In the tennis world, few personalities have achieved great success in the game as well as thriving tremendously outside the court, particularly in the entertainment industry. Anna Kournikova easily comes to mind when you think of such people. She is a renowned former top-seeded Russian tennis player who smashed many records at the international level, becoming the WTA Newcomer of the year in 1996 and the youngest Russian player to win the Fed Cup competition.
Anna won a total of 16 doubles WTA titles and 2 ITF singles titles, achieving her career-high WTA singles ranking of World No.8 on the 20th of November 2000 along with becoming the World No.1 in doubles ranking on the 22nd of November 1999. Kournikova has also done some works as an actress and model by making appearances in movies, TV series, and top-notch modeling magazines. Nonetheless, her exploits mostly as a doubles player have registered Anna’s name in the sand of time as she will always be remembered among the greatest female tennis players of all-time.
Anna Kournikova’s Birth Into a Sports Inclined Family Influenced Her Career Choice
The pretty tennis star who started playing tennis at the tender age of 5 was born as Anna Sergeyevna Kournikova in Moscow, Russia on the 7th of June 1981. She was born into a family that has a background in sports as her father, Sergei Kournikova, is a former champion in Greco-Roman wrestling, a part-time teacher of martial arts, and a professor at Moscow’s University of Physical Culture and Sports. Her mother Alla Kournikova is a former 400-meter athlete.
Likewise, her younger brother Allan Kournikova is a golfer who has won the Youth Golf World Championship, he made an appearance in the 2013 film, The Short Game.
She Began Participating in Junior Tennis Competitions When She Was Eight
After receiving a tennis racket as a new year gift at the age of 5, Kournikova began playing tennis with the encouragement of her father at Soklniki Park Tennis Club before joining Spartak Tennis Club under the tutelage of Larissa Preobrazhenskaya in 1986.
She started to participate in junior competitions when she was eight years old and before long, her extraordinary performances began to attract scouts across the globe, which later led her to sign a contract with Paul Theofanous, an International Management Group (IMG) at the age of 10.
Soon after that, Anna Kournikova moved to the USA and enrolled in the iconic Nick Bollettieri tennis academy in Bradenton, Florida. After training for a few years, the young star began making waves in the sports and eventually cemented her place among the high fliers in her early teens.
Anna Became a Star in The World of Tennis at The Age of 14
Kournikova’s meteoric rise to stardom started at the age of 14 when she announced herself in the world of tennis by winning the Junior European Championship, Italian Open Junior Competition, and became the youngest player to win the under 18 Junior Orange Bowl.
More so, Enrique Iglesia’s partner clinched both the under 18 ITF Junior World Championship and Junior European Championship in the year 2005.
From there, she went on to win 2 ITF titles in Illinois and Michigan and Fed Cup for Russia in the following year, thereby becoming the youngest Russian player to win the Fed Cup.
In all, the comely athlete won 16 doubles WTA titles and 2 ITF singles.
She Took a Bow from Professional Tennis in Her Early 20s
Despite achieving great success in her tennis career, Anna Kournikova couldn’t continue with her massive exploits especially as a doubles player with her partner, Martina Hingis, as a result of incessant injury setbacks.
She eventually retired from professional tennis at the age of 21 due to chronic back pains and spinal problems. She made her last Women’s Tennis Association match appearance at the Family Circle Cup held in Charleston in 2003; she dropped out in the first round because of injury.
With her performance being marred by injuries in her final playing years, Anna’s world ranking dropped drastically at the end of her professional career in the year 2003. She was ranked at No. 305 in singles and No. 176 in doubles. Nevertheless, she has continued to show off her athletic prowess in several exhibition matches for charitable causes to date. In the year 2005, she played as a doubles player for the Indian Ocean tsunami charity event.
Similarly, in late 2008, Kournikova took part in Billie Jean King and Elton John’s exhibition match for the annual charity event which garnered over $400,000 for the Atlanta AIDS Partnership Fund, as well as Elton John AIDS Foundation. The highly skilled athlete further participated in her first competitive tennis match since retirement in 2010 when she reunited with Martina Hingis for the Invitational Ladies Doubles event held at Wimbledon. Kournikova and her doubles partner emerged victorious in the competition, defeating Anne Hobbs and Samantha Smith.
The Tennis Star Has Also Thrived as an Actress and Model
Apart from establishing a successful career in tennis, Anna Kournikova has also made big hits in the entertainment industry as an actress and model. The highlights of her acting works include featuring alongside Renee Zellweger and Jim Carrey in the 2000 movie, Me, Myself & Irene, as well as making an appearance as a trainer in the 2010 NBC TV series, The Biggest Loser.
So far, the gorgeous actress has modeled for top brands like Adidas and Berlei’s sports bras. She has also been featured as a cover for widely-read magazines like Maxim, People, and Sports Illustrated. In addition to that, she was listed among the 50 Most Beautiful People in 1998 by People Magazine and also emerged as FHM’s World’s Sexiest Woman in 2002.
She Dated Hunky Sportsmen Before Meeting Enrique Iglesias
Although the former pro tennis player is often making headlines in recent times as Enrique Iglesias’ lover, she constantly made the news in the late 90s and early 2000s as a result of her love life with other men.
While being romantically connected to Russian NHL ice hockey player, Sergei Fedorov, Anna Kournikova was also reported to be romantically involved with another Russian pro ice hockey player, Pavel Bure, with whom she got acquainted in 1991.
In the following year, Anna and Pavel were speculated to have been engaged but they refuted the rumor immediately. It was also claimed that the beauteous sports personality tied the knots with Sergei Fedorov in the year 2001 and then separated two years later. Anna’s representative didn’t waste any time in disavowing Sergei’s claims.
Anna Kournikova and Her Music Star Partner Have Been in a Loving Relationship for Many Years
The model started a romantic relationship with renowned musician, Enrique Iglesia, after appearing in his ‘Escape’ music video in 2001. The couple managed to hide their relationship as well as Anna’s pregnancy from the media.
Anna Kournikova shares a twin, Nicholas Iglesia and Lucy Iglesia, born in South Miami Hospital on the 16th of December 2017 with her longtime partner.
On January 30th, 2020, another baby girl christened Mary Iglesia joined the family. Down the years, the two have kept their relationship away from the public. As such, it’s still unknown whether they had a private wedding in the past or are yet to exchange marital vows.
For what it’s worth, they seem like a perfect match; purely made for each other and have remained together for over 18 years.