In the article “TOP-5 victories of Russian tennis” we will recall the five most iconic triumphs of Russia on the tennis courts of the world, which have entered the history of world sport.
There have been many glorious pages in the history of Russian big tennis, but some victories of domestic representatives of one of the most popular sports in the world are especially memorable and important.
In this material we will recall five of the most iconic triumphs of Russia on the tennis courts of the world. And although for every fan this list will seem incomplete, we will try to explain the choice for each of the points.
Daniil Medvedev, 2021 US Open
The first and so far only Slams title for the Russian first racket of the latest era. For Medvedev, his success at the U.S. Open two years ago is also memorable because the Russian won that trophy under incredible pressure, as his main rival, Serbian Novak Djokovic, was one step away from the incredible achievement of winning all Grand Slam tournaments in one calendar year. But Daniil prevented Novak’s plans from coming true, and instead of the Serb, Medvedev’s name was written into history.
During the entire tournament, Daniil lost only one set to his opponents – in the quarterfinals against Dutchman Botik van de Zandschulp. The rest of his opponents were defeated by the Russian with a 3:0 scoreline. The final match against Novak Djokovic, who lost to Medvedev three times 4-6, was no exception. Amazingly powerful and stable tennis from the Russian!
Marat Safin, 2005, Australian Open
The 2005 tournament in Melbourne turned out to be an eventful one for the star Russian Marat Safin. What is worth only the defeat of Novak Djokovic in the first round!
Yes, the Serb was not yet such a formidable force on the world tour and was just beginning to make a name for himself, but the fact that Safin allowed the young talent to take only three games in the entire match is something incredible, especially now.
The most memorable match for Marat at the 2005 Australian Open was not even the final match, in which the Russian handled the host Leighton Hewitt quite confidently (1:6, 6:3, 6:4, 6:4), but the semi-final against the star Swiss Roger Federer, where Safin was one serve away from losing. But still, in the end, the Russian managed to get away with a match point, ending the 5-set “thriller” in his favor – 5:7, 6:4, 5:7, 7:6, 9:7. And thus Marat became the first player at Grand Slam tournaments in 20 years to win back in the final from someone else’s serve for the match. A historic success!
Yevgeny Kafelnikov, 1996, Roland Garros
This Russian tennis triumph is unique in that it was the first and so far the only victory of a representative of the country in the men’s net at Roland Garros. No one has been able to repeat Kafelnikov’s success so far, and in general, historically, Russians do not look very good on dirt.
But Yevgeny managed to show top class at the season’s premier ground event in 1996, and gave up only one set to his opponents over the entire tournament distance.
Kafelnikov showed a particularly powerful game in the semifinal against the star American Pete Sampras, who managed to take only 8 games during the whole meeting (7:6, 6:0, 6:2), well, and in the final confrontation Evgeny defeated the fighting German Michael Stich in an equal struggle, but more successful actions of the Russian tennis player in key episodes – 7:6, 7:5, 7:6.
Maria Sharapova, 2004, Wimbledon
The debut Slams title for the then 17-year-old Sharapova went down in tennis history as one of the biggest surprises. This is what experts called the success of Maria, who in the final match defeated the then five-time Slams champion American Serena Williams 6:1, 6:4.
Sharapova would go on to win four more trophies at Grand Slam tournaments in the future, eventually winning each of the four major tournaments on the tour. But it was her sensational Wimbledon win at such a tender age that Maria and her fans will remember the most. The champion showed fantastic winning energy and outstanding skill on the grass courts of England.
Russian national team, 2006, Davis Cup
Nowadays Davis Cup is no longer such a prestigious competition, and many players consciously prefer to skip the matches of this tournament in order to prepare for more important individual starts. But there were times when the matches of the best tennis players of the planet for their country were almost the “highlight” of the tennis season, along with the Slams, and the fight on the court was incredibly intense, making the audience overflow with emotions.
One of such tournaments was the Davis Cup in 2006, which ended with the victory of the Russian team. The team, which featured Marat Safin, Nikolay Davydenko, Dmitry Tursunov, Igor Andreev and Mikhail Youzhny, had an extremely difficult journey. Only in the opening match against the Netherlands did the opponents fail to impose competition on the Russians – a 5-0 defeat. The French were defeated 4-1, while the USA in the semifinals and Argentina in the deciding battle fought to the very end and were defeated with a minimal advantage – 3:2.
It was a truly memorable tournament for Russian tennis at the national team level. As a result, this victory was one of only three Davis Cup triumphs for the men’s national team. The other two were won in 2002 and 2021.