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Pretty unfair
Don't hate Anna Kournikova because she's beautiful
Posted: Wednesday September 3, 2003 3:01PM; Updated: Wednesday September 3, 2003 5:24PM





Anna, just keep on doing what you do. ... Whatever that may be.
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Well, somebody has to do it. Somebody has to stand up for the oppressed, and so it is I who comes now to the defense of Anna Kournikova.

Good heavens, there is no end to the amount of sneering censure that she endures. Among celebrities, only Madonna receives more criticism, and she asks for it, right?

It's almost as if Kournikova has made it a crime to be pretty -- and remember, before Anna suffered some serious injuries she was a really terrific young player, top 10. But all her jealous critics ever do is remind us that Anna's never won a tournament. It's like part of her name. Anna Kournikova, who's never won a tournament, brushed her teeth this morning.

Hey, I know it's not fair that women's looks matter more than men's. But where Kournikova, who's never won a tournament, is penalized, is with this ridiculous assumption that somehow sports is different from the rest of the world. Terrible actresses get good parts because they're prettier than better actresses. Dreadful singers have hit songs because their figures are better than their voices. Nobody raises a stink. But along comes Kournikova, who's never won a tournament -- not to mention this bevy of other good-looking young female tennis players -- and a lot of women (and some men, too) get positively vicious because male spectators want to watch them.

Hey, may we get real? Males enjoy watching pretty girls doing ... anything ... walking, standing still, sitting ... at work, at school, at church -- yes, even there -- so why should we think anything would be different with men and boys in the sports world? But the equality police get all out of sorts when fans linger longer over blondes than backhands. And it's not as if Kournikova, who's never won a tournament, hurts her sport. Billie Jean King said long ago that if men come out to ogle pulchritude in sneakers, they may stay around long enough to eventually like the tennis.

Given that athletics features bodies, for goodness' sake, it's a little much to expect fans not to notice physical appearance. It ain't just the babes, after all. During this year's U.S. Open, the tabloids have been full of hunks -- sultry photos of a shirtless Andy Roddick, a smoldering Robby Ginepri -- with breathless talk of their show-biz romances. Jim Palmer might have been a Hall of Fame pitcher, but he was better known as an underwear dream. Actress Tara Reid, who certainly doesn't lack for male attention, admitted to having such a crush on New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady that she wrote him a mash note. And, sure, Tiger Woods is a pretty good golfer, but let's be honest: especially compared to his rivals on the golf tour, it doesn't hurt his image that he is one cute guy. If you were trying to make a pinup calendar for the PGA, you couldn't get past April.

The argument against admiring beauty in sports, is based on the premise that because sports are determined by merit, so, too, should popularity be. But other extraneous personal factors have always trumped simple success. We want to know more about the meanest players, and the smartest and the tallest and the shortest, and the mouthiest and the weirdest. Nobody was disturbed when nutsy Dennis Rodman got more publicity than far better players.

Relax, self-appointed arbiters of athletic taste. Relax and admire good-looking athletes, female and male, for being pretty and for playing pretty, both. And Anna, who's never won a tournament, just keep on doing what you do. ... whatever that may be.
 

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DA BACKHAND said:
Don't hate Kournikova because she's beautiful, hate her because she sucks.
:lol:

also this has been posted already.
 

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...people don't hate her because she's beautiful, they hate the amount of attention she gets for it when a) it's not that unusual and b) it's got nothing to do with tennis...posting that article is not going to solve that particular problem... :rolleyes:
 

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Wertheim's reply to Deford's piece:

About your comment last week, "Keep in mind that the no-name player you watched get waxed in 43 minutes by Clijsters or Agassi or Capriati is still among the top 100 practitioners in the world in his or her chosen field." Why doesn't this phrase come to mind when people discuss Anna Kournikova?
--Derek Anderson, Washington, D.C.

Perhaps it should. At least my esteemed colleague Frank Deford thinks so. I would submit that Kournikova is not extended this courtesy because we like to think of popularity in sports as a rough meritocracy. And her appeal, her shameless promotion and self-promotion (and her income) so vastly outranks that of superior players that it's hard to see her as anything but a tennis-playing Barbie doll. :lol:
 

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People don't hate Anna Kournikova.

There are people whio think she got undeserved props, and so they enjoy her lack of success. The beautiful players who win tournaments, and didn't get treated like stars til they DID win tournaments, don't suffer people enjoying their lack of success because they succeed.

Martina Navratilova said it best. "She gets paid to be a sex symbol."
 

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I said it in another thread, but the poster who started it deleted the thread...

Like Volcana said, people don't hate Kournikova. Unlike Roddick or the Williams sisters, what she has accomplished since 2 years is too insignifiant, no one would resent her negatively to the point to "hate" her.

In one sentence: people mock her, but people don't hate her.
 

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Every major celebrity, from George Bush to J. Lo, to everyone else, gets "mocked".
Those who have thin skin learn to stay out of the public eye.
But this comes with celebrity. And everywhere Anna goes, the reaction to her is a fawning, celebrity worship. Even the White Sox and Chiefs.
 

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Stupid article :rolleyes: Meanwhile people don't mock her because she's beautiful and frankly, she doesn't get all the male attention for her beauty (which as we've noted before isn't really all that much anyway). She is being marketed as a sex kitten, and there lies the problem Mr Deford .
 

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Infiniti2001 said:
She is being marketed as a sex kitten, and there lies the problem Mr Deford .
"Troof". Furthermore, Frank set up a false dichotomy: you can't criticize Anna using the game to rake in non-tennis $ sans on-court success without "hating her"? Pul-leeeze! :rolleyes:
 

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goldenlox said:
Every major celebrity, from George Bush to J. Lo, to everyone else, gets "mocked".
Those who have thin skin learn to stay out of the public eye.
But this comes with celebrity. And everywhere Anna goes, the reaction to her is a fawning, celebrity worship. Even the White Sox and Chiefs.
I agree with you to a point. Anna's had to learn to have a thick skin to deal with the mocking she had received. However, I haven't seen a situation where she is worship. In truth, she has been mocked more than worship. To be honest, I sometimes wonder how she copes with it.
 

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I mean that Anna does a lot of autograph signings. And on the court, she never goes through the fan reaction that Justine had to deal with in the semis.
And Anna likes being in the public eye. Why else would she take the USA Network job as a broadcaster? Why is she at this movie premiere in New York?
 

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goldenlox said:
I mean that Anna does a lot of autograph signings. And on the court, she never goes through the fan reaction that Justine had to deal with in the semis.
And Anna likes being in the public eye. Why else would she take the USA Network job as a broadcaster? Why is she at this movie premiere in New York?
I realize that, but there is a disparity between her public image and her image as an athlete. You can't tell me that she is satisfied with merely being labelled a sex kitten. I'm sure that she wants to be something more than that. Unfortunately, these appearances play into that sex kitten image. Moreso, I think the focus on that image has been a distraction from tennis. I really hope she comes back next year and does well. It would be good for tennis and more importantly, it would be good for her.
 

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goldenlox said:
I mean that Anna does a lot of autograph signings. And on the court, she never goes through the fan reaction that Justine had to deal with in the semis.
And Anna likes being in the public eye. Why else would she take the USA Network job as a broadcaster? Why is she at this movie premiere in New York?
Anna was booed off court after her first round USO match in 2002. But perhaps I misunderstood you...
 

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I didn't see the Widjaja match. But I think Armstong was filled with Anna fans. I guess they were reacting to Anna not trying, and then not signing autographs.
But I saw her doubles match that Saturday. Ashe was packed, and Anna was the crowd favorite.
I want Anna to come back healthy next year. I hope her back problems are not a reoccuring injury.
 

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That's true, although no matter what the player's physical appearance I think anyone would have been booed off court if they'd given the miserable display that Kournikova gave in that match, she almost looked as though she was tanking it because of the sheer number of basic errors she made. To be honest, I don't hate her for her fame compared to her lack of success, because realistically I know that she will never achieve that level of success and it isn't worth worrying about.
 

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You know what I mean. Widjaja is not filling up Armstrong.
You were there, right? Was Anna trying hard? Did she want to get off the court.
I didn't see any of it.
 
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