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Vera Zvonareva's Moscow Blog

Read along with one of Russia's top players as Vera Zvonareva blogs from her home tournament in Moscow.

Published October 22, 2009 12:00

MOSCOW, Russia - One of Russia's best players brings us all along with her to her home tournament this week, as Vera Zvonareva writes the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Blog straight from the Kremlin Cup in Moscow.

Vera Zvonareva

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Hello again everyone,

First of all, I have to give all the credit to Tsvetana today. She was moving well and hitting some great shots, and she made it really difficult for me. So, congratulations to her for playing a great match and reaching the quarterfinals.

It was a tough day today. I had problems with my knees in the match. They've been troubling me the last few months. Hopefully it's nothing major. I feel pain in them, but I think all of these problems - my foot, my knees - are because of the ankle injury from earlier in the season. I'm compensating, and all the practice and playing is making it worse. I'll do some tests, hopefully it'll be okay.

Going on the court I knew I was in pain, but I made the commitment to play, and when I do that I try my best to show my best. I always try to finish the match. If I knew I couldn't finish it, I wouldn't have gone on. I would only have stopped if I couldn't walk. So I went on and gave it my all, but it wasn't enough.

Mentally it's very difficult to play through pain. You get tired of fighting with the injuries, with yourself, with the opponent...

I'll be going to Doha as an alternate but it will be hard to practice too much. If I end up playing a match I will try my best, but once this is all done, my season is finished and my off-season begins. I want to put everything behind me. I've been told I need to take six weeks off to let this heal, once and for all.

As a professional tennis player, this is my job, and it's tough to sit at home and not play tournaments. That was my mistake earlier in the season, that maybe I came back too soon from my ankle injury. But maybe it's tougher to sit at home and watch it all on TV. Anyway, whatever it is, I'm happy where I am at the end of the season. Despite everything, I still had a shot at the No.8 spot at the Sony Ericsson Championships. I'm proud of how I fought. I had such a great first part of the season - when I got injured in Charleston it changed everything. My desire to start playing again overcame rational thinking! If I thought rationally I should have taken a longer break. I couldn't resist myself. As soon as I feel just a little bit better I always start playing again. But right now I have no regrets. I'll take my six weeks off and start working hard for 2010. I want to put myself in a situation where I'm pain free and enjoying myself on the court, fighting hard...

Thank you so much for reading and for all of your questions and support all week! I will do it again next year for sure.

Until next time,

Vera

Tennis Warehouse

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Well I didn't get to bed until about 2am last night and I was hoping to sleep in, but that didn't really happen! I guess I'm just used to waking up early and I got up around 8/830am today... but it was okay, I had a nice breakfast at the hotel, read a few newspapers again... actually I took some pictures from breakfast, I ate at the restaurant on the top floor of the hotel and there's a great view of the Kremlin. I've put the picture below. It's a bit cold outside, like 4 or 5 Celsius, but it was sunny today even though the forecast was rain. It's chilly but nice :)

When I got on site I did some exercises and warmed up, then had a very good practice session with Vera Dushevina. I did a few more things in the gym, popped into the training room for some treatment then grabbed some dinner. The food is pretty good at the Kremlin Cup - they have a buffet for us with anything we would want. You can't see Center Court from there but I was watching Davydenko and Safin's match on TV. The crowd was cheering for Marat mostly, because it's his last Kremlin Cup. He's planning to retire at the end of the season and he has never won here, so I think they really want to support him. Anyway, Davydenko won the first set but Safin won in three!

Marat is a great champion and is very popular in Russia. I'd even say he's the most popular tennis player in Russia, so a lot of people are coming to watch him this week. He wants to finish on a good note - and it would definitely be a good finish to win here! When the match was over I left. The schedule for tomorrow isn't out yet but I'm playing my second round. Another tough one!

So I finally finished the movie last night... there were only about 20 minutes left. I've seen better comedies before, but it was still funny. I enjoyed it.

Well, not much else to say about today... I'm just going to take it easy and hope to do my best tomorrow. I'll talk to you all again afterwards!

Goodnight,

Vera

What's your favorite movie? Jessica, Venezuela
My favorite one is an old, old Russian movie, in English it would be "Everything's Gonna Be All Right". Other than that I love the Bourne movies with Matt Damon, I love all of his movies. I like Mr. and Mrs. Smith, too. The Bodyguard... I love the movie. The soundtrack is famous too and I think the songs match well with the movie, but I don't think I'd listen to them on their own :)

Are you still doing school on the side? Mark, USA
I am. I'm a little bit behind with my school though. I had to put it on the side a bit because over the last little while I've had so much treatment, so it was tough to combine my schedules. But I'm trying my best and doing exams whenever I can, I have a few to catch up on. Hopefully I can do that in the off-season!

Who was your favorite player growing up? Bobby
Yevgeny Kafelnikov. I loved watching him play. He's one of the most famous tennis players ever in Russia. He was amazing. He even gave me his autograph, when I was a ballgirl at this tournament, I had a Russian flag with me and asked him for his autograph, and he signed it. I think he was my idol!

Moscow

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Well today was the first day I had a chance to sleep in! Because this is a men's and women's combined tournament the courts are pretty booked up, and for the first few days I was practicing very early in the morning, usually as early as 8am. But today I was able to sleep until 10 or so. It was nice!

My match wasn't scheduled until night time, so I took it pretty easy during the day. I read a few magazines, the newspaper... nothing special in the morning. I was supposed to practice at 4:15pm but the first match took so long I knew I wouldn't play my match at the scheduled time, so I switched the practice court to 6pm. Jelena's match went to three sets as well. But I'm experienced enough to know you just have to be patient and relax, and sometimes you have to stay up a little later than you would like :)

I won my match against Olaru, 62 62, but the score doesn't really mean the match was easy. Ioana is a tough opponent, a young player with a good future ahead of her, and I think my experience helped me win that one. I'm happy to win my first match. I'm thankful to all the spectators who stayed up so late!

I took a very quick shower and just got back from the car ride back to the hotel. It's after midnight! My physio is here and will probably give me 30-40 minutes of treatment for my foot, then I'll go to bed. It's never easy to fall asleep right away when you play so late, but I'll put a movie in and hopefully it'll happen...

Actually I started that comedy movie last night but fell asleep halfway through it! Maybe tonight I'll start where I left off and it'll help me go to sleep again :) Then I can finish it tomorrow. It's actually pretty good. The quality isn't so great, it's not a Hollywood movie, it's Russian - but it's funny. I like the light ones sometimes.

I'm practicing later in the afternoon tomorrow so hopefully I can sleep in again and follow the normal routines! Now time for some questions...

Vera

What are your favorite things to do in Moscow? Mathieu, France
I just like walking outside, roaming around the city... It's nice to be in Moscow where everyone speaks Russian. I love some of the restaurants where you can have food you'll never see anywhere else. It's just a beautiful city.

Jennifer Capriati's last match came against you... did you enjoy playing her and do you miss her? Richard, UK
She was a great player, a big plus for women's tennis. It's unfortunate when players have to finish their careers because of injury, and I hope that doesn't happen to her. It was always exciting to watch her play and to play against her. I'm not sure if she'll come back... I just don't know.

Vera Zvonareva

Monday, October 19, 2009

Hi guys! I'm blogging from my hometown of Moscow this week and am looking forward to keeping in touch with you all...

I came here from Beijing and have been back for a week already. Switching to indoor can be hard so I've been practicing at the site. I like this tournament because it's very rare Russians get a chance to play in front of their home crowd! I'm really excited about it. I love the support - I don't feel it's any extra pressure. Fortunately for us, we have a lot of Russian players here; but for the crowd, sometimes it's hard for them to pick who to cheer for! My first match is against a Romanian player, Olaru, so hopefully they'll be on my side :)

A lot of people have been asking me about qualifying for the Sony Ericsson Championships - Doha 2009. In case you haven't read, there are three of us still with a chance to get there, and we're all in Moscow - myself, Jelena and Agnieszka. You know, way back in April, I injured myself in Charleston and thought my season might be over. I didn't even think I'd be able to finish the season. I've just been so happy to be able to play since then, that's all I've been thinking about. To still be in a position to make it to Doha is just great.

I live in Moscow, but there's a lot of traffic and it's hard for me to stay at home for this tournament, so I've been at the tournament hotel since a few days ago. It feels just like any other tournament now - you have your routine, checking in, taking the official car to the site, going back to the hotel... it definitely helps me focus on tennis, too. The hotel is different this year though. We're right next to the Red Square and from the cafe on the 12th floor there's a really nice view of the Kremlin. It's lit up at night, which is beautiful. Yesterday we had the player party at one of the famous cafes in Moscow, BlackBerry Cafe. It was great!

Today I had practice at 1pm then did the All-Access Hour. I had a lot of press attention and one-on-one interviews too, some general media... it went very well. I also took a few photos and signed a fridge at the Whirlpool booth - then I went to the lounge, grabbed something to eat and did some physio for my foot. Now I'm back in my room... so there was basically a summary of my day :)

I think I'll watch a movie tonight. For the past three months I've been travelling around with five or six DVDs and I didn't watch any of them... until last night. I finished watching Surrogates, with Bruce Willis. It reminded me of iRobot. In the movie no human has to do anything but lay on their bed, and with their brain they can control a robot who lives their life. I enjoyed it. I think my next one will be a comedy. I'm not usually a fan of comedies but there's one I have, a Russian one. In English the title is translated to something like 'Bride At Any Price'. That's the best way to translate it, I believe! It's about this guy who wants to get married, no matter what it costs him. I'll tell you about it tomorrow!

I have my first match tomorrow in the night session. I was in the finals here last year so maybe that's why I was scheduled at night. Hopefully we'll have a good crowd. First rounds are always tough. Olaru played well last week and she's an up-and-coming, talented player, so it will be an interesting fight for me. I'm going to go out there and try my best, enjoy the moment playing at home, and we'll see where it goes. It's a great opportunity for me.

Until tomorrow!

Vera

Vera Zvonareva

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