Anna Kournikova - Off-court Headlines
Famous Sports StarsTennisAnna Kournikova Biography - Bollettieri Protege, Wimbledon Semifinalist, Off-court Headlines, Chronology, Awards And Accomplishments, Seles Defends Her - SELECTED WRITINGS BY KOURNIKOVA:
Kournikova ended 1999 with a number one in doubles. A year later she finished number eight, her first top 10 singles ranking. Her beauty and success were magnets for sponsors. She pitched brokerages and dot-com companies on television. By then, her personal life had also made big headlines. She was romantically linked to Russian-born hockey stars Sergei Federov and Pavel Bure. She was also linked to musician Enrique Iglesias, with whom she made a video. Some observers say her off-court distractions hurt her game, although an injured left foot has also troubled her. Her record in singles matches in 2002 was only 28-24.
"I do think someday she will hate herself for not giving tennis her best shot," ESPN.com's Chris McKendry wrote. "I don't think Kournikova is a fraud or the product of PR packaging. I do think she's a lucky winner of the 'birth lottery'—born beautiful and athletic—and that's not her fault. But she is to blame for underachieving." McKendry added: "So when exactly did Kournikova become less of a tennis player and more of a pop icon?
In 2001, Kournikova reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open. Then came the stress fracture and, although she withdrew from the year's other major tournaments, she did not withdraw from public life. That decision has proven to be costly. Fair or not, it looked as though she did not care to be on the court. She attracted flashbulbs everywhere she went, making headlines with her latest beaus, and making a music video with one steady, Enrique Iglesias. "Smooching and rolling around with the singer in his 'Escape' video sent Kournikova's negative public image—and the media—over the top. This season, back from injury, Kournikova's life, not her tennis, became topic No. 1 … and only."