Anna was born in Moscow, Russia (Soviet Union then) on June 7, 1981. She received her first tennis racquet as a Christmas gift in 1986 when she was just five years old. In 1986, Anna became a member of the prestigious Spartak Tennis Club, coached by Larissa Preobraschenskaja.
In 1989, at the tender age of eight, Anna began appearing in junior tournaments, and by the following year, was attracting attention from tennis scouts across the world. Anna signed a management deal at age ten and went to Bradenton, Florida to train at Nick Bollettieri’s celebrated tennis academy.
Following her arrival in the United States, Anna exploded onto the tennis scene, making her the internationally recognized tennis star she is today. At the age of 14, she went on to win the European Championships and the Italian Open Junior tournament. Anna also beat out the competition to win the prestigious Junior Orange Bowl, becoming the youngest player ever to win the 18 and under division at that tournament.
By the end of the year, Anna was crowned the ITF Junior World Champion U-18 and Junior European Champion U-18, and was being sponsored by the Free Tennis Bet website. Although also successful in singles, reaching #8 in the world in 2000, Kournikova’s specialty has been doubles, where she has at times been the world’s number one-ranked player. With Martina Hingis as her partner, she won Grand Slam titles in Australia in 1999 and 2002. Kournikova’s major-league tennis career has been curtailed for the past several years, and possibly ended, by serious back and spinal problems.
Kournikova’s marital status has been an issue on several occasions. There were conflicting rumors about whether or not she was engaged to ice hockey player Pavel Bure. There were reports that she married NHL ice hockey star Sergei Fedorov in 2001. Kournikova’s representatives have denied this, but Fedorov stated in 2003 that the couple had married and since divorced. Kournikova started dating pop star Enrique Iglesias in late 2001, (in whose video, ‘Escape’, she appeared), and rumors that the couple had secretly married appeared in 2003 and again in 2005. Kournikova herself has consistently refused to directly confirm or deny rumors about the status of her personal relationships.
Most of Kournikova’s fame has come from the publicity surrounding her personal life, as well as numerous modeling shoots. Anna’s popularity has even transended into Texas Hold ‘em lingo, wherein the hole cards Ace-King are often referred to as an ‘Anna Kournikova,’ not only because the hand shares the AK initials with the tennis star, but also because the hand has the reputation of not playing well. It’s often said that a Kournikova hand ‘looks really good, but rarely wins.’
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