INDIAN WELLS: Having finally broken her French Open jinx last year, Svetlana Kuznetsova is banking on a similar breakthrough at the Indian Wells WTA tournament where she has twice finished runner-up.
Russian Kuznetsova is the number one seed for the high-profile event in the California desert and she has targeted a 13th WTA Tour title to bury memories of a stuttering start to this season.
“I prepared pretty well for this year and I know I am playing well but I need some matches to get myself going,” Kuznetsova told reporters at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on Wednesday.
“So far, this year has not been very nice. I think I overdid my weight training and it was so hard for me to move at the start of this season.”
The Russian world number three has advanced no further than the fourth round in her three WTA appearances this year and she blamed her fitness coach for an excessive lifting programme during the off-season.
“My (fitness) coach was wrong so I have switched coaches again,” Kuznetsova said. “I didn”t think I was supposed to do all that and for me to bring up my speed this season was hard.
“So I am working a lot on speed now. For me, without movement, it”s pretty hard to play.”
Kuznetsova is making her seventh appearance this week at Indian Wells where she was runner-up in 2007 and 2008.
Asked if she felt the venue now owed her a trophy, she replied: “I don”t know. I just like playing here. When it”s not windy, like it was yesterday morning, it”s perfect here.
“I felt like this for a long time at the French Open,” added the Russian, who was runner-up at Roland Garros in 2006 and reached the last eight in 2007 and 2008 before winning last year”s title by beating compatriot Dinara Safina in the final.
“So maybe one day I can also win the trophy here at Indian Wells. That would certainly be nice.”
Kuznetsova said clinching the second grand slam crown of her career last year at Roland Garros had given her a much-needed morale boost.
“It brings you more confidence and security,” the 24-year-old added. “Now I just know I have greater possibilities once again.”
The Russian faces a tricky path to the final at Indian Wells, having been drawn to take on Belgian former world number one Kim Clijsters in the fourth round and sixth-seeded Serb Jelena Jankovic in the last eight.
“I haven”t been thinking about it,” Kuznetsova said of her top seeding.
“I just know I need to play some matches and I want to do well.”