She got to #8 at one point, and has beaten all the top players at least once. Is it simply the scrutiny of the press that's causing Anna to choke? On ability alone, she should have won at least one small tourney by now. What do you guys think?
Apr 4th, 2002, 02:54 PM
this topic has been exhaustively covered. most people agree that Anna needs to get herself a proper coach. she is under a lot of pressure now with Adidas' latest stand. perhaps this will force her to turn things around. it's becoming more than a tad embarrassing for her as well as her sponsors. here's the info in case u missed it.
Kournikova's sponsors finally discover that beauty will only ever be skin deep
Thursday April 4, 2002
It took two reporters to produce the 200 words that delivered the following news in yesterday's Sun: Anna Kournikova has been told by her sponsors to start winning a few games. Two hacks for that job. Presumably one was required to conjure up the requisite half-dozen sentences while the other applied a cooling balm to his colleague's forehead as he flicked through the paper's back catalogue of Anna snaps for inspiration. But that is the effect Kournikova has; the ordinary rules don't apply.
Take economics. Professional sport is reckoned the most ruthlessly elitist market known to modern man. Win and the riches of Croesus (or David Beckham as he is now known) rain down on your heavily sponsored new haircut. Lose and you end up Halifaxed: battered, bereft and heading for bankruptcy.
Unless, that is, you are Anna Kournikova. By any standard she is a modest tennis player. In a sport in which even a serial choker such as Tim Henman can expect to pick up at least the Wyoming Open and the Cairns All-Comers Pro-Am every year, she boasts a record in singles of zero tournament wins.
Her best-ever performance was losing a Wimbledon semi in 1997. In fact so ordinary is she, the only surprise is that she is not British. Yet despite her so-far undistinguished career she earns some £6.5m each year in deals with companies anxious to be associated with her photogenic frame. This is the sportswoman who has happened upon the cheery financial equation previously thought to have been mastered only by the chief executives of privatised utilities: it doesn't matter how useless your performance, the money keeps rolling in.
Until now, that is. Now, according to the breathless twosome at the Sun, Adidas, the principal provider of her booty, is demanding a little return for its outlay. It wants the reflected glory of Anna atop the winner's podium clutching some silverware, rather than being snapped astride a motorbike clutching some Latino hunk. It wants small girls across the globe to pester their parents into buying a certain brand of footwear in the belief that it will help them win something. Not to be linked with a player so deep down the world rankings you need breathing equipment just to locate her name.
The woman herself will no doubt argue that - wins or no wins - she earns her corn. Public relations executives calculate that a mention in editorial copy is roughly five times more valuable to a brand than advertising. A picture is worth even more. And, thanks largely to the attentions of the British tabloids, Kournikova is undoubtedly the most photographed brand model in world sport. At last year's Wimbledon the Daily Star made contingency plans in the likely event that its heroine would fail to proceed beyond the opening knockabout and printed a picture of her every day throughout the tournament anyway, complete with a corny caption about terrific drop shots.
Quite when self-parody crosses the line into self-abuse is clearly not something that worries the publishers of the Star, but even so Kournikova provided her patrons on that occasion with acres of newsprint. Add to that the calendars, the posters and the appearances in the gossip columns, and she could claim to be pulling her perfectly formed weight.
Besides, this is a game her sponsors know inside out: in the opening rounds of every grand slam she is decked out in the latest of sporting haute couture, always tailored to her curves, in the certain knowledge it will occupy every tabloid front page the following morning.
The trouble is, in the end, that being the world's favourite screensaver is not as helpful to her sponsors' ambitions to shift more product as winning occasionally. Are the million one-handed web browsers who boot up to her image every day, for instance, aware of the revolutionary moisture-wicking ClimaLite fabric which has been used in the construction of her latest on-court playsuit with half-zip tank? Worse, are they even remotely bothered that her revolutionary sports bra with Coolmax technology that reduces breast movement by 56% is made by Berlei?
Kournikova did her best to buck the trend, but it appears normal service has been resumed. In the end, in sport, Adam Smith rules of economics will always apply: to the victor the spoils. Which is why, in this ultimate meritocracy, while the most photogenic practitioner around is facing a financial ultimatum, the queue outside Ruud van Nistelrooy's agent's office currently stretches round the block. The bloke may look like Tony McCoy's latest mount, but he is unquestionably that most sought-after of sporting products: a winner.
Apr 4th, 2002, 03:06 PM
I think she has the ability but has chosen not to make tennis her #1 priority. Period. You can't win without some commitment.
Apr 4th, 2002, 03:10 PM
I might need to be corrected as well but i dont think that Anna has ever beaten Venus Williams. Iam not too sure about Serena.
Anyway, I think that Anna's problems are mostly mental. She does not seem to be able to sustain good play for the whole tournament. She also does not have good tactics most of the time. She seems to be very fragile mentally. Players seem to feel that even if she is leading, with enough pressure she can always crack. I also think she feels a lot of pressure as well during tournaments, which might explain why she is always beating mos tof the good players in exhibitions. i mean really players know how much they are going to earn, and they do not have to earn eany points, and Anna can play with abondon, which is not the case during tournaments.
Plus she also needs a coach, a reduce all the off court distractions, and train harder to be stronger, otherwise she will always wilt in tight and longer matches.
Apr 4th, 2002, 04:02 PM
I'd put most of her problems down to tactics. She has all of the shots, but doesn't know how to use them. No gameplans. She's fast, volleys well, moves well at net. The problem is how she gets there (and where she goes). Bad tactics leave too many openings for the top players to exploit.
As a result, when any part of her game goes off, it all goes off. She doesn't adjust. For example, when Venus is struggling with her serve, or her forehand goes off, she knows enough to go into retrieval mode and keep the ball in play until she gets her "feel" back. That's what made the difference in Venus's transition from quarterfinalist to slam champion. It could easily transform Anna from someone who reaches tournament semis and finals to someone who wins them.
As it is, the longer it goes on, the more the mental pressure builds.
Apr 4th, 2002, 04:08 PM
Yes it's mental:
Apr 4th, 2002, 05:27 PM
I think the original question is a huge understatement. What else could it be?