Courtesy of a singles main draw wildcard, and a wide-open doubles field, Vera Zvonareva has returned to us this week in Shenzhen. The former World No. 2 hadn’t played a competitive tennis match since a 61 60 loss to Serena Williams in the third round of the London Olympic Games on August 1, 2012.
Her true return to competition came on Sunday, as she and Olga Govortsova lost in the first round in the doubles event to Johanna Konta and Patricia Mayr-Achleitner, 61 26 10-8.
Her last singles match, however, was exactly 518 days ago.
Here is an [abridged] list of things that have happened since Vera Zvonareva last played a singles match.
- Barack Obama was elected to a second term as President of the United States (Nov. 6, 2012)
- The third official NHL lockout started (Sept. 15, 2012) and ended. (Jan. 6, 2013)
- Pope Benedict XVI became the first pope in the history of forever to resign (announced: Feb. 11, 2013 & took effect: Feb. 28, 2013) and Pope Francis was elected. (March 13, 2013)
- THE CRONUT WAS INVENTED. Chef Dominique Ansel for Dominique Ansel Bakery copyrighted the name in May 2013.
- St. James’ Palace announced that the Duchess of Cambridge was pregnant (Dec. 3, 2012), mass world hysteria ensued, and Prince George of Cambridge was born. (July 22, 2013)
- 30 Rock ended after seven seasons (January 31, 2013), COPS got cancelled by Fox after 25 years but moved to cable (May 2013), and people freaked out when Dexter (Sept. 22, 2013) and Breaking Bad (Sept. 29, 2013) ended simultaneously.
- Andy Murray won Wimbledon, becoming the first British man to win Wimbledon in 77 years. In case you forgot. (July 7, 2013)
- “What Does the Fox Say?” was uploaded to YouTube (Sept. 3, 2013) and went viral.
- The U.S. government entered the third longest shutdown in its history after Congress failed to agree on legislation for the fiscal year 2014, (Oct. 1st-16th, 2013)
- Family Guy killed off family pet and beloved character Brian Griffin (Nov. 24, 2013)….and brought him back two episodes later. (Dec. 15, 2013)
Zvonareva used a protected ranking to enter the event, and will also be using her SR for the Australian Open. A favorite target of the tennis gods, the unranked Russian might’ve expected some compassion from her overlords after an injury-riddled 18 months.
Instead, she got this.
No word on how Zvonareva reacted to her draw, but sources say it was something like this.
Zvonareva and Li will take the court in Shenzhen later today not before 1 p.m. local time.