Anna Kournikova's Story and Biography
What you always wanted to know...
(Source : www.annafan.net)
We write June 7, 1981. A girl is born in Moscow, Russia. Her name is Anya Kournikova (now Anna). At the time, the country is in the midst of a cold war with the West. Ronald Reagan launches the idea of Star Wars - a shield against the Russian nuclear war threat. The crisis deepens and hundreds if not thousands of nuclear warheads are moved to Europe as a sign of deterrence.
Anna's father, Sergei, a natural talent as an athlete wrestles professionally and is a part-time tennis coach. Her mother Alla and her father encourage their daughter to take part in physical activity. In 1986, Anna is given a very special present at Christmas1.
She is 5 years old when she first picks up a racket and starts playing tennis. In the beginning at Moscow's Soklniki Park; later at the prestigious Spartak Tennis Club coached by Victor Rubanov husband of Russian tennis pro Olga Morozova. At the tender age of eight, Anna starts working junior clinics and is becoming a well-watched star in Russia (www.annafan.net). Still, her childhood is "regular, average" as she spents a lot of time shopping, going to amusement parks and spending time with friends.
In 1990, when the ATP establishes a major tournament in Moscow, Anna is spotted playing in the Kremlin Cup by IMG Agents - inspired by Monica Seles, her greatest example. With the consent of her partners, she is taken to the famous Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Bradenton, Florida where she signs a huge management deal. In February of 1992, she moves to Florida together with her mum; father Sergei remains in Russia to work.
At 13 years old she makes it to the final of the Rolex Orange Bowl tournament losing to 18-year-old Spaniard Marion Ramon 7-5 6-4. If Anna had won the match she would have been the youngest winner in the tournament's history.
At the end of 1995, she is ranked No. 1 as the ITF Junior World Champion after clinching the European Championships, the Italian Open for Juniors and the prestigious Orange Bowl beating Sandra Nacuk of Yugoslavia 6-3 6-2. In September of that year, ready to hit the professional circuit, she enters her first WTA Tournament in Moscow where she reaches the second round after a first round win against Marketa Kochta of Germany; in round 2 she lost to Sabine Appelmans of Belgium in straight sets. A month later she becomes a professional tennis player by joining the Women's Tennis Association. In the mean time, she became the youngest player ever to participate and win in the Fed Cup beating Anna-Karin Svensson of Sweden at the tender age of 14.
In 1996, after pulling off three victories in the qualifying event preceding the tournament, she reaches round 4 of the US Open - her first Grand Slam tournament - booking a stadium court victory over 14th seed Barbara Paulus and eventually losing to Steffi Graf who goes on to win the entire tournament; she also makes the doubles quarter-finals. Later on in the year, she overcomes 13th ranked Amanda Coetzer in Zürich after qualifying for the main draw of the Swiss tournament.
As a qualifier, she wins her first professional title at a 1996 ITF Women's Circuit satellite event in Midland, Michigan, USA by overcoming Lindsay Lee in the final. She is 5th favourite in an ITF Women's Circuit Satellite Event in Rockfield, Illinois, USA the same year and wins her 2nd career ITF tournament. At the end of the season she is named the 1996 COREL WTA TOUR Most Impressive Newcomer.
A year later, she reaches another milestone when she beats Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario in Berlin on clay, who is ranked number 6. She also reaches the quarter-finals of a WTA Tournament for the first time in her career breaking through the Top 50 barrier of the WTA Ranking list. She only loses to Top 15 players in the 1997 season.
She becomes only the 2nd player to reach the semi-finals on her maiden participation at Wimbledon - only Christ Evert managed a similar feat in 1972. She comes back from match point down in the second round defeating Barbara Rittner to advance to the third round where she upsets 10th-ranked Anke Huber and then a round later fifth-ranked Iva Majoli. Her impressive run will eventually be halted by Switzerland's Martina Hingis. She moves up to number 25 on the WTA Ranking list.
In the mean time, in spite of all the success, Anna graduates from a Russian high school and starts attending the Physical Culture Russian University. She decides to leave Bradenton, Florida and moves in a luxurious flat in Miami Beach, Florida.
In third round of 1998 Australian Open, she stretches world No. 1 Martina Hingis to three sets before falling 6-4 4-6 6-4. At the Paris Indoors in 1998 she manages the ninth-fastest serve on the Tour which clocks 111.2 miles per hour (179 kph). A couple weeks later she beats four top 10 players in the same tournament (Key Biscayne): Monica Seles, Conchita Martinez, Lindsay Davenport and Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario becoming the the eighth player to consecutively defeat four Top 10 players on the WTA TOUR since 1975, and the first since 1987. In the finals she loses to Venus Williams in three sets. She moves up to No. 16.
Nevertheless, people seem to be more interested in Kournikova's personal relationship with Pavel Bure, a Florida Panthers hockey player in the NHL. They engage themselves to marry later on that year, but Anna decides that it's too early and blows the entire thing off. She Becmes the ninth-youngest player in the Open Era (starting 1968) to defeat a reigning world No. 1 before her 17th birthday, upsetting Martina Hingis in the quarterfinals at the 1998 German Open. The defeat marked Hingis' first professional loss to a younger player. Kournikova also defeated No. 5 Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario in the third round; ranking moved up to a then-career high No. 13.
People Magazine votes Kournikova among the 50 most beautiful people of 1998; she is only one of two athletes to make the list. It will not be the only such award Anna will receive. In Eastbourne she outsmarts Steffi Graf. It's only Graf's third grass court loss in the 1990's. Unfortunately in a fall during the match, she suffers torn ligaments in her right thumb forcing her to withdraw from her semifinal match and from Wimbledon the next week. Nevertheless, Anna's performance in England sees her move up to number 10 on the WTA Ranking List.
At the US Open she is the first Russian woman to be seeded since 1976. She wins her first WTA Tour professional title at the Princess Cup in Tokyo, winning the doubles crown with Monica Seles. In Filderstadt she again extends world No. 1 Martina Hingis to three sets and she reaches her second consecutive doubles final. Her successful season sees her qualify for the season-ending Chase Championships in both singles and doubles (together with Larissa Neiland).
At the Australian Open in 1999 she consolidates her doubles skills by capturing the doubles tournament partnering Martina Hingis. It's the start of a very successful partnership between the two teen stars. They play five doubles finals, losing only once at the French Open. Anna Kournikova is also named as the 1999 best female doubles player ending the year ranked number 1.
She reaches her second career final (both in Tier I events) at 1999 Hilton Head including wins over sixth seed Patty Schnyder and 12th seed Barbara Schett. As the seventh seed, she becomes the third lowest seed in the history of the tournament to reach the final, playing against 18-year-old Martina Hingis. They are the youngest players ever to meet in the final of this tournament with a combined age of 36 years, five months.
Since turning pro life hasn't been easy for Anna. Money check amounts rise, but so do expectations. Every time she loses at a tournament interviewers and reporters are asking her the same question over and over again: 'When are you going to win your first tournament?'
'Soon,' she says fully dedicated but immediately stresses out that "winning a tournament" is not a prime goal.
Full Name: Anna Kournikova
Date of birth: June 7, 1981
Zodiac Sign: Gemini
Place of Birth: Moscow, USSR
Residence: Miami Beach, Forida
Parents: Mother: Alla
Boyfriend: Sergei Federov
Height: 5'8" (173cm)
Weight: 112 lbs. (55,5 kg)
Hair Colour: Blond
Eye Colour: Brown/green
Turned Pro: October 1995
Tournament Wins: none
Doubles Titles: 2
Highest Ranking: 8
Sponsors: Equipment: Yonex
(former) Coach(es): Victor Rubanov2
Agent: Phil de Picciotto
Greatest Inspiration: Monica Seles
Toughest Opponent: Steffi Graf
Athlete she most admires: Michael Jordan
Other sports she likes: NBA Basketball
Favourite City: Rome, Paris, London, New York and Tokyo
Favourite Colour: Black; White and very bright colors
Favourite Foods: Steak and sushi
Favourite Dessert: Chocolate icecream
Favourite Sweets: Chocolate
Favourite Drinks: Orange Juice
Favourite Movie: Austin Powers
Favourite Dress: Classical
Favourite Tournament: French Open
Favourite Season: Spring Time
Favourite TV Shows: Jay Leno, "Melrose Place" and "Friends"
Favourite Bands: The Corrs, Jane's Addiction; Bush and Korn; Madonna
Favourite Song: Summertime Rolls
Lucky Number: 42
Hobbies: Anna likes to read, dance, listen to music, watch TV. She also loves animals, arts, the ocean and the beach. She collects dolls from every country she visits.
To contact Anna you can write to: Anna Kournikova
C/O Bolletieri Tennis Academy
5500 34th St. West
Bradenton, FL 34210
C/O International Management Group
One Erieview Plaza, Suit 1300
Cleveland, Ohio 44114