Anna Kournikova

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Anna Kournikova
Anna Kournikova-Bagram Airfield 2009.jpg
Kournikova at Bagram Air Base during a United Service Organization tour, 2009
Native nameАнна Ку́рникова
Country (sports)Russia
Residence Miami Beach, Florida
Born (1981-06-07) 7 June 1981 (age 37)
Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Height1.73 m (5 ft 8 in)
Turned proOctober 1995
RetiredMay 2007
PlaysRight-handed (two-handed backhand)
Prize moneyUS$ 3,584,662
Singles
Career record209–129
Career titles0 WTA, 2 ITF [1]
Highest rankingNo. 8 (20 November 2000)
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian Open QF (2001)
French Open 4R (1998, 1999)
Wimbledon SF (1997)
US Open 4R (1996, 1998)
Other tournaments
Tour Finals SF (2000)
Olympic Games 1R (1996)
Doubles
Career record200–71
Career titles16 WTA [1]
Highest ranking No. 1 (22 November 1999)
Grand Slam Doubles results
Australian Open W (1999, 2002)
French Open F (1999)
Wimbledon SF (2000, 2002)
US Open QF (1996, 2002)
Other doubles tournaments
Tour Finals W (1999, 2000)
Mixed doubles
Career record24–14
Grand Slam Mixed Doubles results
Australian Open SF (1997, 2000)
French Open QF (1997)
Wimbledon F (1999)
US Open F (2000)

Anna Sergeyevna Kournikova (Russian :А́нна Серге́евна Ку́рникова,IPA:  [ˈannə sʲɪrˈɡʲejɪvnə ˈkurnʲɪkəvə] ( Loudspeaker.svg listen ); born 7 June 1981) is a Russian former professional tennis player. Her appearance and celebrity status made her one of the best known tennis stars worldwide. At the peak of her fame, fans looking for images of Kournikova made her name one of the most common search strings on Google Search. [2] [3] [4]

Russian language East Slavic language

Russian is an East Slavic language, which is official in the Russian Federation, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, as well as being widely used throughout Eastern Europe, the Baltic states, the Caucasus and Central Asia. It was the de facto language of the Soviet Union until its dissolution on 25 December 1991. Although, nowadays, nearly three decades after the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russian is used in official capacity or in public life in all the post-Soviet nation-states, as well as in Israel and Mongolia, the rise of state-specific varieties of this language tends to be strongly denied in Russia, in line with the Russian World ideology.

Tennis ball sport with racket and net

Tennis is a racket sport that can be played individually against a single opponent (singles) or between two teams of two players each (doubles). Each player uses a tennis racket that is strung with cord to strike a hollow rubber ball covered with felt over or around a net and into the opponent's court. The object of the game is to maneuver the ball in such a way that the opponent is not able to play a valid return. The player who is unable to return the ball will not gain a point, while the opposite player will.

Google Search web search engine developed by Google

Google Search, also referred to as Google Web Search or simply Google, is a web search engine developed by Google LLC. It is the most used search engine on the World Wide Web across all platforms, with 92.74% market share as of October 2018, handling more than 3.5 billion searches each day.

Contents

Despite never winning a singles title, she reached No. 8 in the world in 2000. She achieved greater success playing doubles, where she was at times the world No. 1 player. With Martina Hingis as her partner, she won Grand Slam titles in Australia in 1999 and 2002, and the WTA Championships in 1999 and 2000. They referred to themselves as the "Spice Girls of Tennis". [5] [6]

Martina Hingis Swiss tennis player

Martina Hingis is a Swiss former professional tennis player. She spent a total of 209 weeks as the singles world No. 1 and 90 weeks as doubles world No. 1, holding both No. 1 rankings simultaneously for 29 weeks. She won five Grand Slam singles titles, thirteen Grand Slam women's doubles titles, winning a calendar-year doubles Grand Slam in 1998, and seven Grand Slam mixed doubles titles; for a combined total of twenty-five major titles. In addition, she won the season-ending WTA Finals two times in singles and three times in doubles, and an Olympic silver medal.

Grand Slam (tennis) the four most important tennis tournaments

The Grand Slam tournaments, also called majors, are the four most important annual tennis events. They offer the most ranking points, prize money, public and media attention, the greatest strength and size of field, and greater number of "best of" sets for men. The Grand Slam itinerary consists of the Australian Open in mid January, the French Open around late May through early June, Wimbledon in June-July, and the US Open in August-September. Each tournament is played over a period of a fortnight. The Australian and United States tournaments are played on hard courts, the French on clay, and Wimbledon on grass. Wimbledon is the oldest, founded in 1877, followed by the US in 1881, the French in 1891, and the Australian in 1905. However, of these four, only Wimbledon was a major before 1924–25, when all four became designated Grand Slam tournaments. Skipping majors—especially the Australian Open because of the remoteness, the inconvenient dates and the low prize money—was not unusual before 1982.

Australian Open Australian Open Tennis Championships

The Australian Open is a tennis tournament held annually over the last fortnight of January in Melbourne, Australia. The tournament is the first of the four Grand Slam tennis events held each year, preceding the French Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open. It features men's and women's singles; men's, women's, and mixed doubles; junior's championships; and wheelchair, legends, and exhibition events. Prior to 1988 it was played on grass courts, but since then two types of hardcourt surfaces have been used at Melbourne Park – green coloured Rebound Ace up to 2007 and, afterwards, blue Plexicushion.

Kournikova retired at the age of 21 due to serious back and spinal problems, including a herniated disk. [7] She lives in Miami Beach, Florida, and plays in occasional exhibitions and in doubles for the St. Louis Aces of World Team Tennis. [1] She was a new trainer for season 12 of the television show The Biggest Loser , replacing Jillian Michaels, but did not return for season 13. In addition to her tennis and television work, Kournikova serves as a Global Ambassador for Population Services International's "Five & Alive" program, which addresses health crises facing children under the age of five and their families. [8]

Spinal disc herniation disease

Spinal disc herniation is an injury to the cushioning and connective tissue between vertebrae, usually caused by excessive strain or trauma to the spine. It may result in back pain, pain or sensation in different parts of the body, and physical disability. The most conclusive diagnostic tool for disc herniation is MRI, and treatment may range from painkillers to surgery. Protection from disc herniation is best provided by core strength and an awareness of body mechanics including posture.

Miami Beach, Florida City in Florida, United States

Miami Beach is a coastal resort city in Miami-Dade County, Florida, United States. It was incorporated on March 26, 1915. The municipality is located on natural and man-made barrier islands between the Atlantic Ocean and Biscayne Bay, the latter of which separates the Beach from Miami. The neighborhood of South Beach, comprising the southernmost 2.5 square miles (6.5 km2) of Miami Beach, along with downtown Miami and the Port of Miami, collectively form the commercial center of South Florida. Miami Beach's estimated population is 92,307 according to the most recent United States census estimates. Miami Beach is the 26th largest city in Florida based on official 2017 estimates from the US Census Bureau. It has been one of America's pre-eminent beach resorts since the early 20th century.

St. Louis Aces team tennis franchise

The St. Louis Aces were a professional tennis team in the city of St. Louis, Missouri. They entered the World TeamTennis League in 1994, and won their only WTT Championship title two years later. The Aces played their home matches at the Dwight Davis Tennis Center in Forest Park. The Aces played eighteen seasons in WTT before the franchise folded after the 2011 season.

Early life

Anna Kournikovas father, Sergei Kournikov (born 1961), [9] a former Greco-Roman wrestling champion, eventually earned a PhD and was a professor at the University of Physical Culture and Sport in Moscow. As of 2001, he was still a part-time martial arts instructor there. Her mother Alla (born 1963) had been a 400-metre runner. [10] Her younger brother, Allan, is a youth golf world champion who was featured in the 2013 documentary film The Short Game . [11]

Greco-Roman wrestling

Greco-Roman (US) or Graeco-Roman (UK) wrestling is a style of wrestling that is practiced worldwide. It was contested at the first modern Olympic Games in 1896 and has been included in every edition of the summer Olympics held since 1908.This style of wrestling forbids holds below the waist; this is the major difference from freestyle wrestling, the other form of wrestling at the Olympics. This restriction results in an emphasis on throws because a wrestler cannot use trips to take an opponent to the ground, or avoid throws by hooking or grabbing the opponent's leg.

400 metres sprint running event

The 400 metres, or 400 metre dash, is a sprinting event in track and field competitions. It has been featured in the athletics programme at the Summer Olympics since 1896 for men and since 1964 for women. On a standard outdoor running track, it is one lap around the track. Runners start in staggered positions and race in separate lanes for the entire course. In many countries, athletes previously competed in the 440 yard dash (402.336 m)—which is a quarter of a mile and was referred to as the 'quarter-mile'—instead of the 400 m (437.445 yards), though this distance is now obsolete.

Allan Kournikova is a youth golfer who is the half-brother of Anna Kournikova and son of Alla Kournikova. He has won the 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 U. S. Kids Golf European Championships and 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2015 U.S. Kids Golf World Championships. He was also featured in the 2013 documentary film The Short Game.

Sergei Kournikov has said, "We were young and we liked the clean, physical life, so Anna was in a good environment for sport from the beginning". [10]

Kournikova received her first tennis racquet as a New Year gift in 1986 at age five. Describing her early regimen, she said, "I played two times a week from age six. It was a children's program. And it was just for fun; my parents didn't know I was going to play professionally, they just wanted me to do something because I had lots of energy. It was only when I started playing well at seven that I went to a professional academy. I would go to school, and then my parents would take me to the club, and I'd spend the rest of the day there just having fun with the kids." [10] In 1986, Kournikova became a member of the Spartak Tennis Club, coached by Larissa Preobrazhenskaya. [12] In 1989, at the age of eight, Kournikova began appearing in junior tournaments, and by the following year, was attracting attention from tennis scouts across the world. She signed a management deal at age ten and went to Bradenton, Florida, to train at Nick Bollettieri's celebrated tennis academy. [12]

Spartak Tennis Club, also known as Shiryaevka, is a tennis training ground located near Sokolniki Park in Moscow, Russia. Built in 1979, it formerly formed part of the Spartak sports society. It has 15 outdoor clay courts, which remain open for four months during the year, and two indoor courts. The club is known for training a number of top Russian tennis players who have gone on to win Grand Slam titles. Competition for places at the academy remain high due to its rigorous training program.

Bradenton, Florida City in Florida, United States

Bradenton is a city in Manatee County, Florida, United States. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated the city's 2016 population to be 54,437. Bradenton is a principal city of the North Port–Sarasota–Bradenton metropolitan statistical area, which had a 2017 estimated population of 702,281. It is the county seat.

Nick Bollettieri American tennis coach

Nicholas James Bollettieri is an American tennis coach. He pioneered the concept of a tennis boarding school, and helped develop many leading tennis players during the past decades, including Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, Monica Seles, and Mary Pierce. He has also worked with Maria Sharapova, Daniela Hantuchová, Jelena Janković, Nicole Vaidišová, Sabine Lisicki, Sara Errani, Tommy Haas, Max Mirnyi, Xavier Malisse, Venus Williams, Serena Williams, Martina Hingis, Anna Kournikova, Marcelo Ríos, Kei Nishikori, and coached Boris Becker for two years.

Tennis career

1989–1997: Early years and breakthrough

Following her arrival in the United States, she became prominent on the tennis scene. [12] At 14, she won the European Championships and the Italian Open Junior tournament. In December 1995, she became the youngest player to win the 18-and-under division of the Junior Orange Bowl tennis tournament. [13] By the end of the year, Kournikova was crowned the ITF Junior World Champion U-18 [14] and Junior European Champion U-18. [12]

Earlier, in September 1995, she received a wildcard into the WTA tournament in Moscow, the Moscow Ladies Open, qualifications and played her way through the qualifying rounds before losing in the second round of the main draw to third-seeded Sabine Appelmans. There at the 1995 Moscow Ladies Open Kournikova already reached her first WTA Tour doubles final. Partnering with 1995 Wimbledon girls' champion in both singles and doubles Aleksandra Olsza, she lost the title match to Meredith McGrath and Larisa Savchenko-Neiland.

In February–March 1996, Kournikova won two ITF titles, in Midland, Michigan and Rockford, Illinois. Still 14, in April 1996 she debuted at the Fed Cup for Russia, [15] the youngest player ever to participate and win a match. [12]

In 1996, she started playing under a new coach, Ed Nagel. Her six-year tenure with Ed would produce terrific results. At 15, she made her Grand Slam debut, when she reached the fourth round of the 1996 US Open, only to be stopped by then-top ranked player Steffi Graf, the eventual champion. After this tournament, Kournikova's ranking jumped from No. 144 to debut in the Top 100 at No. 69. [16] Kournikova was a member of the Russian delegation to the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia. In 1996, she was named WTA Newcomer of the Year, [12] and she was ranked No. 57 in the end of the season. [1]

Kournikova entered the 1997 Australian Open as world No. 67, [17] where she lost in the first round to world No. 12, Amanda Coetzer. At the Italian Open, Kournikova lost to Amanda Coetzer in the second round. However, she reached the semifinals in the doubles partnering with Elena Likhovtseva, before losing to the sixth seeds Mary Joe Fernández and Patricia Tarabini. [17]

At the French Open, Kournikova made it to the third round before losing to world No. 1, Martina Hingis. She also reached the third round in doubles with Likhovtseva. At the Wimbledon Championships, Kournikova became only the second woman in the open era to reach the semifinals in her Wimbledon debut, the first being Chris Evert in 1972. [18] There she lost to eventual champion Martina Hingis.

At the US Open, she lost in the second round to the eleventh seed Irina Spîrlea. Partnering with Likhovtseva, she reached the third round of the women's doubles event. [17] Kournikova played her last WTA Tour event of 1997 at Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Filderstadt, losing to Amanda Coetzer in the second round of singles, and in the first round of doubles to Lindsay Davenport and Jana Novotná partnering with Likhovtseva. She broke into the top 50 on 19 May, and was ranked No. 32 in singles and No. 41 in doubles at the end of the season. [19]

1998–2000: Success and stardom

In 1998, Kournikova broke into the WTA's top 20 rankings for the first time, when she was ranked No. 16. At the Australian Open, Kournikova lost in the third round to world No. 1 player, Martina Hingis. She also partnered with Larisa Savchenko-Neiland in women's doubles, and they lost to eventual champions Hingis and Mirjana Lučić in the second round. [17] Although she lost in the second round of the Paris Open to Anke Huber in singles, Kournikova reached her second doubles WTA Tour final, partnering with Larisa Savchenko-Neiland. They lost to Sabine Appelmans and Miriam Oremans. Kournikova and Savchenko-Neiland reached their second consecutive final at the Linz Open, losing to Alexandra Fusai and Nathalie Tauziat. At the Miami Open, Kournikova reached her first WTA Tour singles final, before losing to Venus Williams in the final. [16]

Kournikova practices her backhand for a match at the Family Circle Cup in Charleston, South Carolina Anna Kournikova DF-SD-04-04709.jpg
Kournikova practices her backhand for a match at the Family Circle Cup in Charleston, South Carolina

Kournikova then reached two consecutive quarterfinals, at Amelia Island and the Italian Open, losing respectively to Lindsay Davenport and Martina Hingis. At the German Open, she reached the semi-finals in both singles and doubles, partnering with Larisa Savchenko-Neiland. At the French Open Kournikova had her best result at this tournament, making it to the fourth round before losing to Jana Novotná. She also reached her first Grand Slam doubles semifinals, losing with Savchenko-Neiland to Lindsay Davenport and Natasha Zvereva. During her quarterfinals match at the grass-court Eastbourne Open versus Steffi Graf, Kournikova injured her thumb, which would eventually force her to withdraw from the 1998 Wimbledon Championships. [16] However, she won that match, but then withdrew from her semifinals match against Arantxa Sánchez Vicario. [16] Kournikova returned for the Du Maurier Open and made it to the third round, before losing to Conchita Martínez. At the US Open Kournikova reached the fourth round before losing to Arantxa Sánchez Vicario. Her strong year qualified her for the year-end 1998 WTA Tour Championships, but she lost to Monica Seles in the first round. However, with Seles, she won her first WTA doubles title, in Tokyo, beating Mary Joe Fernández and Arantxa Sánchez Vicario in the final. At the end of the season, she was ranked No. 10 in doubles. [19]

At the start of the 1999 season, Kournikova advanced to the fourth round in singles before losing to Mary Pierce. However, Kournikova won her first doubles Grand Slam title, partnering Martina Hingis. The two defeated Lindsay Davenport and Natasha Zvereva in the final. At the Tier I Family Circle Cup, Kournikova reached her second WTA Tour final, but lost to Martina Hingis. [19] She then defeated Jennifer Capriati, Lindsay Davenport and Patty Schnyder on her route to the Bausch & Lomb Championships semi-finals, losing to Ruxandra Dragomir. At The French Open, Kournikova reached the fourth round before losing to eventual champion Steffi Graf. [19] Once the grass-court season commenced in England, Kournikova lost to Nathalie Tauziat in the semi-finals in Eastbourne. At Wimbledon, Kournikova lost to Venus Williams in the fourth round. She also reached the final in mixed doubles, partnering with Jonas Björkman, but they lost to Leander Paes and Lisa Raymond. Kournikova again qualified for year-end WTA Tour Championships, but lost to Mary Pierce in the first round, and ended the season as World No. 12. [19]

Kournikova (left) with doubles partner Martina Hingis Kournikova-Hingis-SYD-1.jpg
Kournikova (left) with doubles partner Martina Hingis

While Kournikova had a successful singles season, she was even more successful in doubles. After their victory at the Australian Open, she and Martina Hingis won tournaments in Indian Wells, Rome, Eastbourne and the WTA Tour Championshiops, and reached the final of The French Open where they lost to Serena and Venus Williams. Partnering with Elena Likhovtseva, Kournikova also reached the final in Stanford. On 22 November 1999 she reached the world No. 1 ranking in doubles, and ended the season at this ranking. Anna Kournikova and Martina Hingis were presented with the WTA Award for Doubles Team of the Year.

Kournikova opened her 2000 season winning the Gold Coast Open doubles tournament partnering with Julie Halard. She then reached the singles semifinals at the Medibank International Sydney, losing to Lindsay Davenport. At the Australian Open, she reached the fourth round in singles and the semi-finals in doubles. That season, Kournikova reached eight semifinals (Sydney, Scottsdale, Stanford, San Diego, Luxembourg, Leipzig and Tour Championships), seven quarterfinals (Gold Coast, Tokyo, Amelia Island, Hamburg, Eastbourne, Zürich and Philadelphia) and one final. On 20 November 2000 she broke into top 10 for the first time, reaching No. 8. [19] She was also ranked No. 4 in doubles at the end of the season. [19] Kournikova was once again, more successful in doubles. She reached the final of the US Open in mixed doubles, partnering with Max Mirnyi, but they lost to Jared Palmer and Arantxa Sánchez Vicario. She also won six doubles titles – Gold Coast (with Julie Halard), Hamburg (with Natasha Zvereva), Filderstadt, Zürich, Philadelphia and the Tour Championships (with Martina Hingis).

2001–2003: Injuries and final years

Her 2001 season was dominated by injury, including a left foot stress fracture which forced her withdrawal from twelve tournaments, including the French Open and Wimbledon. [16] She underwent surgery in April. [16] She reached her second career grand slam quarterfinals, at the Australian Open. Kournikova then withdrew from several events due to continuing problems with her left foot and did not return until Leipzig. With Barbara Schett, she won the doubles title in Sydney. She then lost in the finals in Tokyo, partnering with Iroda Tulyaganova, and at San Diego, partnering with Martina Hingis. Hingis and Kournikova also won the Kremlin Cup. At the end of the 2001 season, she was ranked No. 74 in singles and No. 26 in doubles. [19]

At the 2002 Medibank International Sydney Kournikova-SYD-1.jpg
At the 2002 Medibank International Sydney

Kournikova was quite successful in 2002. She reached the semifinals of Auckland, Tokyo, Acapulco and San Diego, and the final of the China Open, losing to Anna Smashnova. This was Kournikova's last singles final. With Martina Hingis, she lost in the final at Sydney, but they won their second Grand Slam title together, the Australian Open. They also lost in the quarterfinals of the US Open. With Chanda Rubin, Kournikova played the semi-finals of Wimbledon, but they lost to Serena and Venus Williams. Partnering Janet Lee, she won the Shanghai title. At the end of 2002 season, she was ranked No. 35 in singles and No. 11 in doubles. [19]

In 2003, Anna Kournikova collected her first Grand Slam match victory in two years at the Australian Open. She defeated Henrieta Nagyová in the 1st round, and then lost to Justine Henin-Hardenne in the 2nd round. She withdrew from Tokyo due to a sprained back suffered at the Australian Open and did not return to Tour until Miami. On 9 April, in what would be the final WTA match of her career, Kournikova retired in the 1st round of the Family Circle Cup in Charleston, due to a left adductor strain. Her singles world ranking was 67. She reached the semifinals at the ITF tournament in Sea Island, before withdrawing from a match versus Maria Sharapova due to the adductor injury. She lost in the 1st round of the ITF tournament in Charlottesville. She did not compete for the rest of the season due to a continuing back injury. At the end of the 2003 season and her professional career, she was ranked No. 305 in singles and No. 176 in doubles. [19]

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. 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 US Open and at Wimbledon, and reaching the No. 1 ranking in doubles in the WTA 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 No.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.

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. As a personality Kournikova was among the most common search strings for both articles and images in her prime. [2] [3] [4]

2004–present: Exhibitions and World Team Tennis

Kournikova at a USO-sponsored tour at Forward Operating Base Sharana on December 15, 2009 Anna Kournikova, 2009.jpg
Kournikova at a USO-sponsored tour at Forward Operating Base Sharana on December 15, 2009

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, Andy Roddick, and Chris Evert. In November 2005, she teamed up with Martina Hingis, playing against Lisa Raymond and Samantha Stosur in the WTT finals for charity. Kournikova is also a member of the St. Louis Aces in the World Team Tennis (WTT), playing doubles only.

In September 2008, Kournikova showed up for the 2008 Nautica Malibu Triathlon held at Zuma Beach in Malibu, California. [20] The Race raised funds for children's Hospital Los Angeles. She won that race for women's K-Swiss team. [20] On 27 September 2008, Kournikova played exhibition mixed doubles matches in Charlotte, North Carolina, partnering with Tim Wilkison and Karel Nováček. [21] Kournikova and Wilkison defeated Jimmy Arias and Chanda Rubin, and then Kournikova and Novacek defeated Rubin and Wilkison. [21]

On 12 October 2008, Anna Kournikova played one exhibition match for the annual charity event, hosted by Billie Jean King and Elton John, and raised more than $400,000 for the Elton John AIDS Foundation and Atlanta AIDS Partnership Fund. [22] She played doubles with Andy Roddick (they were coached by David Chang) versus Martina Navratilova and Jesse Levine (coached by Billie Jean King); Kournikova and Roddick won. [22]

Kournikova competed alongside John McEnroe, Tracy Austin and Jim Courier at the "Legendary Night", which was held on 2 May 2009, at the Turning Stone Event Center in Verona, New York. [23] The exhibition included a mixed doubles match of McEnroe and Austin against Courier and Kournikova.

In 2008, she was named a spokesperson for K-Swiss. [24] In 2005, Kournikova stated that if she were 100% fit, she would like to come back and compete again. [25]

In June 2010, Kournikova reunited with her doubles partner Martina Hingis to participate in competitive tennis for the first time in seven years in the Invitational Ladies Doubles event at Wimbledon. [26] [27] On 29 June 2010 they defeated the British pair Samantha Smith and Anne Hobbs. [28]

Playing style

Kournikova plays right-handed with a two-handed backhand. [1] She is a great player at the net. [29] She can hit forceful groundstrokes and also drop shots. [30]

Her playing style fits the profile for a doubles player, and is complemented by her height. [31] She has been compared to such doubles specialists as Pam Shriver and Peter Fleming. [31]

Personal life

Kournikova was in a relationship with fellow Russian Pavel Bure, an NHL ice hockey player. The two met in 1999 when Kournikova was still linked to Bure's former Russian teammate Sergei Fedorov. [32] Bure and Kournikova were reported to have been engaged in 2000 after a reporter took a photo of them together in a Florida restaurant where Bure supposedly asked Kournikova to marry him. As the story made headlines in Russia, where they were both heavily followed in the media as celebrities, Bure and Kournikova both denied any engagement. Kournikova, 10 years younger than Bure, was 18 years old at the time. [33]

Fedorov claimed he and Kournikova were married in 2001, and divorced in 2003. [34] Kournikova's representatives deny any marriage to Fedorov; however, Fedorov's agent Pat Brisson claims that although he does not know when they got married, he knew "Fedorov was married". [35]

Kournikova started dating pop star Enrique Iglesias in late 2001 (she appeared in his video, "Escape"). [36] She has consistently refused to directly confirm or deny the status of her personal relationships. In June 2008, Iglesias was quoted by the Daily Star as having married Kournikova the previous year and subsequently separated. [37] The couple have invested in a $20 million home to be built on a private island in Miami. [38] They had twins, Nicholas and Lucy, on Saturday, 16 December 2017, at South Miami Hospital. [39]

Media publicity

Kournikova preparing to serve in 2002 Kournikova-SYD-2.jpg
Kournikova preparing to serve in 2002

Most of Kournikova's fame has come from the publicity surrounding her looks and her personal life. During her debut at the 1996 US Open at the age of 15, the western world noticed her beauty, and soon pictures of her appeared in numerous magazines worldwide.

In 2000, Kournikova became the new face for Berlei's shock absorber sports bras, and appeared in the "only the ball should bounce" billboard campaign. [40] Following that, she was cast by the Farrelly brothers for a minor role in the 2000 film Me, Myself & Irene starring Jim Carrey and Renée Zellweger. [41] Photographs of her have appeared on covers of various publications, including men's magazines, such as one in the much-publicized 2004 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue , [42] where she posed in bikinis and swimsuits, as well as in FHM [43] and Maxim . [44] Kournikova was named one of People's 50 Most Beautiful People in 1998 [45] and was voted "hottest female athlete" on ESPN.com. [46] In 2002 she also placed first in FHM's 100 Sexiest Women in the World in US and UK editions. [43] By contrast, ESPN – citing the degree of hype as compared to actual accomplishments as a singles player – ranked Kournikova 18th in its "25 Biggest Sports Flops of the Past 25 Years". [47] Kournikova was also ranked No. 1 in the ESPN Classic series "Who's number 1?" when the series featured sport's most overrated athletes. [48]

She continued to be the most searched athlete on the Internet through 2008 even though she had retired from the professional tennis circuit years earlier. [49] [50] [51] [52] After slipping from first to sixth among athletes in 2009, [53] she moved back up to third place among athletes in terms of search popularity in 2010. [54]

In October 2010, Kournikova headed to NBC's The Biggest Loser where she led the contestants in a tennis-workout challenge. [55] [56] In May 2011, it was announced that Kournikova would join The Biggest Loser as a regular celebrity trainer in season 12. [57] She did not return for season 13. [58]

In November 2010, she became an American citizen. [59] In 2011, Men's Health named her one of the "100 Hottest Women of All-Time", ranking her at No. 29. [60]

Career statistics and awards

Books

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Daniela Hantuchová Slovakian tennis player

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Iveta Benešová Czech tennis player

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Timea Bacsinszky Swiss professional tennis player

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Meredith McGrath is a former professional tennis player. She was born in Midland, Michigan, USA and made her debut on the Women's Tennis Association tour in 1988. In her eight-year professional career Meredith achieved career-high world rankings of No. 18 in singles and No. 4 in doubles. She notched victories over such players as Martina Navratilova, Martina Hingis, Anna Kournikova, Jana Novotna, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, and Gigi Fernandez, and Mary Jo Fernandez. The pinnacle of her career came in reaching the singles semi-finals and doubles finals at the 1996 Wimbledon Championships. In the singles she defeated Mana Endo, Amanda Coetzer, Nancy Feber, Katarína Studeníková and Mary Joe Fernandez before losing to Arantxa Sánchez Vicario. An injury two weeks prior to the 1996 Wimbledon Championships eventually ended her career. Meredith won the 1995 U.S. Open Mixed Doubles Championship and was the runner-up in the 1994 Australian Open Doubles Championship. Meredith won three WTA singles titles: Oklahoma City and Eastbourne in 1994 and Birmingham in 1996, 25 doubles titles. She retired with a 140–83 record in singles and a 189–40 record in doubles. Meredith was recognized by Tennis Magazine as the WTA Comeback Player of the Year as she overcame near career-ending injuries to having her most successful competitive season in 1996. In 1994 she received the WTA Tour Comeback Player of the Year.

Sabine Lisicki German tennis player

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Monica Niculescu Romanian tennis player

Monica Niculescu is a Romanian professional tennis player. She reached her career-high singles ranking of world No. 28 in February 2012, and has three singles titles to her credit on the WTA Tour since she turned pro in May 2002, the last one coming at the end of 2016, at the BGL Luxembourg Open. Although she was a steady top 30 player for several years and enjoyed relative success in singles, she is also a doubles specialist, where she achieved a career-high ranking of no.11, in April 2018, after partnering with Grand Slam winner and Olympic medalist Andrea Sestini Hlaváčková at Indian Wells. Her biggest doubles result up to date is reaching her first grand slam doubles final at Wimbledon, in 2017, alongside Chan Hao-ching. She was also runner-up at three Premier Mandatory events: the 2015 Wuhan Open, with fellow Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu, the 2016 Rogers Cup, with current world no.1 Simona Halep, and the 2017 Cincinnati Open, partnering former world no.1 in doubles, Su-wei Hsieh.

Paula Kania Polish tennis player

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Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Martina Hingis
ITF Junior World Champion
1995
Succeeded by
Amélie Mauresmo
Preceded by
Martina Hingis
WTA Newcomer of the Year
1996
Succeeded by
Venus Williams
Preceded by
Martina Hingis &
Jana Novotná
WTA Doubles Team of the Year
(with Martina Hingis)

1999
Succeeded by
Serena Williams &
Venus Williams
Preceded by
Jillian Michaels
Trainer on The Biggest Loser
2011
Succeeded by
TBA