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SerialKiller#69
Apr 2nd, 2004, 07:45 PM
Anna Kournikova didn't say that. Here's the article for the fans and supporters only. NO UNNECESSARY COMMENTS PLEASE.

KHALEEJ TIMES ONLINE
ANNA AND THE RING
By Farha Sait

1 April 2004



Her 'court'ship with tennis may have gone a bit sour, but her love affair with the crowds, specially the testosterone charged addicts, has never been sweeter.

http://66.234.3.46/images/coverstory0104_2.jpgAnd with news of the reported $5 million ring gifted to her by Spanish loverboy, Enrique Iglesias, looks like Anna Kournikova won't ever have to practise her serves to stay in the news.

But tennis' blue-eyed bombshell who reportedly collects a cool $13 million annually in endorsements alone, isn't too pleased with such stories doing the rounds. "I've just stopped caring about them and am keen to concentrate on my tennis instead," she said in an exclusive interview with Weekend in Dubai. She was cooling her heels before taking off to the endurance races at Nad Al Sheba.

The blonde Russian who didn't fare much better as a roving TV reporter than she did as a globe-trotting tennis ingenue, thinks rumour-mongers are having a field day at her cost. "They just say what they want. Put words in my mouth and attribute things I never said in my wildest dreams," she exclaims. "Imagine having said that I am like a menu in an expensive restaurant. Men can look at me, but not everyone can afford me. I've never said anything like that in my entire life."

While the news of her supposed engagement to the Spanish singing sensation has been doing the rounds since early March, any prospect of popping that question is dismissed at the outset as publicists and PR officials closely guarding her insist, "no personal questions can feature during the interview or else it might upset Anna".

http://66.234.3.46/images/coverstory0104_3.jpgNo harm asking if she likes diamonds though. "Well," she pursed her lips as if sensing where it might lead. "I have passed that stage where I am into diamonds and jewellery and that sort of thing. Now, I just wear simple things like my Omega," she said flashing a hunk of a watch strapped onto her wrist.

Dressed in black jeans and a sheer black shirt, the 22-year-old looked about as stunning as one possible can without make-up on, or the customary fuss and fanfare that one would expect a star of her stature to be surrounded with.

Surprisingly, nothing of the sort accosted the senses as we met up with her at a rather low-key affair. There were just two other people from her entourage in the room and they too were friendly and hassle-free. There was a mirror close to where she was seated and in between meetings she positioned herself before it, tossing her flaxen mane and pouring herself some coffee. "This feels like home," she said taking a slow sip and sitting back to relax.

And while last year she was here in connection with the Dubai Championships WTA, this visit was in support of Omega's involvement in the Triple Crown Endurance Challenge Series that happened last Thursday and Anna, billed the company's star ambassador, presented one of their timepieces to the winner as a fitting tribute to their level of endurance.

http://66.234.3.46/images/coverstory0104_4.jpg"I've been to Dubai before and I love the place, the culture and even the cuisine. However, this time my schedule will not allow time for anything other than the races. I am leaving tonight," said the star who admittedly loves travelling and packs in a neat schedule everywhere she goes. "I try to have fun whenever I travel, doing something funky and unusual. That's the real me. I wouldn't describe myself as the shy sort of a person anyway," said the player who despite a chronic back injury that has blighted her career refuses to write off tennis from her agenda.

"Tennis is and will continue to remain my number one priority and I cannot insist this enough. As an athlete you must expect injuries and you must learn to deal with them, frustrating though it may be," she continues to say despite a recent media frenzy where British tabloids had a field day splashing up that 'Miss Sex on Legs is hanging up her racket'. Anna insists that isn't true but acceeds that with an impending back surgery, her practice sesions have been reduced considerably. Thus making room for 'other' engagements - television, music videos and the recent stint as a roving reporter during the last US Open that made sceptics state that 'her TV skills actually make her tennis seem better.'

No dispute however, it keeps her rolling in millions. And today, she sells everything from sports clothes to sponsor slots, seats to sports bras. It's a phenomena known as the 'Kournikova Factor' and nothing sells quite like it. Little wonder she is one of the highest paid stars on the circuit despite the irony of being its most celebrated loser who is yet to claim her first trophy in eight years as a professional.

But she has done more than just feed the media frenzy and make a cool buck while the going's good. Kournikova is credited with having paved the way for an increasing number of Russians to enter the tennis circuit. And as of today with five players in the top 20 and 10 in the top 50, Russia is clearly taking over from the US as the primary force in world tennis.

For Anna who made a very promising debut at Wimbeldon in 1997 and was predicted as having all that it takes to make it big, did not unfortunately go on to hit the glory that was laid out for her. But she clearly has little to be sorry for and everything to look forward to. Tennis or not. It's not quite Ova for her. Not yet.

SerialKiller#69
Apr 2nd, 2004, 07:47 PM
From another article HoustonChronicle.Com by Hoffman



"Yeah, I'm an old woman," she laughed. "I never said I retired. I definitely have the desire to return. I only want to come back if I'm 100 percent, if my body can withstand the six-hours-a-day practices and playing matches. I don't want to do it halfway.

"I've always been a risk-taker. I've always gone for more crazier things. I'm very creative. It's boring for me to play a safe game. I always try to outsmart or out-trick the other person. "I'm a risk-taker on the court. Off the court, too. That's just my personality."

the cat
Apr 2nd, 2004, 07:50 PM
The article mentioned impending back surgery for Anna. I don't believe that because Anna put off back surgery last spring to rehab her ailing back.