Elena Dementieva was born on 15th October 1981 in Moscow, Russia. Her parents, who were both keen tennis players, enrolled Elena in the Spartak Club where she spent three years being coached by Marat Safin's mother. She then moved to the Central Red Army Club who had turned her down three years earlier, and improved her ability so much that she was able to turn professional in 1998.
Her rise in the rankings was rapid. She went from number 182 in the world in 1998 to number 62 in 1999, and then to number 12 the following year! It was also in 2000 where she represented her country at the Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia where she won the silver medal. That year, aged only 19, Dementieva was named the Most Improved Player at the Sanex WTA awards, defeated Lindsay Davenport at the Chase Championships and reached the semi-finals at the US Open.
In 2001 Elena was plagued with injury which saw her slip in the rankings, but she still managed to regain her fighting spirit which she learnt at such a young age to reach the fourth round at both the French Open and Wimbledon. But she was soon to reclaim her world ranking of number 8 when she won two WTA titles, beating Lindsay Davenport in Florida and Chanda Rubin in Bali.
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