Re: Who was more popular in their prime, Kournikova or Sharapova?
Anna by miles. There is something about Sharapova that is very difficult to warm to. Anna on the other hand was loved regardless of her attitude. The French Crowd is always the litmus test and Anna acted like a brat against Novotna in 98 looking to delay the match when it was getting dark so she could play the following day as Novotna at that moment had the momentum and when leaving the court a while later Novotna was the one who was roundly booed whereas Sharapova argues a little and gets booed big time by the French crowd. I'm not saying the French crowd is the be all and end all of judging but if you can win over the harshest GS crowd in the world then that's a very good indicator of your popularity.
RIP Elena Baltacha, thank you for dedicating your life to a sport we all love. You'll be missed but never forgotten.