View Full Version : Russian teen Kourni-copies add spice to US Open

Aug 25th, 2003, 07:11 AM
Russian teen Kourni-copies add spice to US Open

August 24, 2003
NEW YORK (AFP) - No Serena Williams . No Venus Williams . No Anna Kournikova . No problem. A sexy set of Russian teen tennis talent is riding to the rescue of the US Open.

With supermodel looks and some skills on the court as well, the blonde Russian heart-throbs made their first appearances here Sunday on the eve of the year's final Grand Slam event.

Hoping to make fans forget the absence of injured Russian beauty Kournikova or injured reigning champion Serena Williams' outrageous outfits, 16-year-old Maria Sharapova and 18-year-old Svetlana Kuznetsova have sparkled.


"It's sort of like the hype is all around you," Sharapova said. "It's really crazy. You have got so many people around you. You begin to realize this is something big."

Sharapova, who reached the fourth round at Wimbledon , designs her own tennis clothes and grunts with the loudest of the WTA Tour's players. Expect her to be pretty in pink in her Tuesday opener against Spain's Virginia Ruano Pascual.

"My level in tennis went up a notch," Sharapova said. "Mentally I think I am ready. I really practiced and worked hard on my game. Hopefully I'm mentally fresh."

Seven other Russians are ranked in the WTA's top 30 with the eldest, 22-year-old Anastasia Myskina, the highest seed here at seventh. With top stars missing and other big names missing, a Russian revolution could unfold here.

"As soon as you get to the top, you want to show you are better than the others," said Kuznetsova, ranked 29th. "It's because of mentality. We have a lot of talent in Russia. Not all people are so lucky to get a sponsor."

Elena Dementieva, seeded 11th, was a semi-finalist here in 2000 at age 18. Vera Zvonereva, 18, is seeded 13th with Elena Bovina, 20; Nadia Petrova, 21; and Lina Krasnoroutskaya, 19, also among the Russians eying the third round.

"They just want to be number one in the world," Sharapova said. "They are very talented out there. They want to use their talent and develop it and work hard. They are really fighters out there and they want to be number one."

Taking a set from world number one Kim Clijsters in the third round at Los Angeles earlier this month was no big deal for Sharapova, who has no awe for the elite of the women's game.

"I didn't think I could compete with them. I thought I could beat them," she said. "Taking a set of Clijsters is a great thing but it's not so much because I didn't win the match."

Clijsters hopes that without the Williams sisters, other stars will emerge.

"It would be better for everything if they were here," she said. "Even without them, I think we have so many personalities and different types of players. This could be, even without them, a very interesting Grand Slam."

Still, the new number one has no plans on following Serena into acting.

"I'm not a good actor or anything. I don't see myself doing anything in that direction," Clijsters said. "It creates more opportunities to expand yourself and your personality. You just have to be yourself. That's what Serena and Venus are doing."

Sharapova, who never had a tennis idol, could face American former teen star Jennifer Capriati in the third round. She does not shy away from looking beyond the typical "one match at a time" cliche.

"When I look at the draw, it's not like I hide the second and third round," Sharapova said. "I know this is the US Open. It's not a Tier five (event) in Asia somewhere. It's not like I'm here playing with Barbie dolls."

No, here the Barbie dolls are playing.

Aug 25th, 2003, 07:16 AM
With supermodel looks


Aug 25th, 2003, 07:59 AM
i guess the best tennis player of them all, and cutest they didn't mention.... K I R I L E N K O !!!! :hearts: :hearts: :hearts: :worship: :bounce:

Aug 25th, 2003, 08:31 AM
You begin to realize this is something big."

uh-oh... it's not getting to her head, now is it? :o

Aug 25th, 2003, 10:19 AM
"Kourni-copies" !!!!! :lol:

This is so mean...not kind of you to get down so hard on these players :lol: :angel:

Aug 25th, 2003, 10:59 AM
I thought they were going to mention Kirilenko, but they didn't :sad:

auntie janie
Aug 25th, 2003, 01:20 PM
I look forward to the day when these outstanding players will no longer be compared to Kournikova, but respected for their own unique talents.

I did see ONE article last week about a Russian player or Russian players which did not mention Kourni, but that is by far the exception.

However, as long as a journalist is focussing on looks, outfits, or hype, rather than oncourt performance, the comparisons will go on. And those sportswriters who do not focus on tennis all year almost always discuss looks when it comes to the women. (Because they don't grasp what is happening on the court! ;) )

the cat
Aug 25th, 2003, 03:43 PM
Well said, Janie.

I agree with Daja. Little Masha (Kirilenko) is the female Russian tennis player that most resembles Anna Kournikova. But the media doesn't yet pay much attention to Maria. And that's a good thing.

Aug 25th, 2003, 03:51 PM
I would agree with a Kourni-copies term only in a sense that Anna's example was a great inspiration for most of them.

Aug 25th, 2003, 03:58 PM

auntie janie
Aug 25th, 2003, 05:33 PM
I would agree with a Kourni-copies term only in a sense that Anna's example was a great inspiration for most of them.


But I have to laugh when I think how Elena Dementieva might respond to a reporter asking her if she is a Kourni-copy! :lol:

Aug 25th, 2003, 06:56 PM
Love Anna but comparing her to some of the bigger serving Russians is like comparing Barbie to superwoman.

auntie janie
Aug 25th, 2003, 07:45 PM
Sadly, several of these Russian ladies also do not have serves to write home about! :eek: