Svetlana Kuznetsova, playing in her second home of Spain, where she has trained since she was a teenager, led the Russian Federation Cup team to the 2008 title this past weekend. For Kuznetsova, the two clutch wins in singles continued her winning record in Fed Cup play. For Russia, the title was additional evidence of their dominance in women's tennis since their current top three players didn't play in this tie, i.e. Maria Sharapova, Dinara Safina and Elena Dementieva. For Kuznetsova, who has decided to
move her training base and home back to Russia, the victory was a sweet ending to what has turned out to be a frustrating year in many respects. Kuznetsova has hovered around the number two or three ranking for most of the year, but has struggled in the Grand Slams and has not yet managed to attain the Number One ranking. Svetlana is clearly at a crossroads in her career at the age of twenty-three. Kuznetsova has already won one Grand Slam title at the 2004 U.S. Open
and has reached the final at both the French Open
and U.S. Open. Nonetheless, given her talent, as well as the turmoil at the top of the women's game, one can't help but feel that Kuznetsova is capable of winning another Grand Slam or two... but when? What does she need to change or improve? It seems that what Kuznetsova needs is a combination of confidence and calm in the big moments. Svetlana definitely has the game, but the challenge will be settling the mind so that she can realize her potential.