Likhovtseva Elena Aleksandrovna - famous Kazakhstani (and later Russian) tennis player. Seven-time Grand Slam competition finalist. Master of Sports of the Russian Federation. Winner of 30 WTA tournaments. This article will present a brief biography of the athlete.
Elena Likhovtseva was born in Almaty in 1975. The girl began to play tennis at the age of seven. Her first coach was Lilia Maximova. From an early age, Elena played quite extraordinary. In 1989, she won the junior championship of the USSR. A couple of years later, the girl took part in the Orange Ball international tournament and took second place there ( Natalia Zvereva became the first ).
1992 - the year when Elena Likhovtseva began performing at professional competitions. Tennis became for her the main business of life. Elena took the debut title (10 thousandth in Portugal) in the first season. The athlete also defeated a player from the top 200. A year later, the girl was selected for the tournament in Jakarta (WTA). A few months later, Likhovtseva went to San Diego and reached the quarterfinals, beating Natalia Medvedev (64 racket of the world) and Natalie Tozia (15th place in the rating). Thanks to this successful performance, Elena made it to the top 200 and selected for the Grand Slam competition. Until the end of the year, the athlete played several more tournaments well. The success of the 1993 season allowed her in just two years to go from a promising junior to a tennis player, one of the first hundred adult ratings.
In 1994–95, Elena Likhovtseva entrenched at the previously achieved level, taking part in both small and large WTA tournaments. In 1996, the athlete defeated Marie Pierce (4th racket of the world) in the fourth round of the Australian Open. A few months later, Likhovtseva beat Arancha Sanchez (2nd place in the ranking) at competitions in Berlin. A series of significant victories allowed Elena to enter the top 20 strongest athletes on the planet.
At the beginning of the next season, the Russian tennis player won the second WTA title at the Gold Coast tournament. But by the end of the year, the effectiveness of her game decreased and Likhovtseva dropped to the 38th line of the rating. In 1998–99, Elena gradually returned to her peak level. The athlete again got into the top 20 and selected for the Final tournament.
In 1996, Elena managed to reach a good level in the pair results (WTA). Together with Anna Kournikova, she perfectly played several tournaments. And then the athletes managed to get to the quarter finals at the Grand Slam in America. Soon Likhovtseva joined forces with Ai Sugiyama from Japan. This tandem became more successful, and soon the girls entered the top 20, and then the top 10 of the world ranking. Together they won six titles at the WTA.
Zero season began for Elena with a new career achievement. On the fifth attempt, the tennis player was able to win in the fourth round of the Grand Slam. Thus, Likhovtseva entered the eight of the strongest athletes in this competition. To do this, the girl had to beat Serena Williams herself (at that time the 4th racket of the world). Then Elena’s results at such meetings were stable. She went to the semi-finals and finals several times. In the future, at the Grand Slam tournaments, the tennis player has never shown a similar level of the game.
The next few years, Elena Likhovtseva, whose family always supported her in competitions, consistently entered the top 50. But until 2004, there were no major victories. And in the summer of this year, Elena managed to reach the finals of the first category tournament in Canada. After Likhovtseva, she won her 3rd and final WTA title in Forest Hills.
The next peak of the tennis player’s uniform came in May 2005. The girl took advantage of the confusion on Roland Garros and reached the semifinals. A series of stable results allowed her at that time to achieve the highest rating in her career, taking 16th place after US Open. Subsequently, the game of Elena stabilized at the usual level. In 2008, the tennis player began to have serious problems with her right shoulder, which led to a prolonged skipping of the competition, and then to the end of her career.
Well, the heyday of pair achievements Likhovtseva accounted for the first half of the 2000s. First, Elena played with Kara Black, and then with Vera Zvonareva and Svetlana Kuznetsova. With them she more than fifty times visited the finals of various competitions. For eight years of stable results, Likhovtseva twice reached the decisive match in the doubles Final tournaments (both times with Kara Black).
Having received Russian citizenship, Elena entered the national team and began to speak at the Federation Cup. The first matches of the athlete took place in 1996 at the tournament of the Euro-African zone. Over the next eight years, the Russian tennis player was absent from these competitions for only one season. Likhovtseva played 42 matches for the national team, winning 26 of them. The athlete also performed at the Olympics, but did not achieve much success there.
After completing her career, Elena Likhovtseva began coaching in the FTR. Now she is one of the mentors of the national team in the Federation Cup. Elena also coaches the Russian women's team (under 12 years old).
In November 2010, Likhovtseva was included in the Tennis Hall of Fame.
Since 2008, Elena has been involved in various channels as an expert in tennis programs. On a regular basis, it can be seen on the Eurosport TV channel (Russian version).
Elena Likhovtseva was married twice. Now the athlete’s husband is TV presenter and journalist Andrei Morozov. From him, Elena gave birth to two daughters: Anastasia (2012) and Alexandra (2014).