10 Greatest Russian Tennis Players

In the 1990s, Russian tennis saw a revival, in large part due to Boris Yeltsin’s support and passion for the game. He supported tennis academies, built new tennis courts, and produced a new wave of Russian tennis players.

They have produced victors in every grade in both the men’s and women’s games over the past 20 years. Here are the best  Russian tennis players ever.

Take a look at the Top 10 Greatest Russian Tennis Players:

S.NoPlayer Name
1Maria Sharapova
2Yevgeny Kafelnikov
3Marat Safin
4Svetlana Kuznetsova
5Daniil Medvedev
6Anastasia Myskina
7Elena Dementieva
8Darina Safina
9Vera Zvonareva
19Elena Vesnina

1. Maria Sharapova:

Player Name Grand SlamsCareer TitlesHighest rankingEstimated Career Earnings
Maria Sharapova536No.1$38,777,962

Sharapova is without a doubt one of the greatest Russian Tennis players ever with five Grand Slam titles to her name. She won the Australian, Wimbledon, and US Opens once each, in addition to three French Opens. She finished the year with 36 victories, including her first WTA Finals victory in 2004.

She won three doubles championships. One of her greatest adversaries was Serena Williams, who is recognized as the best Russian tennis player of all time. 

Sharapova, a WTA member since 2001, has been a resident of the country since 1994. She has occupied the top spot in the singles rankings five different times for a total of 21 weeks.

Only eleven women, including one Russian, have completed a career Grand Slam. At the age of 18, Sharapova became one of the first female Russian Tennis players to hold the top spot in the world rankings on August 22, 2005.2

2. Yevgeny Kafelnikov:

Player Name Grand SlamsCareer TitlesHighest rankingEstimated Career Earnings
Yevgeny Kafelnikov226No.1$23,883,797

On February 18, 1974, Yevgeny Aleksandrovich Kafelnikov was born in Sochi. When Kafelnikov became one of the first Russian tennis players to achieve World No. 1 in the ATP Rankings in May 1999, he created national history. He was in charge for six weeks.

Marat Safin would also achieve World No. 1 the next year. But Yevgeny Kafelnikov would go on to write another chapter in the history of his country when, at Roland Garros, in 1996, he became the first Russian to win a Grand Slam singles title.

He is one of the select few tennis players to win both the doubles and singles championships in the same competition. He also triumphed in the Australian Open in 1999.

Among his other accomplishments, we can single out the gold medal he won in singles at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and the Davis Cup he helped the Russian team win in 2002.

Kafelnikov won the doubles competition at Roland Garros four times (1996, 1997, 2002), as well as once in the U.S. Open (1997).

He also won the Kremlin Cup five times in a row between 1997 and 2001. Kafelnikov was honoured by being admitted to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2019.

3. Marat Safin:

Player Name Grand SlamsCareer TitlesHighest rankingEstimated Career Earnings
Marat Safin215No.1$14,373,291

One of the most gifted Russian Tennis Players in history is Marat Safin, a former world number one. In addition to being Dinara Safina’s older brother, who once held the women’s No. 1 ranking.

The “Safinas” are the only brother-sister duo to hold the top spot in tennis history. Safin held the number one spot for nine weeks. In his career, he captured two Grand Slams.

Defeating Lleyton Hewitt in the Australian Open in 2005 and Pete Sampras in the US Open in 2000. Between 2002 and 2005, Safin advanced to three additional Australian Open finals as a Grand Slam competitor.

He attributed his failure in 2004 to physical weariness and anxiety from his loss in 2002.[18] He defeated Lleyton Hewitt in the championship match to win in 2005, giving him his second Grand Slam triumph in the previous five years.

4. Svetlana Kuznetsova:

Player Name Grand SlamsCareer TitlesHighest rankingEstimated Career Earnings
Svetlana Kuznetsova218No.2$25,816,890

On June 27, 1985, Svetlana Aleksandrovna Kuznetsova was born in Saint Petersburg. Svetlana went to Spain when she was 7 years old and enrolled at the elite Sanchez-Casal Academy.

Svetlana became a professional in 2000, and she competed in her debut WTA competition at the Madrid Open the following year. After participating in the French Open, Svetlana was awarded the Russian Cup for Newcomer of the Year in 2001.

She won her first WTA championship in 2002 in Helsinki at the Nordea Nordic Light Open. Svetlana competed in four Grand Slam singles finals and took home two victories.

She was among the third Russian tennis players to win a Grand Slam and the first to win the U.S. Open in 2004. In 2009, she defeated Dinara Safina to win the French Open.

Kuznetsova achieved a WTA No. 2 ranking that was a career-high. In 2007 and 2008, she held the job for 24 weeks. She reached the WTA Finals semifinals in 2016. Svetlana is ranked 108th as of November 2021.

5. Daniil Medvedev:

Player Name Grand SlamsCareer TitlesHighest rankingEstimated Career Earnings
Daniil Medvedev113No.2$19,885,705

On February 11th, 1996, Daniil Sergeyevich Medvedev was born in Moscow. He became a professional in 2014, and as of this writing, ATP has him at No. 2 in the world.  In March 2021, he reached the highest singles position of his career. At the Kremlin Cup (doubles) in 2015, Daniil made his ATP debut.

He would triumph in his maiden singles match in the Ricoh Open a year later. Daniil Medvedev won his first ATP titles in 2018 at Winston-Salem, Sydney, and the ATP 500 in Tokyo.

He made six consecutive tournament finals in 2019. Daniil has already won 13 singles matches on the ATP Tour, including the US Open (2021) and the ATP Finals (2020).

Daniil became one of the first Russian tennis players to defeat the top three players in the world on his way to the title with his victory at the ATP Finals.

Additionally, Medvedev finished second at the Australian Open (2021) and the US Open (2019). Except for the Big Four, Medvedev, and Alexander Zverev are the only two players still competing who have won four Masters tournaments. 

6. Anastasia Myskina:

Player Name Grand SlamsCareer TitlesHighest rankingEstimated Career Earnings
Anastasia Myskina110No.2$5,606,725

At the 2004 French Open, Anastasia Myskina became the first Russian Tennis Players to win a singles Grand Slam.

With her victory, she became the first Russian woman to finish in the top three in the WTA rankings. She was at No. 2 in the WTA rankings in September 2004. She has not officially retired, however, she has been inactive on the WTA Tour since May 2007.

Myskina was a player with a strong offensive game as well as good defensive abilities. She was renowned for hitting her backhand flat and consistently deep with her strong two-handed backhand.

It helped her win a lot of games on the court. Myskina had a strong forehand, especially when struck inside-out, although she occasionally lacked control and made a lot of unforced errors with this shot.

7. Elena Dementieva:

Player Name Grand SlamsCareer TitlesHighest rankingEstimated Career Earnings
Elena Dementieva0 (2 Finals) (7 Semi-Finals)16No.3$14,867,437

She is third on our list since she won the gold medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. She is arguably one of the best Russian tennis players who has never claimed a grand slam title.

She was unlucky to have played during the same era as some of the most notable Russian Tennis players in the game’s history. Previously, she took home the silver medal at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. Her career highlights include seven other Grand Slam semifinal appearances, a final appearance at the 2004 French Open, and 16 WTA singles championships.

Dementieva was also a member of the Russian team that won the Fed Cup in 2005. In doubles, she and Janette Husárová placed second in the 2002 WTA Championship and third in the 2002 and 2005 US Opens, respectively.

On April 6, 2009, Dementieva reached a high of No. 3 in the world. Following her final match at the WTA Championships in 2010, she made her retirement announcement on October 29, 2010.

8. Darina Safina:

Player Name Grand SlamsCareer TitlesHighest rankingEstimated Career Earnings
Darina Safina0 (3 Finals, 2 Semi-finals)16No.1$10,585,640

On April 27, 1986, Dinara Mubinovna Safina was born in Moscow. Dinara is the younger sister of Marat Safin, one of the well-known former No. 1 Russian tennis players.

At Sopot in 2002, Dinara Safina won her maiden WTA championship. She also finished second in the singles competition at the French Open in 2008, the Australian Open in 2009, and the French Open in 2009.

Dinara Safina attained the WTA world No. 1 ranking in April 2009, becoming the second Russian tennis player (after Maria Sharapova) to do so. Women’s doubles at the U.S.

Open was won in 2007 by Dinara Safina and Nathalie Dechy.  Dinara won a silver medal in the singles competition at the Beijing Summer Olympics in 2008. There are 12 titles in Dinara Safina’s career. 

9. Vera Zvonareva:

Player Name Grand SlamsCareer TitlesHighest rankingEstimated Career Earnings
Vera Zvonareva0 (2 Finals, 2 Semi-finals)12No.2$14,839,405

She was renowned for playing the baseline and relying heavily on her athleticism. Her backhand slice could be improved, and she could improve her defensive shots.

The former world no. 2 started playing tennis at an early age and has gone on to win 12 straight WTA Tour championships in addition to making it to the finals of numerous events, including the 2010 Wimbledon Championships and the 2008 WTA Tour Championships 2010 US Open. She also took home a bronze medal from the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

Additionally, she has five Grand Slam doubles victories. Her first two victories were shared with Nathalie Dechy and Svetlana Kuznetsova at the US Open in 2006 and the Australian Open in 2012.

10. Elena Vesnina:

Player Name Grand SlamsCareer TitlesHighest rankingEstimated Career Earnings
Elena Vesnina0 (1 Semi-final)12No.13$13,011,023

Elena became a professional in 2002, and at the Bell Challenge in Quebec in 2004, she became one of the first Russian tennis players to earn a spot in a WTA Tour main event.

With four Grand Slam victories (the French Open (2013), the US Open (2014), Wimbledon (2017) with Ekaterina Makarova, and the Australian Open (2016) mixed-doubles with Bruno Soares), Elena Vesnina has established herself as one of the top doubles Russian Tennis players in history.

When Elena Vesnina and Ekaterina Makarova teamed up in May 2012, they quickly established themselves as one of the finest combinations on the circuit and amassed no fewer than twelve victories: the WTA Finals in 2016, three Grand Slam titles, and an Olympic gold medal in Rio.

Together with Aslan Karatsev, she competed in the 2020 Summer Olympics and took home a silver medal in the mixed doubles competition. She is ranked no. 53 as of August 2021. and Eastbourne (2013).

At Wimbledon in 2016, she advanced to her maiden Grand Slam semifinal. She has the 303rd spot as of August 2021. 

Conclusion

Russian tennis players frequently displayed their talent around the world. On the men’s side, notable players include Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev, and Karen Khachanov because of their innovative playing styles and noteworthy victories.

Women have been distinguished by the Grand Slam victories of Maria Sharapova, the tenacity of Svetlana Kuznetsova, and the consistency of Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Their brilliance, tenacity, and contributions to the lengthy history of the sport are reflectd in Russia’s legacy in tennis.

Also, check out the Tallest Tennis Players – Top 10

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