What is Tokyo champion Veronika Kudermetova’s connection to Russian army club CSKA?

Veronika Kudermetova Tokyo Open

The exact timeframe of the ending of the association between Tokyo Open champion Veronika Kudermetova and Moscow-based Russian Army sports club CSKA is disputed.

What we know for sure is that Kudermetova lived close to the club and trained there as a junior.

Some reports have claimed that Kudermetova was still a member of the club as recently as 2022.

Kudermetova said earlier this season that she does not currently have a contract or membership with the club and has no formal association with them.

“When I was young, I was practising there,” said in Madrid after queries sparked by a request to bar tennis players and other athletes associated with CSKA from professional sport.

“It was my tennis club – when I was in Moscow I practised there, but for the moment I am not practising there.

“I don’t have a contract with them, I don’t have a salary from them – for the moment we are separate.”

On Sunday Kudermetova defeated American Jessica Pegula to win the Toray Pan Pacific Open title in Tokyo.

“Jessica is a great player, she’s a great fighter, and I prepared myself for the fight,” Kudermetova said after her win. “When it was 5-5 in the first set, I just said to myself, ‘Veronika, you just need to fight, you just need to do everything that you can,’ and I did.”

The Tokyo title is Kudermetova’s second with her previous win also coming in a WTA 500 event in Charleston in 2021.

Kudermetova had only won three matches in her previous six competitions coming into Tokyo. However, a quarterfinal triumph over World No 2 Iga Swiatek – her first victory over Swiatek in five tries and a win that matched her career-best victory by opponent ranking – demonstrated that Kudermetova was poised for a turnaround this week.

“I’m really happy because before, it was not an easy time for me, it was really tough moments,” Kudermetova said. “Now I’m really happy and I have a lot of motivation for the next weeks.”

During her 3-0 start to the final, Kudermetova put together a 10-point streak, thanks to her potent groundstrokes. Pegula fought back on service, but at 6-5, the American made back-to-back double faults, handing Kudermetova the first set.

Kudermetova’s crunching returns helped her speed through the second set, in which she converted both of her break points. Kudermetova thumped 17 winners against Pegula’s seven across the contest.

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