International Sydney.

Kuznetsova is the fifth top ten female player to commit to the Medibank International Sydney, along with world No. 1 Serena Williams, defending champion Elena Dementieva, Caroline Wozniacki and Victoria Azarenka.

The 24-year-old Russian has been a regular visitor to the Sydney Olympic Park Tennis Centre and January will mark her fifth straight year at the event.

"I really enjoy visiting Sydney. It is a beautiful city and a great place to begin the new season," Kuznetsova said.

"I have had some really great results there in the past and I am looking forward to having a great tournament in Sydney before the Australian Open."

Kuznetsova, who has a career-high ranking of No.2, was runner-up at the event in 2008, going down in tough three set final against then world No. 1 Justine Henin.

Tournament Director Craig Watson said the Russian was always a welcome and popular visitor to Sydney and the event.

"Svetlana is great athlete and a fantastic addition to our women's field," Watson said.

"She is a wonderful ambassador for the sport and always friendly and obliging whenever she plays in Sydney. We are looking forward to having her at the event next January."

Kuznetsova had impressive results during the 2009 season, including the women's singles championship at Roland Garros in June and titles in Stuttgart and Beijing.

The Russian also reached the quarter-finals at the Australian Open, the third round at Wimbledon and the fourth round at the US Open.

Kuznetsova has won 12 career singles titles on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, including her breakthrough title at the US Open in 2004.

She also reached the final at Roland Garros in 2006 and at the US Open in 2007 and has been part of three Fed Cup winning teams for Russia (2004, 2007 and 2008).

Williams, Kuznetsova, Wozniacki, Dementieva and world No. 13 Sam Stosur headline the women's field for the 2010 event, whilst world No.13 Gael Monfils, Australian No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt and Cypriot crowd favourite Marcos Baghdatis are also confirmed.

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Williamses, Clijsters, Kuznetsova to play in NYC
4th December, 2009
NEW YORK -- Serena and Venus Williams, Kim Clijsters and Svetlana Kuznetsova will play a one-night exhibition for the Billie Jean King Cup at Madison Square Garden in March.

Serena Williams and Clijsters could stage a rematch of their U.S. Open semifinal, which ended with Williams' tirade at a line judge that earned her a record $82,500 fine.

The March 1 event will feature one-set semifinals then a three-set final, all with no ad scoring. Serena Williams beat her sister in last year's final.

Serena Williams won the Australian Open and Wimbledon this year. Kuznetsova won the French and Clijsters won at Flushing Meadows in her third tournament after a 2 1/2-year retirement.

The event offers $1.2 million in prize money.

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WTA Tour's 'roadmap' on right track, players, officials say
5th November, 2009
Much has been made this year about the new WADA-enforced rule under tennis' anti-doping code that requires players to provide drug-testing authorities with their whereabouts 365 days a year for impromptu testing. That's not so easy in a peripatetic sport where wins and losses can mean immediate schedule changes.

To some minds, providing that information when players are in competition at a tournament is redundant, since they are easily locatable.

"It's not necessary that during tournaments the whereabouts program, as it's currently designed, needs to be implemented," said Sony Ericsson WTA Tour CEO Stacey Allaster. As such, Allaster said that the sport's various governing bodies (the WTA, ATP Tour and International Tennis Federation) were having "discussions" and providing feedback to the World Anti-Doping Agency about relaxing the rules in that one case.

"We'll continue to work with the tennis anti-doping group and WADA to make sure we maintain the integrity of the sport," Allaster said. But that also means finding "some reasonable balance" with the realities of the sport, she added.

Overall player withdrawals are down by a third in 2009 compared to the year before, and the most sought-after names are meeting tournament commitments 90% of the time, up from 78% in 2008. In 2006 the tour failed to deliver its promised quota of top-10 players to any of its most important events, a historic and embarrassing low.

"If you are a sponsor and you are looking at a property, you want a property that on a pretty consistent basis delivers top players at the best events," said WTA CEO Stacey Allaster, who spoke by phone from Doha this week. "That's what we've designed."

Under the roadmap, the tour shortened the season by two weeks to give players a longer (nine-week) offseason and reduced the number of required events they must play (13 to 10). In exchange, tournaments got more ironclad commitments that players would show up. The aim is to provide fans, sponsors and tournaments a more consistent product, and players get more rest and increased prize money.

Former pro and ESPN commentator Pam Shriver says it's probably premature to call the changes a resounding success. "But those numbers are encouraging in the first year," she says.

Shriver even wonders if the realigned circuit played a role in luring U.S. Open champ Kim Clijsters and fellow Belgian Justine Henin, set to return in January, out of early retirement.

"It might be more appealing to that kind of player," Shriver says.

The system isn't perfect. The new rules mean that players are prohibited from playing some smaller events they might otherwise enter, which some highly ranked women have publicly criticized.

The current schedule also contains conflicts. For instance, top-ranked Italian player Flavia Pennetta has been forced to choose between playing for her country in the Nov. 7-8 Fed Cup final vs. the USA or earn valuable ranking points at the tour's year-end round-robin event in Bali, a kind of B level year-end championships (Pennetta is playing Fed Cup).

"Without question, the circuit structure has tension to meet the needs of every athlete," Allaster says.

"Definitely, there can always be improvement, and not everybody is going to be happy all the time," adds reigning French Open champ Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia, who believes the overall schedule has improved.

Tweaks will be necessary. Allaster says she hopes to avoid a repeat of the Fed Cup/Bali situation in the future. The tour also will adjust draw sizes next year with more byes and more qualifying slots to give top players additional rest and lower-ranked players more chances to compete.

No one is grousing about the longer offseason, which looks like a positive step considering the rash of injuries and pullouts in previous years. This fall, that spotlight has been turned on the ATP Tour, which has been plagued by injuries, illnesses and withdrawals during the post-U.S. Open Asia swing. Its season doesn't end until Nov. 29 (not including Davis Cup), a full month after the women.

With the tour's title sponsorship deal hanging in the balance - Sony Ericsson will decide by the end of the year whether to renew its $88 million deal past 2010 - prize money up 35% to $86 million this year, and $700 million in facility improvements committed in the years ahead, the sport's moving parts must work in tandem.

The tour's financial success depends on it, since players' future prize money increases are tied to tournament revenue growth.

"It all works together as drivers to grow the business," Allaster says.

That synergy is not lost on players.

"My whole thing is that we have all worked together as a team, the players and the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour's representatives, to make positive changes in the game, move forward and be competitive with other sports, and stay relevant," says Venus Williams, who is a member of the Player Council and was involved in the process. "It's really a team effort, and I'm very happy to be on the team."

Maria Sharapova agrees.

"Overall I think it's great to be able to have bigger tournaments than we did before with more players playing, bigger prize money as well," Sharapova said on a recent conference call. "To be able to have that in tough times like this, you know, it's pretty darn good."

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