LONDON (Reuters) - Svetlana Kuznetsova is without her “emotional support animal” - a dog named Dulce - at Wimbledon so it’s just as well her progress to the quarter-finals has been so serene.
The 32-year-old had to leave her 23-kilo hound, an American Bully, back home and judging by the way she has performed she may be away from her faithful companion a little longer.
“I travel with him more to the United States because he’s my ‘emotional support animal’. He’s like a service dog,” Kuznetsova explained, saying she gets a letter from a psychologist stating that Dulce should travel with her for mental health reasons.
”They say why do I need the dog? And I explain that I‘m tennis player and I feel very lonely on the road and I‘m depressed many times. It’s all true, because it’s really hard mental thing. My dog lets me relax.
“Humans judge you a little if you win or lose. If you lose your team go a little bit sad. If you win, happy. My dog is always happy. Always the same. He’s next to me.”
Sadly not on this occasion although there might be a Skype call home to keep Dulce abreast of her latest win, a 6-2 6-4 defeat of Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska in round four.
”Not here. It’s also complicated,“ she said. ”I have to have somebody to sit with him, because he doesn’t stay by himself. He hates it, so he starts peeing everywhere.
”If I were Roger Federer, I would get a private jet everywhere and travel with my dog, but it cannot happen.
“But I really do miss him. I hope to bring him to States.”
Moscow-based Kuznetsova said her dog is a “genetically modified” breed - a cross between a Staffordshire Terrier and an American Pit Bull but designed to have “lower drive”.
By the sounds of it he may need her more than she needs him.
“He’s extremely kind. If I travel, I have to carry him because he’s afraid of everything,” she said.
“Looks really strange, but anyway, yeah. I look like his emotional support.”
Kuznetsova is not the only player struggling to cope without her four-legged companion.
Five-times champion Venus Williams has left Harold at home.
“I can’t even Skype him,” the American, who won through to play Jelena Ostapenko in the quarter-finals, said.
“It’s too upsetting for him. He hears me, but he doesn’t understand where I am.”
Editing by Ed Osmond