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Anna Kournikova

Looking Ahead

Kournikova's one wish for 2003, she said, was "to stay healthy, go back and try to play a full season this time." Her latest coach is former men's star Harold Solomon, a no-nonsense type credited with saving Jennifer Capriati's career. Off the court, meanwhile, she sued Penthouse magazine, which published photos in 2002 purporting to be Kournikova frolicking on a topless beach. The magazine apologized for a misidentification and settled out of court.

McKendry feels Kournikova's best chance for a Grand Slam title may have eluded her, given the dominance of the Williams sisters. "Both (Hingis and Kournikova) are missing what the Williams sisters, Jennifer Capriati, Lindsay Davenport and even Monica Seles have—incredible strength and a powerful serve," she wrote. "It has been too long since Kournikova's play justified her popularity. But don't call her a nontalent. Nobody, not even Anna, can fake their way to even the No. 36 ranking in the world. Fact is, somewhere under the piles of publicity is a good tennis player. And the only way for her to prove her critics wrong is to prove that … again."

While leveling her share of criticisms at Kournikova, McKendry still feels there's more to like than not to like. "As for young girls looking up to her, all I can say is this: Kournikova is an athletic 5-foot-8, 125-pound beauty," she writes. "Who's a better role model—Anna or some skinny heroin chic model?"

girl Model or Tennis Player? You glow

Anna is coming.

A not-quite-life-size cutout inside the Xcel Energy Center heralds her arrival … Above this picture, block letters promote the main event: SELES VS. KOURNIKOVA.

Anna's is the only image within sight.

She is a cover girl, a global celebrity. She is a tennis player who never has won a singles title.

Anna Kournikova will play tennis tonight against Monica Seles at Xcel. Thousands will come. Guess why.

"Pretty and sexy, that's the message," said Mary Jo Kane, director of Minnesota's Tucker Center for Research on Girls and Women in Sport.

Source: Hamilton, Brian. St. Paul Pioneer Press, December 14, 2002.

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Famous Sports StarsTennisAnna Kournikova Biography - Bollettieri Protege, Wimbledon Semifinalist, Off-court Headlines, Chronology, Awards And Accomplishments, Seles Defends Her - SELECTED WRITINGS BY KOURNIKOVA: