Here is some interesting info about Elena from a 2000 russian article.....
Olympic Silver medallist Yelena Dementieva is one of Russia's top young tennis stars expected as a participant in the Kremlin Cup tournament. A beautiful and tall 19-year old Muscovite, she has been a professional for two years. Her great performance in Sidney brought her the Silver Medal for the women's singles after yielding only to America's Venus Williams.
Dementieva first touched a tennis racket at 7 when she played with her mother and at school. Since then she has come a long way, especially considering that Russia, only until recently, ranked tennis as a major sport. Her steady climb to the top began in 1996 and then, three years later, while still ranking 108th, she defeated the world's 35th Sarah Pitkowski and reached her first semifinal on the WTA Tour at Palermo, Italy. It was a victory that got her into the Top 100. In the same year she also qualified for the Australian Open and then won her first round before yielding to the then No. 2 Martina Hingis.
Demetieva entered her first Tier I semifinal this year at Indian Wells 2000. She had wins over Anke Huber, Nathalie Dechy and Chanda Rubin. Her world ranking broke into the world's top 50 for the first time at No. 39. Since then it has been steadily moving upwards and she is now ranked No. 17.
In this year's Australian Open, she reached the third round before falling in three sets to ninth seed Julie Halard-Decugis.
Interestingly enough, in 1999, Demetieva scored Russia's only point in the Federal Cup final against the United States to defeat the then world's No. 3, Venus Williams, who then took away the Gold Medal from Dementieva in Sidney this year.
Dementieva, who graduated from a language high school after specializing in French studies in 1998 (the year she turned professional), comes from a tennis-loving family. Her mom, who is a teacher, now always travels with her, partly because Dementieva is superstitious that her mom has to wish her luck before every match. Apart from playing tennis, Dementieva likes playing chess and skiing. She most admires Martina Hingis, because she thinks that Hingis is "smart" – her tennis is like a game of chess.
When I read things like this, it makes me wonder where Elena might be in the rankings right now, if she hadn't had that very bad foot injury in 2001. Elena was playing better than Kim & Justine and I think she was ranked higher than they were. Too bad Elena has lost 2 years of her tennis and is only now recapturing that 1999-2000 spirit. I hope she wins this tournament and really establishes herself as the true top 10 player that she was even back then. I am looking for Elena to get to number 7 or even number 6 by the years end.