MAKING REMARKABLE STRIDES

What's most remarkable about Russian tennis is its success on both sides. Unlike Spain (No great women players) and Belgium (No great men competitors), Russian women are bettering the men in adding on the numbers. For starters, the top-10 has four Russians, which says something.

The trend is no longer a surprise, nor is there anything sinister about it.

"Obviously there is no secret and everyone has a different story to tell, but we are all very well-motivated and our parents were really involved in our tennis lives," Elena Dementieva told `The Scotsman,' on the Russian success story.

Nadia Petrova adds that the sport gives them the opportunities. "Why do we dominate? Well, it's partly down to the size of the country and how many talents there are. But it is also because many players start with nothing at all and tennis can give them opportunities," she said.

Tennis is arguably the only globally popular sport where the gap between the men and the women isn't too big, as far as viewership and opportunities go, which has given the girls confidence that they can succeed in a big way.

And like the men, team sports matter to them too. "There's no doubt about it," said Anastasia Myskina. "No matches have ever mattered to us more than these," she told Guardian about the Fed Cup.

Things don't look like changing, with tongue-twisters in the WTA list on the rise. From Anna Kournikova's role in glamourising women's tennis worldwide and bringing in the megabucks, to Maria Sharapova's irresistible looks-and-success combination, the scene is only improving.

Petrova adds, "there is a generation that grew up and competed together and pushed each other on. We all grew up differently and have our own style, but physically we are all strongly built, with a winning spirit and character." Eventually, those are all that matter.