Former pro tennis player says she misses court life
Former tennis star Anna Kournikova set to play an exhibition
match in Toronto.
The line of questioning usually ranges from Sports Illustrated
to National Enquirer whenever tennis pro and pinup star Anna Kournikova becomes available on a conference call.
Yesterday was no exception as Kournikova took a midday break to
promote her appearance in the Tennis Legends portion of the Rogers Cup, Aug. 4-12.
Anyone following the gossip these days is familiar with the May
28 headline trumpeting Kournikova’s break-up with boyfriend-pop star Enrique Iglesias. But over the phone yesterday,
laughing and in good spirits, Kournikova said her relationship with Iglesias is still going strong.
“The status ..... the status is everything is fine and everything
is good,” Kournikova said.
“He’s (Iglesias) out promoting a new album, which comes
out (today) ..... everybody please get one ..... but I couldn’t be happier.”
Naturally, her love life was the topic of interest, and Kournikova
volleyed that one right back like it was a return she used to make six or seven years ago when her world singles ranking bobbed
between the top 10 and the top 100.
Her WTA tour days ended three years ago thanks to a back injury.
She plays now for fun, still a pro, but part of a tour with other name-brand players from the past like Jim Courier and John
McEnroe, who pack in the crowds for charity.
“I get affected by the weather, I get itchy where the screw
is when it rains,” Kournikova said about a foot injury that required surgery.
Kournikova was somewhat introspective yesterday when asked if her
true potential may have been compromised by the Hollywood-style attention that followed her.
Blessed with movie-star looks, she and her bikini-clad body became
a cyberspace hit. Television night show appearances and paparazzi followed. Her media stardom soon outdistanced her development
on the tennis court.
“When you’re good as a child, a child prodigy .....
you’re bound to get attention. Martina (Hingis) got attention when she was young, and most kids do ..... was mine a
lot ..... yes, it was, but it was good and I never knew how big it was,” said Kournikova, who won a pair of WTA doubles
titles with Hingis.
“Did it take away from my game ..... I don’t think
so. There’s things I might have done differently, things like entering certain tournaments, scheduling, things like
that. But you do it while you can.”
When she arrives in Toronto in August, Kournikova will still be
a media magnet. But she says her focus has now moved elsewhere.
“I love working with children, seeing the curiosity in them,”
said Kournikova, who promotes and raises funds for several children’s charities. “If I can help in any way, or
bring awareness to a cause I believe in, I’m satisfied with that.”
Last week, she celebrated her 26th birthday by doing several promotions
— including an appearance on the Today Show for her new children’s exercise video.
Iglesias didn’t forget her 26th, even though it’s been
reported the two have split up.
“No,” she said when asked if the birthday gift was
“I got a piece of jewellery, I got a bracelet ..... I got
a love bracelet.”