Name: Anna Kournikova
Birth: June 7, 1981
Place of Birth: Moscow, Russia
Occupation: Tennis player & Model
Sign: Sun in Gemini
Anna was born in Moscow, Russia, June 7, 1981. Anna is a world class star professional tennis player. Her lean athletic body is truly distracting. Anna's parents who travel with her, are Alla and Sergei, and they refer to her as "Murzik", that means "my little pet" in Russian. She received her first tennis racquet at 5 years old when her parents sold their TV to buy her a present for Christmas. She graduated from a Russian high school in 1997.
"I found my first racquets under the Christmas tree," Anna says, "but I found out later that my parents sold one of their TVs to get me those racquets."
Sergei and Alla Kournikova knew that their lives would change when they brought daughter Anna into the world on June 7, 1981. They just didn't know the entire tennis world would soon be turned upside down as well.
Both Sergei, a natural athlete who wrestled professionally and coached tennis part-time, and Alla encouraged their daughter to take part in physical activity at an early age. When she turned five, Anna received a Christmas gift that would change her life.
From that moment, Anna has rarely put down her racquet. She started hitting at Moscow's Soklniki Park and soon was a member of the prestigious Spartak Tennis Club, coached by the husband of Russian pro Olga Morozova.
At eight, Anna Kournikova began appearing in junior clinics and quickly caught the eye of local tennis scouts. Still, she says, her childhood was "regular, average" as she spent a lot of time shopping, going to amusement parks and spending time with friends.
At nine years old, Anna Kournikova was spotted playing in the Kremlin Cup in Moscow, and was offered the opportunity to train at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Bradenton, Florida. When Anna was only 13 years old she made it to the final in the Rolex Orange Bowl tournament. There, she unfortunately lost to 18 year old Spaniard Marion Ramon. The revenge for Anna would come as soon as the next year. Then, Anna made it all the way to the final again and there she defeated Sandra Nacuk of Yugoslavia. In 1999, she won her first Grand Slam title with Martina Hingis at doubles in the Australian Open. Though a top ten singles player, Anna's only Grand Slam title to date came in the 1999 Australian open Ladies' Doubles with Hingis. Anna is one of the most glamorous of the new generation of women players.
Anna says she would like to be an actress. She also likes reading, listening to music, watching TV, dancing, going to parties, swimming, giving tennis coaching to children, and she is also quite interested in ice hockey. Anna has collected dolls from every country she has visited.
Though not yet the world's best tennis player, Anna Kournikova has gained extra popularity due to her good looks and sometimes extravagant behavior and posing as a model. In 2000, she was named the most searched for athlete on the internet and for many years has been the world's best known female athlete.
Presently endorsed by Adidas, Yonex, Berlei the famous sports bra, Omega, and Lycos. Anna has certainly come a long way from the days when her parents could hardly afford to buy her a tennis racket.
Anna's earnings for 1999 stood at $11 million for endorsements alone, and they have surely increased by now, making her the highest paid female tennis player. As a cover girl, Anna was named one of People
magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People in the World in 1998, and graced the cover of Sports Illustrated's June 2000 edition.
Anna has raised the profile of the ladies game to new levels, and she is a major worldwide celebrity, with a lifestyle to match her supermodel looks.