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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russians Thirst for Grand Slam

After a phenomenal year in 2004, when they won three out of the four Grand Slam tournaments, it looked as if the Russians would take over women's tennis.

That year Anastasia Myskina became the first Russian woman to win a Grand Slam title when she beat compatriot Yelena Dementyeva in the French Open final.

Maria Sharapova, then 17, soon followed that by lifting the Wimbledon crown before Svetlana Kuznetsova prevailed over Dementyeva in yet another all-Russian final at the U.S. Open.

Many tennis experts predicted that the Russians, with four players in the year-end top-10 rankings and almost a dozen in the top 50, would soon monopolize the WTA standings.

Russian tennis chief Shamil Tarpishchev boldly predicted a "Russian tsunami" would sweep through the women's game.

The threat has failed to materialize.

Although Russian women have had some isolated successes, they have now not won a Grand Slam title in almost two years.

Even reaching a final has been a huge stumbling block since 2004. Kuznetsova finally broke the jinx at this year's French Open before losing to Belgian Justine Henin-Hardenne.

Tarpishchev says there is no need to panic.

"Objectively, [Amelie] Mauresmo, [Kim] Clijsters and Henin -- the three players who head the world rankings -- are there for a reason," Tarpishchev said, who also heads Russia's Davis and Fed Cup teams.

"Right now they are more consistent than any of our girls but it's only a matter of time before we start winning again.

"Just look at the rankings. We have four players in the top 10 and probably another five or six who are capable of moving there," he said.

"So by sheer numbers we have a much better chance of winning any of the major tournaments than any other nation."

Tarpishchev identified Sharapova, Kuznetsova and Petrova as the most likely to break Russia's title drought.

"All of them have the game and the talent to be a dominant force in women's tennis for many years to come," he said.

"Whether or not they are able to achieve that depends solely on their hard work, dedication and mental toughness.

"But certainly, I wouldn't be surprised if any of them were to win a Grand Slam. They all have a chance. In any case, the future of Russian tennis looks as bright as ever."