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tennisIlove09
Feb 14th, 2003, 06:39 PM
Kournikova sidelined with bad back

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ESPN.com news services


MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Anna Kournikova, bothered by back problems, withdrew from next week's Kroger St. Jude tournament on Thursday.

Kournikova injured her back in the Australian Open last month. Kournikova lost in the second round in Melbourne to Justine Henin-Hardenne.

Kournikova confirmed her withdrawal from the tournament on her Web site.

"My back sprain is improving, but I won't be in tournament competition for about the next three weeks," she said. "Unfortunately, this means that I won't be able to play in Memphis next week, which is very disappointing for me. It's a great tournament that has a wonderful charitable beneficiary in St. Jude. I wish them all the best for a really successful tournament week."

Kournikova will make an appearance to present a $30,000 check to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Kournikova had won a skills challenge at last year's U.S. Open and designated St. Jude as her charity.

"It is really disappointing that she can't play, but it's amazing that she's coming," tournament owner Mac Winker told The Commercial Appeal of Memphis. "I think that's really a wonderful showing of good faith."

Kournikova had been promoted heavily by tourney officials. Kournikova has not won a singles tournament since turning pro in 1995 but has been ranked in the top 10 on several occasions since November 2000.