The occurrence of world altering and impacting events can help place the distance of time in perspective and encourage a reflection of where we were at, where we are now and where we are going.

The year 2001 arguably was a very memorable one in the sense that the world actually did not fall apart after the Y2K scare where all of the world’s computers were supposedly going to shut down and malfunction.

There were some fun things happening too.

The blockbuster film Gladiator  directed by Ridley Scott and starring Russell Crowe and Joaquin Phoenix premiered in LA (Best Picture 2001).

As her longevity would prove, there was a female gladiator in the tennis world who came upon the scene in 2001 that is still around today and her name is Svetlana Kuznetsova. article, WTA photo credit

In 2001, she first took part on a WTA tournament, the Madrid Open, and a year later won her first WTA title at the Nordea Nordic Light Open in Helsinki, Finland.

That truly is a great accomplishment when you view some of the prominent names who battled and entertained in 2001.

It’s a who’s who showcase.

Martina Hingis, Lindsay Davenport, Mary Pierce, Monica Seles, Conchita Martinez, Nathalie Tauziat, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, Anke Huber, Sandrine Testud and Jennifer Capriati to name a few.

Only two names are still around, still packing a powerful arsenal, and they are Venus and Serena Williams.

If you have never or rarely heard of Svetlana Kuznetsova, the fact that she can be named in the same company of the super stars Venus and Serena Williams while other stars are long retired say a ton about Svetlana’s physical and internal makeup.

Her great career deserves a closer look. article, photo by By Bruno Girin – originally posted to Flickr as Svetlana Kuznetsova wikimedia

Svetlana Kuznetsova is an upper echelon Russian professional tennis player.

Ms. Kuznetsova has appeared in four Grand Slam singles finals, winning two, and has also appeared in seven doubles finals, winning twice.

As of this August 1, 2017 writing she is currently the number 8 ranked player on the WTA rankings.

Born to a prominent athletic family, Svetlana moved at the age of seven to Spain to attend the Sanchez-Casal Academy.

It’s world renowned.

At they educate, “The Academy provides a safe, healthy environment within which young men and women have the opportunity to grow and develop as players, athletes, students, and individuals. Each and every person attending ASC is expected to work hard and be honest and courteous, while engaging in and enjoying every aspect of Academy life.”

Andy Murray, one of the world’s top male players, was once a student there as well.

Her first appearance in a Grand Slam was at the 2002 Australian Open and her first Grand Slam title came at the 2004 US Open, making her the third Russian woman to win a Grand Slam title, after Anastasia Myskina and Maria Sharapova.

Svetlana’s second Grand Slam title was the 2009 French Open, defeating compatriot Dinara Safina in the final in straight sets.

At the 2006 French Open and the 2007 US Open singles tournament she was the runner-up, both times to Belgian player Justine Henin. As a result, Svetlana obtained a career-high No. 2 WTA ranking, holding that position for 24 weeks in 2007 and 2008.

Her game can best be described as emotional and all court. article, South China Morning Post photo credit

Hmm, she plays her game like a super heroine.

It’s fitting then that she has her likeness on video games.

Svetlana appeared in video games Top Spin 3, Virtua Tennis 2009 and Virtua Tennis 4 as a playable character.

She loves watching characters. Her favorite movies are Love Actually and Save the Last Dance and she never leaves home without her iPod.

Young people. What will they think of next?

Here is what Svetlana thought of on the spur of the moment too.

As shared at on October 24, 2016, “Down a break against Agnieszka Radwanska in the final set as she battled exhaustion, tennis star Svetlana Kuznetsova sat down in her chair and took the extraordinary step of cutting off some of her hair. After chopping off a big chunk with a pair of scissors, it seemed as if a weight had been lifted. The Russian came back from a match point down to beat Radwanska 5-7 6-1 7-5 in a group match at the season-ending tournament for the eight best female tennis players in the world.”

Now that’s how you get to the top. Talent, creativity and a sense of humor.

Svetlana was born in Leningrad. article, By Alex (Florstein) Fedorov, wikimedia

In terms of the name, it can be a little confusing.

The New York Times as always are great educators. On June 13, 1991 the tried to break it down for us. “Do you wish to restore to our city its original name, St. Petersburg? That question, put to Leningrad’s voters on Wednesday.

The city, known in English as “St. Petersburg.” was changed to “Petrograd” in 1914 at the start of World War I because its original name sounded too German. In 1924, after Lenin’s death, the city was given its present name.”

Did you get all of that? At least sort of?

They continue, “Preliminary, unofficial returns indicated early today that 55 percent of the voters had cast ballots in favor of restoring the city’s original name.”

Okay, same city, different name. article, By Alex ‘Florstein’ Fedorov, CC BY-SA 4.0 wikimedia

To visit Leningrad you would need to visit the history books and what you will find is not pretty. The siege of Leningrad was very bloody and devastating.

So today, it’s St. Petersburg.

Saint Petersburg is Russia’s second-largest city after Moscow, with five million inhabitants in 2012, and an important Russian port on the Baltic Sea.

Situated on the Neva River, at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea, it was founded by Tsar Peter the Great on May 27,1703.

In 1914, the name was changed from Saint Petersburg to Petrograd, in 1924 to Leningrad, and in 1991 back to Saint Petersburg.

Saint Petersburg is one of the modern cities of Russia, as well as its cultural capital. article, By Alex ‘Florstein’ Fedorov, CC BY-SA 4.0 wikimedia

The Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments constitute a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Saint Petersburg is home to The Hermitage, one of the largest art museums in the world.

The great world travelers at Lonely Planet love to add the color to the colorful. “The sheer grandeur and history of Russia‘s imperial capital never fails to amaze, but this is also a city with a revolutionary spirit.

St Petersburg is an almost unrivalled treasure trove of art and culture. You can spend days in the Hermitage, seeing everything from Egyptian mummies to Picassos.

Whether you’re cruising along the elegant canals, crossing one of the 342 bridges in the city, or just watching them being raised in summer over the mighty Neva River at night to allow ships to pass through, you’re never far from water in St Petersburg.”

Svetlana is not far from the female tennis world’s history books. article, By Carine 06 photos wikimedia

She’s accomplished so much. Understandably she has her favorite memories. When asked she reminisced that her best tennis memories are winning the 2004 US Open final and reaching the 2009 Roland Garros final.

The year 2001 now seems so long ago.

A model in endurance, along the way, Svetlana has provided us with some wonderful memories as well.

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OPENING PHOTO CREDIT,28804,2072678_2072683_2072599,00.html