Sergeyevna Kournikova (Russian: Ánna Sergéyevna
Kúrnikova; born June 7, 1981) is a former Russian professional
tennis player. She was one of the best known tennis players, even
among those who do not follow the game.
Presently, she resides in Miami, Florida. An only child, Anna was
born in Moscow, Russia to Alla and Sergei Kournikov; her family
later emigrated to the United States.
Anna's major-league tennis career has been curtailed for the past
several years by serious back & spinal problems, and this might
be the end of it. Anna has had some success at the singles game,
but her specialty has been doubles, where she has become the world's
#1 doubles player at times, and she has won Grand Slam titles in
Australia in 1999 and 2002, with Martina Hingis as her partner.
Anna Kournikova's playing style has been said to fit the profile
for a doubles player, which is complemented by her being taller
than the average tennis player. On occasion, she has been compared
to such players as Pam Shriver and Peter Fleming, with numerous
doubles championships to their credit, playing with shorter partners,
such as Martina Navratilova and John McEnroe. With their skill and
good looks, Anna and Martina called themselves jestingly The Spice
Girls of Tennis.
Between ages 13 and 14, Anna Kournikova made headlines in international
junior tennis, winning several tournaments including the 1995 Italian
Open. She was 14 years old when she ended 1995 as Junior European
Champion Under 18 and ITF Junior World Champion Under 18.
Anna Kournikova debuted in professional tennis at age 14 in the
Fed Cup for Russia, the youngest player ever to participate and
win. At age 15, she reached the fourth round of the 1996 U.S. Open,
only to be stopped by then-top ranked player, Steffi Graf.
Anna Kournikova was a member of the Russian delegation to the 1996
Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia. In 1997, as a 16-year-old, she
reached the semi-finals of Wimbledon, where she lost to the eventual
champion, Martina Hingis by a score of 6-3, 6-2. 1998 was her breakthrough
year, when she broke into the WTA's top 20 rankings for the first
time and scored impressive victories over Martina Hingis, Lindsay
Davenport, and Steffi Graf. Anna Kournikova's two Grand Slam doubles
titles came in 1999 and 2002, both at the Australian Open in the
Women's Doubles event with partner Martina Hingis, with whom she
played frequently starting in 1999.
Anna Kournikova proved a successful doubles player on the professional
circuit, winning 16 tournament doubles titles, including two Australian
Opens and being a finalist in mixed doubles at the U.S. Open and
at Wimbledon, and reaching #1 ranking in doubles in the Women's
Tennis Association tour rankings. Her pro career doubles record
was 200-71. However, her singles career plateaued after 1999. For
the most part, she managed to retain her ranking between #10 and
#15 (her career high singles ranking was #8), but her expected finals
breakthrough failed to occur; she only reached four finals out of
130 singles tournaments, never in a Grand Slam event, and never
won one. As a player, Anna Kournikova was noted for her footspeed
and aggressive baseline play; however, her flat, high-risk groundstrokes
tended to produce high numbers of errors and her serve was sometimes
unreliable in singles. Her singles record is 209-129.
Her final playing years were marred by a string of injuries, especially
back injuries, which caused her ranking to erode gradually. Anna
Kournikova has not played on the WTA tour since 2003, but still
plays exhibition matches for charitable causes.
In late 2004, she participated in three events organized by Elton
John and by fellow tennis players Serena Williams and Andy Roddick.
In January 2005, she played in a doubles charity event for the Indian
Ocean tsunami with John McEnroe, Roddick, and Chris Evert.
Anna was also a member of the Newport Beachbreakers in the World
Team Tennis (WTT) competition in July and November 2005, playing
doubles only. In November 2005 she teamed up with Martina Hingis
playing against Lisa Raymond and Samantha Stosur in the WTT finals
In a feature for Elle magazine's July 2005 issue, Anna Kournikova
stated that if she were 100% fit, she would like to come back and
Most of Anna's fame has come from the publicity surrounding her
personal life as well as numerous modeling shoots. During her debut
at the 1996 U.S. Open 1996 at the age of 15, Anna Kournikova's physical
beauty was noticed by the world and soon pictures of her appeared
in numerous magazines all over the planet. Anna has fine facial
features and an attractive body, topped off by long blonde hair,
sometimes braided into a meter-long queue (pony tail).
Anna Kournikova's marital status has been an issue on several occasions.
There were conflicting rumors about whether or not she was engaged
to hockey player Pavel Bure. There were reports that she married
NHL hockey star Sergei Fedorov in 2001. Anna Kournikova's representatives
have denied this but Federov stated in 2003 that the couple had
married and since divorced. Anna Kournikova currently has a relationship
with pop star Enrique Iglesias (in whose video, Escape, she appeared)
and rumors that the couple had secretly married appeared in 2003
and again in 2005. Anna Kournikova herself has consistently refused
to directly confirm or deny rumors about the status of her personal
In 2000, Anna became the new face for Berlei's shock absorber sports
bras range, and appeared in the highly successful "only the
ball should bounce" bill board campaign. Photographs of her
scantily-clad form have appeared in various men's magazines, including
more than one much-publicized Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issues
(2004 - 2005), where she posed in bikinis and swimsuits, and in
other popular men's publications such as FHM and Maxim. So far,
however, she has not posed topless or nude for any publications.
Anna Kournikova was named one of People's 50 Most Beautiful People
in 1998, 2000, 2002, and 2003. She has also been voted "hottest
female athlete" and "hottest couple" (with Iglesias)
on ESPN.com and 2003's "sexiest woman in the world" by
worldwide FHM readers.
By contrast, ESPN -- citing the degree of hype as compared to actual
accomplishments as a singles player -- ranked Anna 18th in its "25
Biggest Sports Flops of the Past 25 Years".
Anna Kournikova had a small role (as a motel manager) in the 2000
film Me, Myself and Irene, starring Jim Carrey.
She had a delusional stalker named William Lepeska who swam naked
across Biscayne Bay in search of her Miami Beach home after attempting
to contact Anna Kournikova via a number of letters and e-mails.
When apprehended by the police, Lepeska resisted arrest violently.
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