don't know if this has been posted so... (if it has please let me know)
Kournikova to play at small circuit event
Anna Kournikova won't be in Berlin this week with the top players. No, if you're looking for the most photographed woman in sport you'll find her in Sea Island, Ga.
Anna Kournikova's best tournament of the year was her second-round appearance at the Australian Open. She's exited in the opening round at all other events.
It's a club event where tickets aren't even sold and the total prize money is $25,000 with first-place earning $3,000. And she's not earning a fee for appearing at the USTA Women's Professional Circuit Event, either.
It hardly sounds worthy of her fan-beloved presence. But Kournikova's world ranking has dropped to 72, and she lost in the first round at her past three tournaments. Although she was given a wild card for the more lucrative 1.2 million German Open, she chose to return to the circuit in an effort to rebuild and recover.
Kournikova, 21, last played competitively at the Family Circle Cup in Charleston, S.C., four weeks ago when she was forced to retire from her first-round match with an abductor injury.
She had intended to begin her long road back at another circuit event in Dothan, Ala., last month but the injury forced her to withdraw. Instead, she'll make her return on Wednesday evening at the low-key clay-court event that might be just what the doctor ordered.
"It's very peaceful here," director of media Kyle Jones said of Sea Island Resort, which has its own spa and 5 miles of private beach. "The perfect place to come and relax and train."
It's not unheard of for a top athlete to return to the lower ranks to rebuild their skills. When Andre Agassi's rank dipped to 141 in 1997, he returned to the Challengers Series and later won five of his eight Grand Slam titles.
Although Kournikova never reached the heights Agassi fell from, at age 16, she reached the Wimbledon semifinals in 1997. She continued to play Tier I and Tier II tournaments instead of smaller events on the WTA Tour and reached a career-high No. 8 ranking in May 2001. But she's failed to earn even one title at that level after seven years on the tour. After each loss, she faces a barrage of questions that treat her more like a model pretending to be a tennis player than a player who models.
But this week, she's certainly not seeking the limelight as she attempts to win her third women's circuit title to add to the only trophies in her case earned in Midland, Texas, and Rockford, Ill.
How well she does this week and future weeks at the circuit level will be a great indicator about the future of her tennis career. After this, there's really nowhere else to go to rebuild a career that once showed great promise.
Hope this is a good NEW start for Anna. Way to go girl!