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http://asia.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=sportsNews&storyID=2674885

Kournikova Takes Step Back in Bid to Rebuild Career
Fri May 2, 2003 12:17 PM ET

By Pritha Sarkar
LONDON (Reuters) - Anna Kournikova's radical 'back-to-basics' plan will at long last get underway at Sea Island in Georgia on Monday.

The Russian pin-up will get a taste of the lower echelons of the sport for the first time in seven years when she steps on court to rebuild her shattered confidence at the $25,000 ITF Women's Circuit Tournament.

"As of today, Kournikova's still in the draw and will be playing at Sea Island on Monday," an ITF spokesman said on Friday.

Realizing the need to arrest her spectacular fall from grace, Kournikova turned down a wildcard from the more lucrative $1.26 million German Open -- which also takes place next week -- to compete at the low-key ITF event.

Kournikova last played competitively at the Family Circle Cup in Charleston, South Carolina, three weeks ago when she was forced to retire from her second-round match with a thigh strain.

The 21-year-old had intended to begin her long road back to form at another ITF event in Dothan, Alabama last month but the injury put her plans on hold for two weeks.

The U.S.-based Russian decided to test her skills on the lower levels of professional tennis following four first-round defeats in the five WTA tournaments she has played this year.

Without a WTA title after spending more than seven years on the tour, Kournikova's off-court exploits have far overshadowed her tennis career.

Having reached the Wimbledon semi-finals in 1997 as a precocious 16-year-old talent, the Russian has since failed to deliver the goods on court.

Her world ranking, and confidence, have been on the slide since she reached a career-high eighth in May 2001.

Now ranked a lowly 67th, Kournikova is no longer considered a serious title contender on the WTA tour but remains the most photographed woman in sport.

In just over a week, she will therefore be hoping to add a third Women's Circuit title to her name.

So far her trophy cabinet only holds the $50,000 Midland, Texas crown and the $25,000 Rockford, Illinois title, both won seven years ago when she last played at this level.
 

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I hope she come back to top ;)
 

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Good decision Anna!
 

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come on Anna, you can do it:bounce:
 

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bis2806 said:
go anna!!!! go for your LStreak :)
idiot. make your own thread, moron!
 

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It's a smart move. When you get injured, your ranking falls, then you run into seeds earlier, then you lose matches, which makes you rusty from lack of matchplay, which causes your ranking to fall further, which causes you to meet seeds earlier, etc. All of this takes a toll on your confidence.

As a few tennis commentators have noted in their more lucid moments, the difference between the top and not-quite-top players isn't in their shots or skills, it's in the confidence they have in those, and knowing they can rely on them when they need them.

Andre did it. Chanda did it. When you're trying to rebuild your game, nothing helps more than winning.

Interestingly, if Anna does win this title (which she should), will more writers finally be forced to make the distinction "hasn't won a WTA title", or will they stupidly (and inaccurately) refer to this as her first "pro" title?
 

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Brian Stewart said:
Interestingly, if Anna does win this title (which she should), will more writers finally be forced to make the distinction "hasn't won a WTA title", or will they stupidly (and inaccurately) refer to this as her first "pro" title?
When they talk about titles it means WTA title anyway, so i dont think they will start adding WTA to the start. ITF titles arent included in the 'title count'. Anna has already won ITF titles anyway.
 

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I hope she wins and comes back and plays well just to show everyone she can still play great tennis - is she still being coached by Solomon?
 

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It's a good idea for Anna to step down to the Challengers to rebuild her confidence, for all the reasons Brian gave. I have no idea why she's playing a $25k when there's a $75k in St Gaudens next week as well, though... top 100 players should never play $25k events ( :rolleyes: at Amy Frazier, who is also inexplicably here). Surely her confidence isn't shattered so much that she can't take a $75k Challenger?
 
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