Several countries have dominated sports in complete fashion; Australia have dominated multiple sports - cricket, hockey and for a significant period, tennis as well.Great Britain dominated Formula One (the currently reigning triple-world champion is also English), as has Germany, with Brazil and Finland also excelling at the sport.China has been at the head of badminton for decades, ruling the roost across the men's and women's game.Tennis has seen a significant number of countries that have produced some of the sport's most stellar, outstanding talent.From the days of Australia's Roy Emerson and Rod Laver in the 60s to Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors and Ivan Lendl in the 70s and early 80s,theÂ bragging rights for top honours in the menâÂÂs game were alwaysÂ up for the taking.The mid 80s witnessed an iconic rivalry between Stefan Edberg and Boris Becker, followed by an All-American rivarly between Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi for dominance in the 90s.The turn of the millenium saw Roger Federer challeged at the top by his nemesis Nadal.The last decade or so hasÂ seen the emergence and supremacy of the âÂÂBig Four," with Novak Djokovic being the standout tennis player.But who were the powerhouses of the sport in the Open Era, which commenced in 1968? We explore 10:
Yevgeny Kafelnikov was Russia’s best player in the 90s post the disintegration of the mighty Soviet Union. Kafelnikov won two Grand Slams in his career. At his peak, Kafelnikov was World No’1 and was in the top 10 for most of his career., which he ended with 26 ATP Titles.
Marat Safin was a hugely talented player who won two Grand Slams and reached the No. 1 ranking before his temperament got the better of him and Roger Federer began to dominate the tennis circuit.
Nikolai Davydenko was another noteworthy player who won a couple of premier tournament on tour,besides represented his country with distinction in Davis Cup. In recent times, the Russians have been well represented by the likes of Mikhail Youzhny, Dimitry Tursonov and and Igor Andreev. It might be noted that Russian female players have done better than their male counterparts over the last two decades.
Russian female players have ominated the tour with their golden girl, multiple grand slam champion Maria Sharapova leading the pack. Meanwhile Svetlana Kuznetkova, Elena Dementieva, Nadia Petrova ,Vera Zvonareva, Anastasia Myskina, Dinara Safina (incidentally, also a former World No. 1 and the sister of Marat Safin), Maria Kirilenko and Anna Chakvetadze have all done exceedingly well on the tour.
Statistics for Russia -
Davis Cup Titles – (2) – 2002, 2006
Mens Singles Grand Slams won by Russian players- (4) - Yevgeny Kafelnikov (2) and Marat Safin (2)
Yevgeny Kafelnikov – Mens Singles – Gold Medal – (2000)