ANNA KOURNIKOVA: The Rise And Fall Of One Of The Most polarising Athletes In Sports

anna kournikova in a bikini

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You may have forgotten about tennis celebrity Anna Kournikova, but the retired star celebrates her 31st birthday today.Kournikova took the tennis world by storm in the 1990s, gaining as much attention for her good looks as her tennis ability.

But Kournikova’s career is largely considered a disappointment.

Once a highly-touted phenom, she failed to live up to her potential before ultimately finding her niche off the court.

Anna was born June 7th, 1981, into a modest living situation in Moscow

She first played tennis at age 5, and grew up watching icons like Steffi Graf and Monica Seles

At age 10 she was a highly-touted prospect and moved to the legendary Nick Bollettieri tennis academy in Florida and began playing in juniors tournaments

At age 15, she was rumoured to be in a relationship with 27-year-old Sergei Federov of the Detroit Red Wings. Federov claims the two were later married in 2001, but Kournikova denies this.

That same year, Kournikova made her Grand Slam debut, reaching the fourth round of the U.S. Open before losing to Steffi Graf

Anna's singles ranking shot up to No. 69 after the U.S. Open, and she was named WTA Newcomer of the Year

It seemed that Anna was a growing star. At Wimbledon in 1997, she made it to the semifinals, losing to Martina Hingis. It would be her best ever singles run in a Grand Slam

Just a few months later, Kournikova beat Hingis en route to a tournament final, only to lose to 18-year-old Venus Williams.

Anna found her niche in doubles play. In 1999, she teamed up with Hingis to win the Australian Open. The team would end the year ranked No. 1 in doubles

Even though her singles results had gotten worse, her celebrity was booming. In 1999, Kournikova made $11 million in endorsements

Anna then moved to Miami, where she was caught in highly-publicized love triangle with Federov and Florida Panthers star Pavel Bure

She made the cover of Sports Illustrated in June of 2000. That year, Kournikova rose to the No. 8 singles ranking, her best ever

It was all downhill from there. In 2001 she suffered a stress fracture in her foot and needed surgery

She would get one more marquee win with Hingis, capturing the 2002 Australian Open doubles title

Anna's competitive career was over by 2003. She finished the season ranked No. 305 in singles and No. 176 in doubles. She never won a singles tournament

Kournikova earned just over $3 million from tennis, but she's still actively modelling and her net worth is valued around $50 million


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