It is difficult to say if getting a computer virus named after you is a good or bad thing, but it certainly means one thing – you were popular enough for nerds to name something after you. That is really the best summary that could be given to Anna Kournikova’s life. This goes to say that at the height of her career as a Russian tennis player, her fame transcended the sport. Although she never won a lot of single titles while she was an active professional player, she was a prominent name in the sport, because of her looks and a talent to match. Who is Anna Kournikova? Read below to learn more about the tennis star.
Anna Kournikova – Bio
Before Maria Sharapova, there was Anna Kournikova. She is a former Russian tennis player who made a name for herself in the sport after moving to the United States. The tennis star was born on the 7th of June, 1981 in Moscow, Russia. Her father, Sergei Kournikov was a former wrestling champion who later became a professor at the University of Physical Culture and Sport in Moscow. Her mother was also an athlete who participated in competitive athletics, specifically the 400-meter race. Simply put, Anna was born into a sports family.
For a tennis icon like Anna, the moment she held her first racket is of significance and she did that at the age of five after she got one as her New Year gift in 1986. She started training right from the age of 5, joining a children’s program at the age of six. At the age of 7, she joined a professional academy and by the time she was eight, she was appearing in junior tournaments. In 1989, she moved to the United States and signed a management deal.
In the first 8 years of her professional career, she established herself as a force to be reckoned with, winning the European and Italian Open junior tournament at the age of 14. She started competing at the highest level at 15, entering her first major tournament in September 1995 in the WTA Moscow Ladies Open. Although she lost her singles match in the second round, she reached the final of the doubles, playing alongside Alexandra Olsza.
She won her first professional titles in February and March of 1996, winning the ITF titles at Midland, Michigan and Rockford, Illinois.
In sports, a coach’s impact on a player or team has the ability to make or break their career, and for Anna Kournikova, signing under coach Ed Nagel made her career. She climbed to the Top 100 in the world rankings after her first tournament under Nagel and won the WTA Newcomer of the Year at the end of the 1996 season. She finished the year as the 57th ranked player in the world. Despite a string of losses over the course of the season, she finished the following season, ranked at number 32 in the world.
Success came knocking for Anna after the 1997 season. She leapt into the Top 20 players in the world at number 16 and reached her second WTA Tour Finals in the Doubles. She reached her first singles final at Miami Open but lost to Venus Williams, finishing the season ranked number 10 in doubles.
In the 1999 season, she won her first Grand Slam Doubles at the Australian Open, in a partnership with Martina Hingis. She, however, lost to her in her second WTA Tour Final and ended the 1999 season as world number 12 and was ranked number 1 in doubles.
After 1999, due to a string of injuries, Anna was never able to mount a serious challenge, and though she won her second doubles Grand Slam title in 2002, she was never able to reach her heights individually. She retired in 2003.
Anna did not make a lot of money from her winnings in tennis. She won two major titles and her winnings were just over $3 million. However, her media image and popularity allowed her to build a net worth of $50 million from modelling and appearance gigs.
Partner – Enrique Iglesias, Twins
Anna Kournikova has her looks as a major source of attraction. She became one of the most searched women in the world during her career. Anna leveraged on her popularity to model for several brands. Her popularity further made her personal life a matter of interest. After denying a relationship and marriage to Fedorov, she started dating Enrique Iglesias in 2001.
The couple, for a long time, refused to comment publicly on the nature of their relationship until a 2008 interview where Enrique Iglesias was quoted, saying he’s married to the former tennis star. They are currently still married and have two children together, twins – Nicholas and Lucy born on the 16th of December 2017.