Anna to play Monica in Winnipeg(Recent article article)
From the Canadian Press
(CP) - Anna Kournikova has chosen Winnipeg, Manitoba to gear up for the Australian Open.
The Russian star will take on American Monica Seles on Dec. 15 in an exhibition match in the Manitoba capital.
``I've never been to Winnipeg itself but I've been to Canada a million times before,'' Kournikova said Friday in a conference call from Miami, where she makes her home. ``I don't know much about Winnipeg but I'm really looking forward to it. I heard it's a cool city and it's going to be really cold, right?
``I'll bring some warm clothes.''
Kournikova, currently 35th in the world, is recovering from a sprained ankle suffered at the Kremlin Cup on Oct. 2 and says the match at Winnipeg Arena is a perfect fit.
``It's going to tell me where I'm at physically and it's great preparation for Australia,'' she explained.
``Now that I've missed out on the last four tournaments, it's going to be very important to play matches in order to see where I am. It's really important for me.''
To no one's surprise, tennis wasn't the only subject broached on Friday's conference call.
Kournikova's fame, based more on her looks than her actual skills (she's never won a WTA singles title), is tiring subject matter for the 21-year-old. She doesn't want to feel guilty just because she may use her looks to do the odd magazine shoot.
``I do some magazine stuff once in a while, like recently because I was injured,'' she said. ``I never do it before a tournament or during a tournament and plus, even if I did, I don't have to explain it to anybody.
``My job is to go out there and play tennis. It's not even a job, it's what I want to do. Whatever people think of me, I can't be perfect or good or nice or everything to everybody. Some people will like me, and some are not going to like me. I have to live my life and do what I feel I have to do.''
And that means ignoring colleagues on the WTA tour who reportedly resent the fact Kournikova gets millions in endorsements despite not having won.
``I mean, I wasn't an angel when I was younger,'' Kournikova said. ``We all grow up and learn from the mistakes we made. I always had a circle of people that I get along with great. There's also a circle of people that we get along as colleagues.
``And of course, like in any sport or any office, some people don't actually get along great. It's absolutely normal. I mean, there's 1,000 tennis players. If you have 128 girls in one locker-room, you wouldn't expect all of them to get along completely perfectly normal. It's not like we're on one team. We have to play against each other.''
What Kournikova would like to do is finally win a tournament.
``It's definitely something I want, obviously,'' she said, sounding somewhat embarrassed. ``I've been in finals a few times and in semifinals a million times.
``I've been very close and sometimes been very unlucky. I'm sure it'll come together, like maybe when people don't expect me to do anything anymore.''
Kournikova has won some 16 doubles titles, plus prize money in excess of $3 million US.
The last tennis exhibition of this kind in Winnipeg was in 1987 when Boris Becker faced Kevin Curran, also at Winnipeg Arena.
Now, PLEASE, no Anna bashing in here!!!