On this episode it’s all about the Russians. Senior Writer for WTA Insider Courtney Nguyen previews this week’s tournaments in St. Petersburg and Taiwan and look to the new generation of Russians – Margarita Gasparyan, Elizaveta Kulichkova, and Daria Kasatkina – who are eager to put their stamps on the tour. Their collective success is an important development for a country that has produced two No.1s in Maria Sharapova and Dinara Safina, swept the podium at the 2008 Olympics, and won three of the four majors in 2004. There has been a notable gap in talent after Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova’s protogenic rise. That’s about to change.
Gasparyan, Kulichkova, and Kasatkina are all in action this week and after a solid last six months, they are all in the Top 100, which means you’ll be seeing more of them in the main draw at tour events. So now’s the time to get to know them.
Gasparyan on switching from a male coach to a female coach, former player Elena Makarova: “She’s not just a coach. She’s a friend. I like to work with a woman. When you have a male coach you cannot speak about everything with him. Maybe just tennis. When you have tennis you can tell all. How you feel, tennis, boyfriends, everything. I’m relaxed. I don’t think a lot of tennis all the time.”
Kasatkina on the Russian resurgence: “I think it’s because of Russian character. We have not the best conditions. So that’s why we fight all the time for everything.”
Kulichkova on her friendship with Kasatkina: “We’re not so alike in terms of liking the same things. We probably like the three same things, everything else is different. But still we’re best friends. It works nicely. So if someone says friendship in women’s tennis doesn’t exist it’s a lie! We are the proof. It exists.”
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