View Full Version : Kournikova Pulls Out Of Alabama Challenger With Thigh Injury

Apr 17th, 2003, 08:23 PM
Kournikova Pulls Out Of Alabama Challenger With Thigh Injury

By Adrianna Outlaw

In an effort to rebuild her game and snap her streak of four straight first-round setbacks, Anna Kournikova planned to drop down to the challenger circuit and compete in next week's ITF even in Dothan, Alabama. But a thigh injury she suffered in Sarasota has forced Kournikova to drop out of Dothan.

It would have been Kournikova's first challenger appearance in seven years, but instead the injury-plagued Internet icon will remain sidelined. While the 21-year-old Kournikova was awarded a wild card into next month's German Open, it is uncertain if she will be healthy enough to play Berlin. Even if Kournikova is fit enough to compete in the German Open, which begins on May 5th, she is in desperate need of confidence that comes from winning matches. Based on her recent slump, Kournikova might be better served skipping the $1.26 million Tier I German Open in favor of a smaller event.

The 1997 Wimbledon semifinalist ranked as high as No. 8 two years ago, but has slumped to No. 67. Once regarded as the brightest of the rising Russian women, Kournikova has been surpassed by eight of her compatriots — 10th-ranked Anastasia Myskina, 18th-ranked Elena Bovina, 21st-ranked Elena Dementieva, 29th-ranked Vera Zvonareva, 31st-ranked Elena Likhovtseva, 32nd-ranked Tatiana Panova, 38th-ranked Svetlana Kuznetsova and 57th-ranked Lina Krasnoroutskaya — in the WTA Tour rankings.