The 10 Best Russian Tennis Players of All-Time

Anna Kournikova

Tennis is an exciting and competitive sport that many people enjoy participating in and even watching on a regular basis. If you’re a fan of professional tennis, then you may have several favorite players that represent the United States or even some other countries. Even if you have never watched Russian tennis matches before, as a tennis fan, you should be aware that there are many top-notch Russian tennis players that should be mentioned. Here is an overview of the 10 best Russian tennis players of all-time. 

Olga Morozova

Olga Morozova, who was named the “Godmother of Russian tennis” in 1974, was a renowned professional tennis player who played for the Soviet Union. She was born on February 22, 1949 in Moscow, Soviet Union. Morozova had many accomplishments as a tennis player and a coach, which is how she earned the nickname “Godmother of Russian tennis.” Not only was Olga the first Soviet to reach the singles match in a professional tennis match, but she was runner up in 1972 at the Italian Open. 

In 1998, Olga received the Sarah Palfey Danzig Tropher for her exemplary manners, sportsmanship, character, spirit of cooperation, as well as her contribution to the growth of the game and the help she provided to junior and professional players. Then, two years later, in the year 2000, she was awarded the Russian Tennis Player of the twentieth century by the Russian Tennis Federation. 

Svetlana Kuznetsova

Svetlana Kuznetsova, who was born on June 27, 1985 in Leningrad, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union, is an inactive professional tennis player who has won two of the four Grand Slam finals that she competed in during the Australian Open. Kuznetsova also competed in seven doubles finals, and she won two of them. Kuzenetsova was extremely successful throughout her career, and in total, she has won 18 WTA singles and 16 WTA doubles titles to date. She has sustained multiple injuries throughout her career, and in 2021, she dropped out of the Olympics due to ongoing issues from former injuries. It is not known whether she plans to return to professional tennis, as there have been no announcements regarding whether she plans to announce that she’s retired or not. 

Elena Vesnina

Elena Vesnina is another exceptional professional Russian tennis player, and she was born on August 1, 1986 in Lviv, Ulkranian SSR, Soviet Union. She is a former number one in doubles, and she also won four Grand Slam championships. In addition, she also has several other accomplishments, including winning the 2007 and 2008 Billy Jean King Cup while representing Russia.  Throughout her extensive career, Vesnina has won two Olympic medals, one gold and one silver. Elena continues to play tennis professionally, and she is very likely to have many more accomplishments to add to her already impressive list. 

Darina Safina 

Darina Safina is yet another renowned professional Russian tennis player, and she was born in Moscow, Soviet Union on April 27, 1986. She began her career in 2002 when she competed in the WTA tournament in May 2002, and while she made it to the semifinals, she unfortunately lost. She has many notable accomplishments, including winning the 2007 Grand Slam doubles with another top-notch tennis player and she also won the women’s singles in the 2008 Olympics, winning a silver medal in Beijing. Unfortunately, Darina retired in 2014 after sustaining a life-changing back injury. Even though she retired in 2014, Darina Safina will always be one of the best Russian tennis players ever.

Daniil Medvedev

Daniil Medvedev is a professional Russian tennis player who is currently ranked number four by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP). He was born in Moscow, Russia on February 11, 1996.  In the past, Daniil was ranked number one by the ATP for his exemplary performance in Singles for a total of 16 weeks. Medvedev has won a total of 14 ATP singles titles, including the 2020 ATP Finals and the 2021 US Open. Daniil also defeated former number one, Novack Kjokovic, in the Grand Slam finals. Medvedev became the first and only professional tennis player to defeat the top three ranked players in the world on his way to the year-end championship title. Furthermore, he also won four Masters 1000 titles.  

Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova was born in Nyagan, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union on April 19, 1987. She became the number one professional tennis player in 2005 by the Women’s Tennis Associations. Sharapova was only 18 at the time. She is also the only professional Russian player to achieve the career Grand Slam. Maria has a number of other accomplishments, as well, as she won a silver medal in the London Olympics in 2012, for the women’s singles match. These are only some of Sharapova’s numerous achievements. The list goes on and on, and another one of her most notable achievements is the fact that she has been found to have been the highest-paid female athlete worldwide for 11 years in a row, beating out players from every other country.

Yevgeny Kafelnikov

Born on February 18, 1974 in Sochi, Russian SFSF, Soviet Union, Yevgeny Kaflnikov is a former number one professional Russian tennis player. Not only did he win two Grand Slam Singles titles and the 1996 French Open, but he also won a gold medal at the 2000 Australian Olympics. In addition, Kafelnikov also won four Grand Slam Doubles, the 1999 Australian Open, and more. Due to his impressive skills and numerous wins, Kafelnikov was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2019. 

Anna Kournikova

Anna Kournikova is a former Russian professional tennis player who has also had numerous accomplishments, and she was born on June 7, 1981, in Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union. Kournikova never won a Singles title, but she did reach the status of the number eight professional tennis player in the world. Kournikova reached number one in the Doubles, along with her partner, Martina Hingis, in Australia, in 1999 and 2002. The two professional tennis players playfully referred to themselves as the “Spice Girls of Tennis”. Anna and her partner also won the WTA Championship in 1999 and 2000.   

Vera Zvonareva

Vera Zvonareva is a professional Russian tennis player who began her career in the year 2000, and she was born on September 7, 1984, in Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union. She has a highly-ranked career with the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA),  and she is number two on the list of the greatest professional tennis players in the world. Zvonareva received a bronze medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and she had many additional accomplishments. She won 12 WTA Singles titles, and she reached the finals in many other professional tennis matches. Vera won five major Doubles titles, and two of them were won in the US Open, once in the Australian Open. The other two Doubles that she won were mixed doubles, and one was won in the US Open, while the other was won at the Wimbleton Championship in 2006. 

Zvonareva has sustained a number of injuries throughout her career, and even though a majority of them were serious, she never gave up and always returned to professional tennis, regardless of how long it took to recover each time. Vera is a motivated and talented tennis player who will continue to excel in her career until the day she decides to retire.

Elena Dementieva

Elena Dementieva, a former Russian professional tennis player, is another admirable tennis player who was born on October 15, 1987 in Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union. She had many achievements throughout her career, and she won the Fed Cup in 2005, along with her team. Due to this win, in addition to many other accomplishments during her career, Elena is considered to be one of the most skilled professional players to have won a Grand Slam. She is also considered to be the most popular professional tennis player of all time, and this is especially true among men. The highest rank that she ever achieved during her career was three, according to the ATP.  

Elena retired in October of 2010, which she announced during an on-court ceremony, and at the time, she was ranked number nine, having won a total of 16 WTA singles titles and 2 Grand Slams.

As you can see, there are a number of outstanding professional Russian tennis players who are currently competing, while others have since retired. Regardless of their current status, these tennis players have worked hard to play exceptionally well in order to reach the level of success that they did. 

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