* World #2 in the Season-2010.
* Has won 12 WTA Tour singles titles and 5 doubles titles.
* The finalist of the 2008 WTA Tour Championships, 2010 Wimbledon and 2010 US Open.
* A bronze medalist at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
* Has won 4 Grand Slam Tournaments in the doubles and mixed doubles.
* Has won the Fed Cup in 2004 and 2008
Vera Zvonareva was born into a family of sportsmen. Her mother Natalya Bykova played field hockey and was a bronze medallist in the Moscow Olympic Games 1980. Her father Igor Zvonarev participated in a USSR championship on bandy.
Her Mother brought Vera to the sports club “Chajka” when she was 6 years old. Her first coach was Ekaterina Ivanovna Kryuchkova.
At that time Zvonareva didn’t think about professional career and played tennis mostly for pleasure. But with her first victories, she had to choice, and Vera decided to devote her life to sports.
Vera played her first tournament in 1999 in Georgia when she was qualified but lost to Tatiana Poutchek 2:6 3:6.
Then, in April of 2000, she took ITF title in Moscow. She had her first grand victory in October of that same year in Surgut (Russia) – Vera became the champion of Russia after defeating Elena Bovina in the final. This event didn’t pass unnoticed by the organizers of the Kremlin Cup, who offered Zvonareva a wild card. She reached the second round, losing to the future finalist Anna Kournikova. This was not the end of her success. Two months later Zvonareva won the non-official youth world championship Orange Bowl in Miami.
In the beginning of the next year Vera decided to separate with her coach Ekaterina Kryuchkova. Zvonareva remained without coach for almost the whole year, participating mainly on ITF tournaments. Since 2002 Julia Kashevarova has become Vera’s coach. In the spring of 2002 Vera won the April ITF tournament in Florida (50K). After rather good performances in Bol and Warsaw, Vera succeeded at Roland Garros, and it was the time when she became seriously talked about. Being qualified at Parisian courts, the Russian tennis player reached the fourth round when she gave way to Serena Williams. However, Vera managed to show the serious rival in the first set, a thing that couldn’t be done by many players at that time.
Then there was the final of the Palermo tournament, and the US Open where Zvonareva almost caused a sensation. Having the leading score of 6:1 5:2 in the match against Kim Clijsters, Vera lost in the end.
Her way up
After a not very successful beginning of 2003 Vera won a III tier tournament in Bol, Croatia. Some time later she created a sensation at the French Open. Until 2003 In 6 Grand Slam tournaments the finals were played by a family pair: Serena and Venus Williams, and nobody could challenge them until Vera Zvonareva broke this tradition by defeating the elder sister.
This match was long-remembered by its eye-witnesses. Venus couldn’t do anything with the young Russian on slow clay and had to lose with a score 6:2 2:6 6:4.
In the quarterfinal Zvonareva met her compatriot Nadia Petrova, to whom in her distant childhood she lost with a score 0:6 0:6. This time the match was of a far more serious character, but Vera, who was tired after the triumphal match with Venus, lost in three sets 1:6 6:4 3:6.
The end of the year for Zvonareva was not so brilliant, but she almost approached the top-10. The same year she first performed in the national Russian women’s team in the Fed Cup. In she semifinal against France she represented the whole country on Moscow courts in the sports complex “Olimpijskij”. Unfortunately, Zvonareva didn’t have enough experience, and she lost both of her matches to Amelie Mauresmo and Mary Pierce.
The beginning of 2004 was successful for Vera. She reached the fourth round at the Australian Open, where she lost to Lindsay Davenport, but already on the next tournament in Memphis Vera took the second WTA title in her career, defeating Lisa Raymond in a tough final 4:6 6:4 7:5.
In the beginning of the summer, after Roland Garros (this time Vera was stopped in the third round by young and ambitious Maria Sharapova), the Muscovite suddenly parted with her coach Julia Kashevarova. According to Vera, Julia couldn’t pay enough attention to her, and Zvonareva began her cooperation with an American coach Lex Carrington, whom she had known before. Vera often practised near Washington where he helped her as a hitting partner.
The summer period of that season was very rich and successful. Vera took part in many tournaments, reaching the semifinals in four of them, and managing to reach the final in Cincinnati, where she lost to Lindsay Davenport. The most remembered was the dramatic match versus her friend Anastasia Myskina at a San Diego tournament, where Vera lost on a tie-break 15:17. One more memorable event took place that summer – Vera Zvonareva first became TOP-10 tennis player.
Then her results worsened, and at the US Open in the fourth round Vera disappointingly lost in three sets to Elena Dementieva 6:1 4:6 3:6. Emotionally, it was a very hard match, and probably, it was the beginning of series of losses on following tournaments. But anyway, Vera could win the US Open with Bob Brian in the mixed doubles.
The chances to be among the eight in the WTA Race and go to Los-Angeles for the WTA Tour Championship, were disappearing right before the eyes. Nevertheless, Vera could perform a small miracle, defeating her main opponent Jennifer Capriati 6:0 6:1 in Philadelphia, thus winning a ticket to L.A. But, unfortunately, she had no strength left for the great eight tournament, and she was defeated in all three matches.
The season wasn’t over though. There was one more match in the final of the Fed Cup with the French team. This time it ended successfully, and in the last decisive doubles match Vera Zvonareva together with Anastasia Myskina brought victory to our team. By the way, it should be mentioned that during almost the whole season Vera played the doubles with Anastasia, and did it rather successfully, winning the Kremlin Cup.
Then came the year 2005, which is rememberedas the most unfortunate in Vera’s career. After the first month of failures Vera could win the Memphis tournament for the second time, but this success was only a short-period in the row of failures which followed again later.
During the whole of 2005 Zvonareva lost in the first round of half of the tournaments and didn’t manage to defeat the opponent above her in ranking one single time.
The bright moments of this season are only the Memphis, I tier tournament in Rome, where Vera reached the semifinal, and successful performances in the doubles with her new partner Elena Likhovtseva.
Over that whole year the Russian tennis player descended to 42th place in the WTA ranking. It should be mentioned though, that Vera experienced health problems during the whole season, and her physical condition was far from perfect.
Hope of a come back
The first half of the 2006 season became a prolongation of the previous season. After the final in Auckland, the next five months were quite unsuccessful for Vera, especially with the tournaments in Asia where Vera had not won a match. During this period she slid down to 79th in the WTA rankings.
When it seemed the losses would never end, Vera Zvonareva decided on major changes in her tennis life. She has changed her racket, her clothing, and most importantly - her coach. Her new tutor, Frenchman Samuel Sumyk, lives in Florida and also worked with Meilen Tu and Elena Likhovtseva.
Step by step these changes began to bear fruit. Vera's results became better in the spring, but the real rise began in the summer when she won a grass tournament in Birmingham, having beaten American Jamea Jackson in a very tough final. In the Grand Slam tournaments, Vera was losing in the first rounds, but she had a lot of bad luck in the draws (for example, Vera's first round at Wimbledon was against Kim Clijsters).
After Wimbledon, Vera Zvonareva played one of the best tournaments in her career in Cincinnati (USA). She gave no chances to her competitors, which included such great players as Tatiana Golovin, Serena Williams and Jelena Jankovic, and in the final she easily won against Katarina Srebotnik.
Later on Vera's results were not as impressive, but they were stable, which allowed her to finish the year in 24th place in the WTA rankings. In addition, in 2006 Vera had two great results in mixed and in doubles: the Wimbledon title with Israeli Andy Ram and the US Open title with Nathalie Dechy.
The second half of this season gives us a basis for hope that Vera has left the losses behind, and that she will make her fans happy with new victories.
The season 2007 is difficult to estimate because of serious injury of left carpal, which Vera got in the spring. She was not able to continue the final of the Charleston tournamentand in fact, she missed a half of the tournament and came back only in the mid-September.
Nevertheless, her play in 2007 impresses optimism. The most impressing was the play between Vera Zvonareva in 2007 (especially in the spring) and Maria Sharapovа, world №1, and Amelie Mauresmo at the Kremlin Cup. Twice, she masterfully managed to beat Ana Ivanovich who had rushed into the Top-Five.
Unfortunately, for the first time in recent years, Vera didn’t win any title and only at the first tournament in Auckland she get through to the final, where in tough struggle for victory she lost to Jelena Jankovic 6:7 7:5 3:6.
Irrespective the misfortune, Vera made the finish at the 22nd position in the WTA ranking. It can be considered a very good result.
Tennis events apart, she gained a diploma of the Russian Physical Culture University and got into the Diplomatic Academy.
The Great year
The tennis season 2008 was one of the most successful in Vera Zvonareva’s career. She showed stable and confident play, she won two tournaments in Prague and Guangzhou and was a finalist of six WTA tournaments: three of them were of tier 1 in Doha, Charleston and Moscow and the WTA Tour Championships in Doha.
Only the summer period was unsuccessful, when Vera was giving importance to dressage to Olympic doubles with her partner Elena Vesnina. However, it fell out that Maria Sharapova, being one of the four to go to Beijing, was seriously injured, and was not able to take part in the competition. At the same time, Anna Chakvetadze refused to go to China. In the end, suddenly, Vera got an opportunity to take part in singles Olympic tournament. She was very successful and took the most precious prize in her life – the Olympic Games bronze medal.
Also, in that season, Vera Zvonareva became a two-time winner of the Fed Cup in the national team. In addition, at the year-end she took up the 7th place in the singles ranking.
The year of contradictions
The season of 2009 was very contradictory. Its first half was the best period in Vera’s career (until 2010). She reached the semifinal of the Australian Open, where she lost to Dinara Safina. Then Vera won her biggest title at a Premier Mandatory tournament in Indian Wells – in the final Vera beat Ana Ivanovic. Against the background of such success, the title of Pattaya turned out to be unnoticeable. And the crown of the season was attaining 5th place in the WTA Ranking, what was personal record of Vera.
However, there came then the unfortunate tournament in Charleston, where Vera sustained a very unpleasant ankle injury, which threw her off her stride for the rest of the year. Clay season was completely missed by our tennis player. She managed to come back for the Eastbourne tournament, which happens before Wimbledon, but we can not call her performance on grass adequate. Vera was playing despite intolerable pain.
She was in a rather good form only by the time of the American series and at the US Open Zvonareva performed quite well, having reached round of 16 where she lost to Flavia Pennetta. The rest of the season was a struggle with the injury rather than with competitors and after that incredible match against Caroline Wozniacki at the WTA Championships in Doha, Vera decided to go through a microsurgical operation on her ankle in early November in Holland.
The end of the year was devoted to recovery and for the time being Vera is going to start the new season without thinking about health problems.
The best season
Before the beginning of the season 2010 Vera was not sure if she would be able to play to the utmost in the near future, but as a result, the season has proved to be the most successful in her career!! Having pulled out of the tournament in Sidney, Vera decided to take part at the Australian Open, where was rather successful and reached the 4th round. Luckily, the injury almost did not disturb her.
Then there was another title in Pattaya, after which the Russian woman managed to take part in the competition in Dubai, where she arrived just several hours after her taking a title in Thai courts. The American hard series were not rather successful, but on the green clay of Charleston Vera managed to reach the final, where she yielded to irrepressible Australian Samantha Stosur. On the European clay courts Vera was extremely unlucky and won only two matches from 7 (at Roland Garros she lost in the second round) and left the top-20.
In May Zvonareva started to work with a young, 26 years old, Russian coach Sergey Demekhin, with whom they won the Russian championship-2001. This cooperation brought up to unexpected and impressing results! At Wimbledon Vera was not considered to be among favourites, but having won such serious opponents as a Belgian Yanina Wickmayer, and a Serbian Jelena Jankovic, she reached the quarterfinals, where in a beautiful match she defeated one of the main contenders to the title, Kim Clijsters, by a score of 3:6 6:4 6:2. For the right to play in the final of the Grand Slam tournament Vera struggled with the main sensation of the tournament a Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova, who had not left any chances to Venus Williams in the quarterfinal. And again, after having yielded the first set, the Russian did not leave any doubts in her leadership and won 3:6 6:3 6:2. It was practically impossible to win the main favourite of the competition, Serena Williams 3:6 2:6. After Wimbledon Vera entered the world top-10.
The American series of hard tournaments Vera did not show her best, but gradually, she recaptured the form and reached the finals of the tournament in Montreal, having yielded to a newly-qualified the world #1 Caroline Wozniacki. Then there was the US Open where again Vera was not considered as a favourite, but she was well on the way along the tournament seeding and having lost no sets, she was through the semifinal with the same Wozniacki whom she easily won that time 6:4 6:3. In the final, again, the main contender to the title, a Belgian Kim Clijsters, was waiting for our tennis player. Unfortunately, Vera could not overcome her nerves and lost two sets 2:6 1:6. After the US Open, for the first time, Zvonareva reached the fourth place in the WTA-Ranking list.
In the Asian series of tournaments, Vera made a stable showing and reached the quarterfinals in Tokyo and the final in Beijin and before the Sony Ericsson Championships in the capital of Qatar, Doha, she stated another PR – the second place in the WTA ranking. At the tournament of the eight top-ranks Vera was the best in the group stage, having yielded no sets to her opponents Jelena Jankovic, Victoria Azarenke and Kim Clijsters, but in the semifinal she lost to Caroline Wozniacki. The Russian player managed to maintain the second place of the year and now she is entering a new season with high hopes.