Anna Kournikova Article
Don't Blame Anna, Blame Her Feet, Her Mom, Her Opponents...
Anna Kournikova By Tennis Week
Anna Kournikova is back in the game. It's the blame game as ESPN Classic presents "Top Five REasons You Can't Blame Anna Kournikova For Never Winning a WTA Tour Singles Title" on Tuesday, August 8 at 10 p.m. Eastern time. Kournikova won the prestigious Orange Bowl at age 14 and when she faced Martina Hingis in the U.S. Open junior final some experts believed Kournikova would have a better pro career than Hingis.
Kournikova won the WTA's Most Impressive Newcomer Award at 15 and reached the semifinals of her first Wimbledon in 1997 at 16. In 2000, Kournikova’s achievements and model looks led to several lucrative endorsements. By the spring of 2003, Kournikova had not won a WTA tournament in 123 attempts.
While she has not officially retired from the WTA Tour, the 25-year-old Kournikova said a lingering back injury prevents her from extensive training and suggested a full-time return to professional tennis is probably impossible due to her health.
"I have a chronic spinal lumbar dysfunction. If I exercise a little too much it does bother me," Kournikova said. "If I start training for six hours a day on a professional level that's when it's really troubled. If I exercise one or two hours a day it doesn't bother me. I don't know how to fix that problem right now. If I knew, I would have come back and played already. World TeamTennis is very competitive, but it's a good level for me physically and personally (because it is) a very short amount of time so my back doesn't start to get bad."
The top five reasons you can't blame Kournikova for never winning a WTA Tour singles title, according to ESPN Classic, are:
Winning didn't matter. While losing in every WTA tournament, did Kournikova really let anyone down?
Wonder Women. While Kournikova flourished off the court, on it, the competition was too powerful for her to succeed at the highest level.
Land of Opportunity. Growing up in post-Communist Russia, Anna's mother, Alla, sought a future without fear and hunger for her daughter. She chose America.
Alla Almighty. Kournikova's mother, Alla, didn’t prove to be a winning coach.
Bad Bones. Kournikova's ill-fated search for victory was hampered by physical setbacks. She incurred multiple injuries including stress fractures in her feet, a torn ligament and a sprained ankle. Suffering from an inoperable chronic back problem, she played her last WTA event in 2003.
Hall of Famer Jim Courier, French Open doubles champion Luke Jensen and USA Today columnist Christine Brennan are among the experts offering their assessment of Kournikova's legacy. Among the comments features on the show:
Christine Brennan: "She will forever be known as this very famous, very beautiful woman who never won a tennis tournament."
Jim Courier: "If someone’s offering you an eight million dollar a year contract to do something that will prevent you from practicing as much as you should, what would you do?"
Luke Jensen: "Who cares? Who really cares (if she didn’t win a tournament)? Marilyn Monroe is the biggest star in movie history. But if you look at her career, she didn’t win any Oscars, but she sold the industry. Anna Kournikova is the very same way."