Anna Kournikova Soothes the Savage Beast
Anna Sergeyevna Kournikova (born 7 June 1981) is a Russian-American professional tennis player. She is the second Russian tennis player on this blog, the other being Maria Sharapova. Both ladies are known for their modelling endeavors and raw beauty.
Unlike Sharapova, though, Kournikova, is more renowned for her off-the-court skills than for winning tournaments, and for the perpetual air of mystery that surrounds her.
While she still plays the occasional exhibition match and doubles in World Team Tennis, Kournikova retired from the professional circuit over a decade ago due to a bad back.
Contrary to what many believe, Anna was a top player whose speciality was doubles. Kournikova's career doubles record was 200-71 at the very highest levels of competition.
Kournikova won $3.5 million in prize money during her career, and they don't just give that money away. She played very well despite not winning any singles tournaments.
Many considered her a top player at the net, exhibiting a typical groundstroke style otherwise.
Many, many players would have loved to have Anna Kournikova's record on the tour, where at one time she was ranked eighth in the world.
Reputed to be one of the prettiest natural beauties in the world, Anna grew up in Moscow and started playing tennis at the age of five.
Getting serious about it a couple of years later, Anna joined a prestigious tennis club and soon began playing juniors tournaments. Then, it was off to Florida to focus solely on tennis. She debuted at the 1996 US Open at age 15, and everyone noticed the fantastically beautiful Russian girl.
Kournikova's love life attracted almost as much attention as her playing. She was involved in a strange romantic triangle between herself and Russian hockey players Pavel Bure and Sergei Fedorov.
Whether or not she actually married Fedorov remains an open question. He claims that they married in Moscow and divorced in 2003, while she denies any marriage at all. That's how it rolls in Russia.
In any event, whatever relationship Kournikova and Fedorov had did not last very long. In 2001, Anna took up with Enrique Iglesias, with whom she had filmed a famous music video ("Escape"). It also is unclear if those two ever got married, or if they separated, but the consensus appears to be that they never got hitched.
Regardless of a formal marriage, Kournikova and Iglesias apparently bought an expensive home together in Florida and remain together. Maybe.
The Kournikova/Iglesias couple is extremely private, rarely going out together, and Enrique occasionally drops hints that something is in the offing. If you really want a picture of them together, hang out at The Palm restaurant in Beverly Hills, they show up there together once every few years.
Anna quickly realized that her real strengths lay off the court. She promoted Berlei's shock absorber sports bras with its notorious "only the ball should bounce" billboard campaign.
Anna apparently is the only professional tennis player to have appeared in Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Issue, in 2004.
People Magazine named Anna to its 50 Most Beautiful People of 1998 list, while FHM put it at the top - not just on the list, but at the very top - of its 2002 FHM's 100 Sexiest Women in the World.
Sports network ESPN, on the other hand, gave Anna a lot of publicity by labelling her a flop and a failure - while she happily deposited her match winnings and modelling income in the bank.
Anna served as a celebrity trainer on NBC reality show "The Biggest Loser" in 2010 and 2011.
Both a computer virus and a variation on the White Russian drink have been named after Anna Kournikova, one of her biggest accolades.