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Weight: 123 lbs. (56 kg)
Birth Name: Anya Kournikova
Birth Date: June 7, 1981
Birth Place: Moscow, Russia
Residence: Miami, FL USA
Status: Pro (October 1995)
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Enrique Iglesias and Anna Kournikova's Twins Support Different World Cup Teams(6/18/18) Now this is some healthy family competition!
Soccer super fans Anna Kournikova and Enrique Iglesias recently shared photos of their twins rooting for different teams in the World Cup.
In an image posted to Kournikova's Instagram four days ago, one of her adorable babies held a stuffed World Cup ball as the Russia v. Saudi Arabia game played on TV in the background. The tennis pro shared her support for her home team by writing, "#GoRussia."
Two days later, Iglesias shared his own photo, this time supporting Spain as the team took on Portugal. In his shot, his baby sat on his shoulders as he wrapped himself in a Spain scarf.
Both of the family's favorite teams have moved forward in the cup, with Russia defeating Saudi Arabia 5-0, and Spain advancing after a 3-3 tie with Portugal.
Iglesias and Kournikova welcomed their twins, whom they named Lucy and Nicholas, on Dec. 16, 2017, in Miami. Notoriously private, the couple surprised fans with the news after the birth.
The pair has been dating since 2001 after the tennis star appeared in the singer's video for his song "Escape."
Since announcing their new additions, the pair has made it clear that sports will be a big part of their children's lives. In April, Iglesias shared a post of the twins watching soccer, which he captioned, "Game Day!!"
Fingers crossed that the twins will inherit their parents musical and athletic abilities.
Anna Kournikova Tells Her Baby 'Please Don't Inherit My Moves' While Dancing to Enrique Iglesias(5/24/18) (Video) Anna Kournikova may have moves on the tennis court, but she joked that her moves on the dance floor may need more practice.
In a new video shared on Instagram Wednesday, the retired athlete, 36, showed off some playful arm and hip choreography as she held one of her five-month-old twins in a baby carrier.
“Little one, please don’t inherit my dance moves,” the mom of two captioned the footage.
And the song the pair was dancing to was extra special: A snippet of Kournikova’s longtime partner Enrique Iglesias‘ new Pitbull-assisted song “Move to Miami” played in the background.
Kournikova and Iglesias, 42, welcomed the twins in December 2017. The couple named their son and daughter, Nicholas and Lucy, according to TMZ.
One month later, in January, the pair, who have been together for nearly 11 years, shared the first pictures of their newborns, confirming the news that they are now parents.
Kournikova and Iglesias are famously private, and rarely photographed out and about together — likely why there were no bump sightings ahead of the twins’ arrival.
But earlier this month, she shared the first throwback photo of her baby bump at 37 weeks pregnant.
Anna Kournikova Wants to Work Out but Her Dogs Have Other Plans(2/28/18) (Video) Anna Kournikova is a master of multitasking and not getting distracted easily.
The former tennis star shared a video of herself in her backyard as she was ready for a good sweat sesh. In the clip, we see her using a chair to help her with her workout while her dogs with Enrique Iglesias have other, other plans. The new mother of twins tries to stay focused while the pooches play behind her but she laughs for a minute and asks, "What's going on?"
She then centers herself and continues her workout with a smile on her face.
The former tennis star and the "El Baño" singer welcomed twins, a boy, and a girl, in December.
According to TMZ, the twins are named Nicholas and Lucy and were born on December 16, 2017, in Miami.
This news came as a surprise to many fans of the low-key couple, who managed to keep the pregnancy private for nine months! Anna, 36, and singer Enrique, 42, have been together for 16 years and are clearly very good at keeping their relationship very private.
Earlier this year, fans were even more surprised when the couple shared photos of their twins.
"My sunshine," he captioned the touching photo with his newborn child.
Shortly after, the former tennis star shared a different photo with the other twin baby along with the same caption, "My sunshine."
Anna Kournikova Shows Off Post-Baby Body Month After Announcement of Twins' Birth: 'Back at It'(1/29/18) (Video) Anna Kournikova has been working hard in the gym!
The new mom of twins, 36, shared a video of her workout on Instagram Monday, showing off her extension stretches. “#monday #backatit,” Kournikova captioned the footage along with a flexed bicep emoji.
The tennis pro and longtime partner Enrique Iglesias, who have been together for over a decade and a half, welcomed twins —a boy and a girl named Nicholas and Lucy— in December in Miami.
The newborn babies are the first children for both Iglesias, 42, and Kournikova.
Kournikova’s workout clip comes weeks after the proud parents shared adorable first photos of their twins on Jan. 16.
The “El Baño” singer snuggled up to son Nicholas, who sported a gray striped onesie and matching hat while the mother of two posted a photo of herself kissing baby girl Lucy’s cheek.
And the pair isn’t the only ones gushing over the new additions.
Iglesias’ mother, Isabel Preysler, gushed about her grandchildren’s bond with their father to Hola magazine, saying, “Enrique is extraordinarily happy.”
About Kournikova’s low-key pregnancy, Preysler recalled: “It was a perfectly normal pregnancy, she didn’t have to do mandatory bed rest at any time. Anna hasn’t had to hide. She has a very simple and homey life.”
In addition, Enrique’s sister, Tamara Falcó Preysler, also told the publication that her niece and nephew already have distinct similarities to their parents.
“Lucy looks more like Anna, she is blonde and has blue eyes, and Nico looks more like Enrique, more morenito [a little darker],” she said.
Enrique Iglesias, Anna Kournikova share pics of twins(1/16/18) (Pic1, Pic2) Pop superstar Enrique Iglesias has broken his silence about becoming a first-time father after debuting one of his newborn twins on social media.
The Hero hitmaker and his longtime girlfriend Anna Kournikova hit headlines in December amid reports suggesting they had secretly welcomed twins – a son named Nicholas and a daughter called Lucy – in Miami, Florida.
The famously-private couple didn’t comment on the news at the time, but as the babies turned one month old this week, Enrique took to Instagram to share his joy at fatherhood.
“My Sunshine,” the proud dad captioned a photo of himself snuggling with his sleeping child, whose identity has not been revealed. The tot sported a grey and white striped onesie as Enrique, wearing a grey hooded sweatshirt, lay his head beside the baby and gazed at his little one.
Former tennis star Anna has since also posted a picture of her own, holding up one of the babies, dressed in an all-grey onesie, as she plants a big kiss on the child’s cheek. She used the same caption, and also failed to indicate if she was showing off Nicholas or Lucy.
The snaps give fans a rare glimpse into the couple’s private life.
Anna and Enrique, who have been dating since 2001, managed to keep her entire pregnancy under wraps until days after she gave birth, but fans have become used to the couple’s penchant for secrecy, as the sportswoman and the singer are rarely spotted out in public together and hardly ever comment on rumours surrounding their relationship.
Last year, Iglesias revealed his own dad, fellow singing superstar Julio, had yet to meet his girlfriend.
“They have to meet at some point,” he said, according to The Sun newspaper, adding that Anna and his father are rarely in the same country at the same time.
Enrique Iglesias, Anna Kournikova Drop $600k to Upgrade Home for Twins(12/21/17) New parents Enrique Iglesias and Anna Kournikova are going all Donald Trump to make their Miami mansion a fortress of privacy for their twins.
We broke the story ... Anna gave birth to the twins, a boy and a girl, and while she was secretly pregnant, the couple started building a huge 16-foot-tall wall around their Miami home. Construction started in late summer, deep into Anna's 2nd trimester.
According to city building permits, they're also adding a 2-story single family residence to their property -- along with baby-proofing measures, like a "child barrier for pools."
The wall makes sense. Privacy is totally Enrique and Anna's M.O. -- since they clearly went though a whole pregnancy without anyone ever knowing.
The docs say the home makeover will cost $600k when it's all said and done.
Surprise! Enrique Iglesias and Anna Kournikova welcome twins(12/16/17) Enrique Iglesias is a new dad – to twins.
The pop star and his longtime girlfriend Anna Kournikova welcomed the babies over the weekend, according to multiple sources.
The pregnancy and birth come as a huge surprise to both stars’ fans as no one but close friends and family even knew the former tennis ace was expecting.
Sources tell TMZ Anna gave birth to a baby boy and a girl on Saturday in Miami, Florida, and the newborns’ names are Nicholas and Lucy, but this has not been confirmed by the new parents or any of their representatives, who have keep the news from the media for much of 2017.
The couple’s privacy was protected by the fact Kournikova has been out of the public eye for over a year, prompting ongoing questions about the state of the pair’s romance.
Iglesias and his sportswoman girlfriend have been together since 2001, but they have rarely been spotted out together and keep their romance well away from prying eyes.
There have been ongoing split and marriage stories for years, but neither the singer nor his partner have confirmed any rumour about their private life together.
Inside Enrique Iglesias and Anna Kournikova's Under-the-Radar 16-Year Relationship(12/15/17) How can you have a 16-year relationship in Hollywood and keep it under the radar? It's possible, just ask Enrique Iglesiasand Anna Kournikova—They're pros.
The two met on the singer's "Escape" music video and quickly started dating. The former tennis star was 20 and Iglesias was 26 years old. Fast forward to present day, and the two live a seemingly quiet life on a private island in Miami Beach.
So does the recipe for a successful Hollywood relationship include few joint public appearances, no social media post about one another and lots of dogs? It might, well, at least this is what seems to work for Enrique and Anna.
For such a private couple that they are, it's ironic that their first moments together and even their first kiss was caught on camera by MTV's Making of the Video which was on the set of "Escape" where Anna played the singer's love interest.
"No, no, I've never met her before. But I'm a big fan," the star said eagerly. "Ya, I'm sure a lot of guys want to meet her, you know. I'm one of them. She's beautiful, talented, great tennis player. And I'm sure she's going to be great in the video."
The on-screen chemistry turned out to be just as real off camera. The two looked like high school kids as they giggled and flirted, Enrique would joke about the steamy scene they had to film.
"You know, it doesn't take a good actor to kiss Anna and try to make it believable," he said after they finished filming the music video's famous bathroom scene.
After meeting that day on set, the rest was history.
It all starts with their location, and the two have stayed away from Hollywood and opted for tropical Miami Beach where there are lots of beaches, and the paparazzi are few and far between, at least compared to Los Angeles. The couple, which has always called Miami home, built their dream house in a private waterfront community. The 20,000-square foot mansion on Sabal Palm Road includes a full-sized tennis court, an incredibly large pool, and a private dock, according to Daily Mail. Perfect for afternoon boat rides which seem to be one of the couple's favorite things to do.
We also realized that Enrique and Anna are just like us after, the "Duele El Corazón" singer described how he spends his downtime.
"A day off for me is being at home on the sofa, watching TV with my girlfriend and our two pets—just having a good time. Really just enjoying the day and relaxing and watching House of Cards," the singer said to Ventaneando earlier in November.
Although they might be able to avoid the media during their day-to-day life, they eventually will do interviews, and even then, these two are pros at not addressing their private life.
Take, for instance, Anna's 2010 visit to Loose Women where the ladies from the show spotted a large diamond ring on that finger.
"Are you engaged? That's a huge sparkler on your third finger on your left hand?" they asked Anna.
"Well, we've been together for over eight years," Anna said nervously. "So you have to have that trust with each other. You know, it's not easy being together for so long, but I kind of understand him a lot because he's the male version of me and I'm kind of the female version of him."
As life would have it, the following year Enrique visited the same show, and they asked him about the possible engagement.
He just answered, "Nope. Everything is good, under control."
And because there is very little to know about their relationship, the questions continued to come up through the years. Sometimes, Enrique would purposely mislead the public and say that they weren't together, he admitted to playing the press in an interview in 2012. So he will either joke around with about question or he'll just flat out avoid the questions about his relationship with Anna.
Like last year, after iHeartRadio Fiesta Latina, Telemundo's Un Nuevo Día caught up with the singer as he was walking off the stage. The morning show's Carlos Montoya immediately asked what was on everyone's mind.
"Look, your girlfriend comes in before you and leaves before you, is that a strategy to outsmart your enemy?" the reporter asked jokingly.
"No, she's much more discrete than I am," Enrique said laughing.
That's when things took a hilarious turn.
"Enrique, did you get married?" Montoya bluntly asks.
"Huh? What?" Enrique asked.
That back and forth went back several times until Montoya picked up on Enrique's comedic way to avoid having to answer the question. Eventually, they both laughed, and Enrique went off camera to say hello to someone, but the lingering question remained unanswered.
If Enrique and Anna are engaged or married remains unknown, but a few years ago in 2014, the singer told Access Hollywood that being husband and wife wouldn't change much for him.
"Well the marriage bug to me, I don't think it would make me any happier. I'm not against it by any means. Yes, kids at some point, I would," Enrique explained. "Hopefully the day that I have kids I can lay back a bit and not travel as much and not be touring as constantly. I don't want to be on the road for six or eight months and then come back and not recognize my own child."
Fast forward to last month, and the press asked the singer the same question about whether or not he had any plans of being a father.
"I would love to have children. Hopefully very soon. I think I'd be a good father, my girlfriend would be an even better mother, but I'd be a good father," Enrique revealed.
While babies might happen in the near future for this couple, it's clear that they value their privacy and that aspect will most likely be even more private. For that reason, they surround themselves with friends and family that are just as reserved.
One of Enrique's best friend's is Pitbull. That's right another superstar, whose private life we even know less about than the Spanish-American singer. The two have toured for over seven years together, and they seem to make it work.
"We live in the same city. We hang out every once in a while, too.," Enrique explained to Access Hollywood. "Pit's low-key, he's easy going, and we're good friends."
Also worth noting, in 2014, after the couple had already been dating for over a decade, Enrique's father Julio Iglesias admitted to never having met his son's girlfriend.
"My kids are very independent, and it is difficult to see Enrique because he is all over the world," the 70-year-old living legend tells the U.K.'s The Mirror. "But Anna is very beautiful—they have good taste, my kids."
Unlike many other Hollywood couples, you won't find Anna in Enrique's Instagram account or vice-versa. As the star explains, he continually tries to find a balance between sharing with fans and keeping certain things private.
"I think it comes with the territory. I understand when people ask me, 'Hey, are you married? Do you have a girlfriend? Do you want kids? Do you have kids that we don't know about?'" the singer said to E! News in 2014. "For me, I do try to keep my personal life private because I need that balance. When I go back home, and I'm home, I want to make sure that whatever happens in my house is just for me and my loved ones that are with me right there, I need that."
Enrique and Anna know what it takes to make it work because let's be honest, a 16-year relationship in the spotlight is indeed praiseworthy.
Enrique Iglesias Hints at Possible Marriage to Anna KournikovaEnrique Iglesias has always been clear about his feelings on marriage: He didn't think getting married really made a difference. He still feels the same way...sort of. "I don't believe you need a piece of paper to show you love someone," he exclusively tells E! Online. But when asked if he had any plans to wed, he said, "Who knows what the future holds...or the past...haha." What? Clearly, the "Messing Around" singer is hinting at something.
We also recently noticed that his longtime partner Anna Kournikova has been sporting a large diamond ring and gold band on that finger.
We spoke to the singer as he's currently teaming up with Verizon and is starring in their new commercial. "They approached me and presented the concept, and I was sure it would be a fun collaboration," Enrique said. "They just recently introduced me to it (Verizon's My App) and showed me how it gives customers complete control over their plan, which hasn't really been done before. The new plan provides 30% more data, and has features to help prevent overages."
This summer makes a year since Enrique's famous drone accident, and he says his injuries have recovered well. "A little bit of scaring, but I'm pretty much fully recovered. I was fortunate enough to have a great doctor who was able to reconstruct the problem areas," Enrique said. "That made me think about all the people who struggle much worse than this which is why I started this whole campaign with Save the Children. I wanted to help kids who go through traumas in war zones as well as in natural disasters."
As far as his fans go, Enrique is used to them jumping on stage with him. Although due to the recent tragic events, many performers have tightened their security, the Spanish singer doesn't feel threatened. "I do not fear my fans. I love them all. I actually feel protected around them," Enrique said.
Anna Kournikova -- Ringer for Married Woman(Pic) Anna Kournikova posed with her little brother Friday, but all we see is that gigantic ring on her left finger that sure looks like she sealed the deal with Enrique Iglesias.
Rumors have circulated for years the 2 got hitched, but there's been no hard proof.
They've been together since 2001, so married or not, they've outlasted most celeb relationships.
Lidstrom recalls Sergei's late-night calls to Anna(freep.com) Ah, the good old days.
Nicklas Lidstrom was reminiscing about them this morning on The Ticket's "Stoney & Bill Show," back when he and Sergei Fedorov were road roommates for the Detroit Red Wings.
And what was that like?
"You know what, there were some phone calls in the middle of the night, Sergei's laying under his blanket, talking to someone," Lidstrom said. "You know, waking up to hearing a voice in the room, you can't see anyone, but finally I see the cord going underneath the blanket and it's Sergei speaking Russian. And he's calling his former girlfriend, Anna Kournikova, over in Europe somewhere, she was in a tennis tournament.
"That kind of freaked me out, that he's calling his girlfriend in the middle of the night, under the blanket."
Now Lidstrom and Fedorov are going into the Hockey Hall of Fame together, part of this year's class that was announced Monday.
And someday, Lidstrom said, Fedorov's No. 91 should join his No. 5 with the other retired Wings jerseys in the rafters at Joe Louis Arena (or their new arena).
"Eventually I think that's going to happen," Lidstrom said. "Sergei had a great career for the Wings and he was a fun player to watch, a fun player to play with. He was such a dynamic player that he could win the game by himself. Sergei in his heyday, when he was at his best, he was probably if not the best, in the top three in the league."
Hosts Stoney, Bill and Sara also asked Lidstrom about:
• The leading question of what other Wings he played with that should be in the Hall of Fame: "That's a hard question. I played with so many guys that made it into the Hall of Fame. I'm looking at a player like Chris Osgood who won a lot for us. I know it's been up in the air if he should go in there or not, but I think Ozzie was a great goaltender for us, and a goaltender that stepped up at the right moments. He played well in pressure games and if he had a bad game, he could shake it off and get ready for the next one. I think Ozzie down the road will get a shot at going in there."
• What kind of hockey dad is he: "I'm actually one of the coaches for my younger son's team, so I'm helping out on the ice for that. But I have three other boys and I'm the quiet parent sitting up in the stands and enjoying watching my kids play. I know some parents get a little bit too much into it and they want to get too much involved. They ask me questions and I try to tell them, 'Let the coaches be the coach. You don't have to coach your son from the stands or in the car on the way home. Some of them listen."
Whatever Lidstrom did must have worked — or maybe it's his genes — because two of his sons, Adam and Kevin, are in the Wings' annual development camp this weekend in Traverse City.
• What he thinks of Mike Babcock being succeeded by Jeff Blashill as Wings coach: "Babcock did a great job with the organization. He won the Cup with us back in '08 and I think he's done a great job getting younger players into the lineup. But I also think that 10 years is a long time. I think he was ready for a change, I think that's why he made the move. But I think the team will benefit from it, too, because you have a young coach coming it that's going to be hungry and I think that could get the older guys to get recharged again. ... But like I said, Babs did a great job for the organization."
Iglesias and Kournikova cozy up at Midtown hot spotAfter a reported romantic rough patch last year, Enrique Iglesias and his Russian tennis beauty girlfriend Anna Kournikova were spotted at Beautique in Midtown.
Spies said the couple was at dinner with friends last week, where they “were cozy all night.”
Iglesias was celebrating his “America’s Got Talent” performance at Radio City Music Hall, and the launch of his new release, “Sex and Love.”
Seems he and Kournikova may have done some research for the album.
Anna Kournikova Hasn't Met Enrique Iglesias' Dad Julio Iglesias After 12 Years of DatingEnrique Iglesias has been dating Anna Kournikova for the past 12 years, but he's yet to introduce the retired tennis pro to his famous father, singer Julio Iglesias. What's keeping them apart? "My kids are very independent and it is difficult to see Enrique because he is all over the world," the 70-year-old living legend tells the U.K.'s The Mirror. "But Anna is very beautiful—they have good taste, my kids."
Julio, who vows to never retire from music, tells the newspaper, "I have to tell the truth—I have never met Anna. Yes, my wife, and my kids and his brothers have, but I have never met her, no, no, never."
He may not be privy to his son's love life, but Julio is "very proud" of Enrique's accomplishments. "He is a super guy," he raves. "You know, it's not as easy to follow in the same steps as that of the father. Like if you play tennis, normally the kid doesn't play tennis like the father. But Enrique is in the same class of guys like [Kirk Douglas' son] Michael Douglas and [Judy Garland's daughter] Liza Minnelli."
Enrique has been burning up the charts with a number of club bangers, which are unlike his father's famous songs. "The music is very different to mine and he has gone his own way...I don't have to say whether I like it or not," Julio says. "He is doing very well, he is a clever guy and he is very charming."
Because he grew up with a famous father, Enrique prefers to keep his private life, well, private.
"I think it comes with the territory," he told E! News in March. "I understand why people ask, 'Are you married? Do you have a girlfriend? Do you have kids? Do you have kids that we don't know about?'"
For Enrique, it's about balance. "When I go back home, I want to make sure that whatever goes on in my house, it's just for me and my loved ones that are with me right there," he said. "I need that."
Enrique Iglesias Clarifies "I Have Not Ruled Out" Marrying Anna KournikovaEnrique Iglesias may not believe that marrying Anna Kournikova will make him any happier, but that doesn't mean he hasn't entirely ruled it out.
After the singer made headlines last week when he admitted in an interview with CBS Sunday Morning that he doesn't think tying the knot will bring the longtime couple any "closer together"—which led many to interpret the Spanish stud as saying he has no intention to wed the former tennis pro—he clarified his comments on the Today show Monday, insisting the topic of marriage is not off the table.
"I keep my personal life as private as possible because I feel that we need that…" he replied before trailing off when he was first questioned about his romance with Kournikova.
"You made news because you said that you don't want to get married," Natalie Morales interjected, which immediately put Iglesias on the defense.
"It's not, I didn't say that I don't want to get married. I don't know if I maybe came out the wrong way," the 38-year-old singer explained. "What I said is that, 'We are extremely happy the way we are.' I'm not against marriage by any means."
He continued, "I have not ruled it out, but if you're happy, I don't think it will really make a difference," adding, "She's the coolest girl in the world."
Enrique met the 32-year-old blond beauty when the athlete appeared in his 2001 "Escape" music video, and the longtime twosome, who have been together for 13 years, are constantly fighting off engagement rumors.
"I'm not against marriage, not at all," Iglesias told Rita Braver in the headline-making interview which aired Sunday morning. "But when you've been with someone for such a long time, I don't think it's going to make—bring us closer together. I don't think it's going to...make us any happier."
Enrique Iglesias Has No Intention of Marrying Anna Kournikova: It Won't "Make Us Happier"Enrique Iglesias doesn't see the point in getting married. Luckily, Anna Kournikova feels the same way.
The singer opens up about his relationship with the retired tennis pro in an interview for CBS Sunday Morning, airing March 16. "I'm not against marriage, not at all," he tells Rita Braver, before adding that it's not in his future. "But when you've been with someone for such a long time, I don't think it's going to make—bring us closer together. I don't think it's going to...make us any happier."
Enrique, 38, met Kournikova, 32, when the athlete appeared in his 2001 "Escape" music video. "She was just the coolest girl in the world to me," the Latin pop star recalls. "And we just, we got along."
Enrique also addresses rumors that he is estranged from his famous father, Spanish singer-songwriter Julio Iglesias. "I love him, and I respect him dearly. But we don't see each other that much," Enrique says of his dad. "You know, he knows if he ever needed me, I'd be the first one there, and vice versa."
His personal life aside, Enrique is excited about the March 18 release of his new album, Sex and Love. "When you write songs, when you're on stage, it's all about the vibe," says the singer, whose last CD, Euphoria, dropped in July 2010. "If you're not vibing and you're not feeling good, people notice that."
Iglesias, Kournikova on the rocksThe romance between Russian tennis beauty Anna Kournikova and Enrique Iglesias is “on the rocks” after 12 years, sources exclusively tell Page Six.
We’re told the couple have hit a rough patch because the singer — son of legendary Spanish crooner and international ladies’ man Julio Iglesias — isn’t rushing into marriage despite more than a decade with the beautiful blond former pro court star.
A source tells us, “Anna is getting tired of waiting for him to decide if he wants to marry her or not. They’ve been together for so long, she feels like it’s never going to happen. She is ready to move on.”
But the source added, “This issue has come up before, and they have managed to smooth things over and get back together. Time will tell.”
Despite rumors in May that 38-year-old Iglesias and 32-year-old Kournikova were imminently due to tie the knot, his management team insisted that they have “no intention” to marry in the near future.
Last year, the singer was forced to deny they had secretly wed after calling Kournikova his wife, in Russian, while at a gig in her native country.
He said: “It was just meant to be sweet .?.?. I honestly didn’t mean to confuse people. I thought it’d be easier for the audience to understand than if I said she was my girl.”
Iglesias also said he always wanted to keep their relationship under wraps — telling VH1’s “Behind the Music,” “I just want it to be special, and the only way to make sure it’s special is by just making it as private as possible. And if you talk about those things that are special to you and that are close to your heart, it’s not the same anymore.”
But another source familiar with the singer told us, “There have been other times when people have speculated there are issues between them. Don’t jump to any conclusions.”
A spokeswoman for Kournikova didn’t get back to us by deadline, and reps for Iglesias declined to comment.
Anna Kournikova Leaving The Biggest Loser After One SeasonThe Biggest Loser is dropping something other than LBs.
After only one season on NBC's reality weight-loss show, Anna Kournikova is exiting as trainer and cohost. So, what's the deal with her short-lived gig?
Kournikova was brought on season 12 of The Biggest Loser to replace Jillian Michaels, but the former tennis pro was, per the Hollywood Reporter (which first broke the news), a behind-the-scenes "nightmare" with both contestants and the production team. On camera, the contestants found the blonde beauty even harsher than Michaels had been.
Said Kournikova: "I enjoyed my time on the Biggest Loser ranch. Although I will not be returning as a full time trainer on season 13, I will always be a part of The Biggest Loser family and my commitment to bettering lives through health and fitness will continue."
Biggest Loser's Joe Mitchell: Anna Kournikova Fixed MeWhen it comes to staying physically fit, tennis sensation Anna Kournikova is an expert. But Biggest Loser contestant Joe Mitchell, who was sent home from the Ranch on this week's show, says he's grateful to Kournikova because she was able to "fix my thinking."
"Anna made me believe that I could [lose weight]," he says. "She drilled in our heads that the only person you can really rely on is yourself."
Now back home in Knoxville, Tenn., Mitchell, 46, says he holds no hard feelings for fellow contestants Vinny Hickerson and Antone Davis, who voted for his exit. "I don't hold grudges," he says. "I was a threat and I understand that."
But Mitchell does have regrets: helping send home Jessica Limpert. "I would change that vote," he says. "The first person that I talked to when I got off the Ranch was Jess. I consider Jess and Ramone [Medeiros] some of my dearest friends. I am excited for their future."
Helping to ease his at-home transition, Mitchell, who weighed in at 348 lbs. and was down to 269 lbs. at the time of his elimination, documents his meals and says the hardest part about staying disciplined is planning ahead.
"I plan my day before it begins so I don't have to make quick decisions about what to eat," he says.
But he still allows himself to indulge in frozen yogurt. "And I had a piece of cake at my son's birthday party," he says. "But I planned for it. I got in an extra five to ten minutes of cardio in so I could enjoy the cake and not feel guilty."
Now, simple pleasures like playing tennis with his daughter, going for walks with his wife, and being able jump out of bed in the morning to play with his 3-year-old son are no longer a burden.
"It used to take me 10 minutes when I woke up before I could get moving because my joints hurt," he says. "I've gotten my life back!"
SightingENRIQUE Iglesias and Anna Kournikova dining in the private wine room at Myles Chefetz’s Prime 112 Steakhouse in South Beach.
Anna Kournikova: 'Marriage Isn't Important to Me'Former tennis champion and new Biggest Loser trainer Anna Kournikova says there are no impending wedding bells for her and her longtime boyfriend, Enrique Iglesias – but that doesn't mean babies aren't in her future.
"I absolutely want to have children, whether I have my own or adopt," Kournikova, 30, says in the November issue of Women's Health magazine, on newsstands Oct. 18. "I love taking care of people."
After a series of injuries forced her to retire from tennis in 2003, at age 21, Kournikova devoted herself to charity work. Now, the certified personal trainer is spending most of her time embracing her new role on The Biggest Loser. She often arrives early so she can exercise on her own for an hour before working with the contestants.
Right now, tying the knot just simply isn't a priority for her and Iglesias, 36, she adds.
"[Marriage] isn't important to me. I'm in a happy relationship – that's all that matters," Kournikova told Women's Health. "I believe in commitment. I believe in being open and trusting each other and respecting each other completely."
Anna Kournikova Trades Pro Tennis for Biggest Loser TrainingBy the time Moscow-born Anna Kournikova was 8 years old, the tennis prodigy had already signed with powerhouse sports agency IMG. By 9, she moved to the U.S.A. to train with legendary coach Nick Bollettieri. By 18, she ranked No. 8 in the world in singles.
And by 21, she was done.
"I never planned or thought that was going to be it," Kournikova tells PEOPLE as she settles into her new role as a fitness trainer on The Biggest Loser. "My back really forced me to stop. It got so bad; I couldn't tie my shoes, literally. I would be in excruciating pain. I had been doing six to eight hours [of training] every day since I was 5 years old."
At first, doctors told Kournikova that recovery from major back surgery would take three months and then extended the prognosis to six months, and then a year.
"And then I just started going through a growing up period," Kournikova says. "It was very interesting to me to stop playing and to figure out, 'Who am I without tennis?' It was very difficult and scary as hell."
Away from the pro tour, Kournikova says, "I did everything from therapy to 10-hour walks on the beach to discover, and think, and try new things." She cites her family and longtime boyfriend Enrique Iglesias as part of her "support system, who have helped me figure out who I am."
During her time off, Kournikova says she learned to appreciate her pro career, even when others were criticizing her for not winning any singles titles. "I am not a robot," she says. "I have feelings, but I know that I did my best. I am very proud of what I have achieved."
Although she never made a formal announcement that she was retiring, Kournikova admits that her life was following a different path. In 2004, she started volunteering with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and the USO.
"I loved getting involved in charity work and I felt like that's what my name is good for and that's what I wanted to channel it into," she says. "They showed me a reason to be and to be happy."
Kournikova made the transition from volunteer and spokesperson to active trainer when she studied in Miami for her full-time fitness certification, which she ultimately received from the ISSA.
"I am so proud," Kournikova says of her new career. "The last time I felt like this, I was in Iraq and Afghanistan, Russia and Haiti on my charity trips, and then before that it was on the court! I am not doing this just to be on TV. At all. I am able to help and influence people's health and well-being. That is an amazing feeling."
The Biggest Loser airs Tuesdays on NBC at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
'Biggest Loser's' Anna Kournikova: 'This is beyond my dream job'"The Biggest Loser" is back for Season 12 and this time there are two new trainers, plus an age division for the teams. New trainer and famed tennis star Anna Kournikova tells Zap2it about what attracted her to the show, which she has been really hooked on since she did a guest stint in Season 10.
What attracted you to "The Biggest Loser"?
"I've always been passionate about health and fitness, not to mention a fan of 'The Biggest Loser,' so I actually went after the opportunity to appear on the show. I met with the NBC and Reveille folks a while back and they asked me what my passions were in one of the meetings, and I told them health and fitness, without question. They invited me to do a guest appearance on the BL season 10, so I did that and lead the contestants thru a tennis workout, and it went really well. I knew that day that this was the perfect fit for me. At that point we started talking more seriously and I was fortunate that there was an opening for me to work with the contestants on a consistent basis and I jumped at it. This is beyond my dream job."
Were you a fan of the show before you were brought on as a trainer?
"Yes, I've been a fan of 'The Biggest Loser' for quite some time. It's so inspiring and I love how its message is about changing people's lives and helping them to lead a healthy lifestyle. And after I did a guest appearance on Season 10, I was really hooked!"
How do you think the age separation will affect the show? Do the younger folks have an upper hand in the physical challenges?
"Age is just a number when it comes to being mentally tough, but there is no doubt that the younger contestants will have an upper hand in a lot of the physical challenges. They are able to go harder for a longer period of time and will recover more quickly than the older contestants. Without a doubt, the older folks have to be smarter in their training."
Was there a particular age group you hoped would pick you as a trainer?
"I didn't think about that at all. I just wanted whoever was on my team to be motivated and eager to take that first step toward becoming a healthier person."
Is there one particular contestant you think we should look out for, for whatever reason?
"Each contestant is fighting to stay on the ranch for his or her own personal reasons, and this alone is a very powerful motivator so I wouldn't count any of them out as the next Biggest Loser!"
"The Biggest Loser" premiered Tuesday night at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. What did you think of the premiere?
'The Biggest Loser's' Bob Harper on Anna Kournikova, the age division and the most compelling contestant"The Biggest Loser" is back and not only are they throwing in an age twist, but there are two new trainers in the house. Zap2it interviewed the only "old" trainer, Bob Harper, about the newest season.
What is the dynamic with the new trainers like?
"Change is always a hard thing for me but I think that the new trainers bring a different perspective to our show. Anna is a world class athlete and she can teach her contestants the drive of an athlete."
How do you think the age separation will affect the show? Do the younger folks have an upper hand in the physical challenges?
"I think with age comes wisdom, so don't assume that the young people have the advantage because of their age. We are about to put that stigma to the test."
Was there a particular age group you hoped would pick you as a trainer?
"I was excited to get back to work this season and was willing to take any of the age groups. I'm always seeing what I can learn from the contestants so I believe that any of the groups will be a learning lesson for me."
Is there one particular contestant you think we should look out for, for whatever reason?
"Our biggest guy, Antone, was a professional football player that completely let himself go. I think that his story is so riveting. You will see him in the first episode be so open, exposed, and vulnerable, which is what you need to succeed on our show."
"The Biggest Loser" premieres Tuesday night, Sept. 20, at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.
Kournikova relates to 'Loser'When beautiful former pro tennis player Anna Kournikova was asked how she can relate to the overweight people she’s training this season on The Biggest Loser (beginning Tuesday, Sept. 20 on NBC and Citytv), she flashed a bit of fire.
“People always ask me, ‘How can you relate to the contestants, they’re obese,’ ” said Kournikova, 30. “But I get criticized and judged all the time: ‘She’s just too pretty, she’s not good enough, she wasn’t a good athlete.’
“To be a top-10 in the world, that’s something. I must have been doing something right. I’m sure you would like to be a top-10 journalist in the world, right? That wouldn’t be so bad.
“I came from the Soviet Union from really nothing, a very modest background. I tell the contestants that’s how I can relate to them. That’s how I can understand what it’s like to be judged and criticized, whether it’s because of your weight or how you look, people looking at you and having all these preconceived notions.”
'Biggest Loser' exec producer talks addition of Anna Kournikova, surprises for season 12Your wait for weight-loss is almost over: Season 12 of The Biggest Loser debuts Sept. 20 (NBC, 8 p.m.). Expect a few changes when the show returns, from the taskmasters (goodbye, Jillian Michaels, Bret Hoebel and Cara Castronuova; hello, new trainers Anna Kournikova and Dolvett Quince) to an updated gym, to the theme of the season, which groups contestants by age. EW spoke with exec producer Todd Lubin about the upcoming action, which also includes an elimination twist.
On the “Battle of the Ages” theme:
“There will be three teams: people under 30, people in their 30s and 40s, and people 50 and over. We put the question of ‘Does age matter?’ in this weight-loss world to the test. We’ve had a 63-year-old at-home winner. We’re having a lot of fun with that. Young people may be able to lose the weight faster just because of their body chemistry, but they don’t have nearly the discipline nor do they recognize the opportunity to get their life back, like someone in their 40s might. So in some ways, I don’t think it’s an advantage to be younger. We’ve proven that the older folks actually keep the weight off better than our younger alumni, for the most part.”
On two notable contestants: “Antone Davis is a first-round NFL draft pick from the ’90s. [Davis, 44, played for the Philadelphia Eagles and Atlanta Falcons from 1991-1997]. He’s an incredibly lovely guy. He got really, really big. And I think he’s doing this not just for himself but for all the NFL guys who wish they could get back [in shape]…. [Sixty-three-year-old retired payroll supervisor Bonnie Griffin] has been through all the trials and tribulations — she’s been through Katrina, which wiped her house out, and her husband died recently. But she just has the heart of the champion. She was going to be here, no matter what.”
On this season’s second-chance twist: “The first day, they run a mile, which they’ve done before, and then [host] Alison Sweeney announces, ‘By the way, there’s going to be a marathon at the end of this season,’ which we’ve done before. But she says, ‘It’s not just going to be the final four running it. It’s going to be all of you. So no matter when you’re eliminated, you’ll have a chance to run this marathon at the end. If you win the marathon, you’re automatically a finalist on the show.’ I don’t know how it’s going to turn out, but it’s certainly exciting for people who do get eliminated, because they know they have a goal to get themselves back in the game.”
On Kournikova’s qualifications: “Obviously she doesn’t have the experience that Bob or Dolvett does, but she’s a certified trainer, and it was extremely important for us that she had that credibility. But mostly she’s drawing on her tennis experience as a professional athlete: She was No. 1 in the world in doubles and she was No. 8 in singles. But more importantly, she came from very, very little in Moscow and that’s the stuff we never really knew. She had nothing, and she’s very proud that she was able to achieve what she did. It’s funny because people say, ‘She’s a girl who didn’t reach her potential,’ and she’s like, ‘Look, I’m not even that good of an athlete. Trust me, I reached my very fullest potential.’…. You’re going to be blown away by how sincere she is, how intense she is, how focused she is for these folks. She’s totally dedicated to the point where she’s getting Bob back into the gym. At one point she breaks down in tears, just because she’s so moved by the stories. None of it is fake.”
On how Quince’s training style differs from Kournikova’s: “Dolvett is like an Army drill sergeant. He does a lot of: ‘FOUR! FIVE! KEEP IT UP!” Anna is more of a whisperer: We’re going to keep doing this until your legs fall off. You’ve got to figure out what your favorite training method is.”
On why the show did not bring back Hoebel and Castronuova for this season: “With Jillian leaving, it was like, ‘We really need to establish a new focus.’…. We were thrilled with [last season] — that was the hard part. We really liked them. They did a good job. But the show needs to continue to evolve, it needs to continue to get better, smarter, sharper, faster.”
On Oct. 4’s NFL-themed episode, which features such players as Saints QB Drew Brees, Broncos QB Tim Tebow, and Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson: “Instead of having them just show up and be like, ‘Hey, what’s up? Football’s great!’ it was like, ‘All right, guys, $5,000 to your charity!’ So the players were actually going after the [contestants in a football throwing challenge.] That was a blast. And then they came for the Last Chance Workout. Tim Tebow is just a star – the girls were swooning.”
Anna Kournikova to Replace Jillian Michaels on The Biggest LoserAnna Kournikova has been tapped to replace Jillian Michaels on NBC's The Biggest Loser, Vulture reports.
The Russian tennis pro's hiring is part of skewing the show "away from just the tape measure, and getting into overall well being and health," executive producer Todd Lubin told the site.
Kournikova, 29, previously appeared on the series in Season 10, when she set up a tennis-themed workout for the contestants. After that, there were apparently talks to develop a show just for her, but she joined Loser instead.
Along with Michaels, trainers Brett Hoebel and Cara Castronuova, who joined the show this season, are also not returning.
Reps for the NBC series did not immediately respond to TVGuide.com's request for comment.
Kournikova to join 'Biggest Loser' as trainerFormer tennis ace-turned-model Anna Kournikova has signed on to put heavyweights through their paces in the new season of hit U.S. reality show The Biggest Loser.
The stunner, who is singer Enrique Iglesias’ longtime girlfriend, will be one of the show’s trainers, according to X17Online.com.
Kournikova will reportedly join fitness experts Cara Castronuova and Brett Hoebel on the program.
Anna Kournikova's Miami Mansion for Sale for $9.4 millionHaving a body or a boyfriend like Anna Kournikova's may seem a little out of reach, but you can live just like the tennis star – for $9.4 million.
Kournikova's 6,630-square-ft. Miami Beach mansion is on the market – even if she's not.
The ivy-covered, waterfront house boasts seven bedrooms, eight full bathrooms, a sauna, a pool, a dock and a two-story guest house. Notably missing? A tennis court.
The market description says the gated Sunset Island abode is "perfect for outdoor entertaining" – perhaps something she took advantage of with longtime boyfriend Enrique Iglesias.
SightingEnrique Iglesias and longtime girlfriend Anna Kournikova dined at Sugarcane Raw Bar and Grill in Miami, and the couple "kicked back, ate well and stayed for quite a while," a source says. Later, the duo joined a large group of friends in the lounge.
Not DistractedDespite attention from female admirers, Enrique Iglesias managed to have a romantic date with girlfriend Anna Kournikova at the Old Homestead Steakhouse at the Borgata in Atlantic City the other night. Sources say they strolled in at 1 a.m., two hours late for their reservation, and owners "called the kitchen staff back and the chef out of bed." While they were waiting for their food, a spy reports, "he was mobbed by all the women left in the restaurant. Enrique posed for photos with everyone. Anna didn't seem at all bothered. When he returned to the table, Enrique made sure Anna knew his eyes are only for her."
We Hear...That Yankee slugger Alex Rodriguez, Brooke Shields and Anna Kournikova will toast the opening of the new JW Marriott Marquis in Miami on Thursday
Iglesias denies Kournikova splitA representative for Enrique Iglesias has dismissed rumours the pop star has split from his longterm girlfriend Anna Kournikova.
The singer has been dating the former tennis star since 2002 but despite their eight-year relationship, the couple has consistently denied having any plans to marry.
The romance was recently rumoured to be in trouble, with speculation focusing on the pair's long separation as Iglesias promotes his latest album in Europe.
But a spokesperson for the star is adamant the couple's relationship is still going strong, telling New York Post gossip column Page Six, "They are definitely together. Enrique has been out of the country on a promotional tour, so maybe that's where the speculation is coming from."
Anna Kournikova Heads to Biggest Loser CampusTennis pro Anna Kournikova is heading to The Biggest Loser, a rep for the show tells TVGuide.com exclusively.
On Tuesday's episode, the remaining 15 contestants must compete in a tennis-workout challenge led by the 29-year-old Kournikova. The task quickly becomes a battle of the sexes.
This isn't the first time a major athlete has pitched in on the weight-loss reality series. Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner appeared on Season 7, Olympians Jeret Peterson and Julia Mancuso and Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo were on Season 9.
PARTNERSHIP REVIVEDAnna Kournikova and Martina Hingis say their tennis comebacks won’t involve a return to singles on the WTA Tour.
They ended long Wimbledon absences by playing legends doubles Tuesday. At 29, they’re younger than some tour regulars but not tempted to resume their careers.
“I’m going to be 30 years old,” Hingis said. “It’s a commitment you have to do. You travel 35, 40 weeks a year. I think I’ve played enough tennis in my life.”
“It’s time to experience other things and grow and move on,” Kournikova added.
Kournikova and Hingis revived their doubles partnership and beat Samantha Smith and Anne Hobbs of Britain 6-2, 6-4 in a first-round legends match. Kournikova hadn’t played at Wimbledon since 2002, Hingis since 2007.
“It’s an amazing opportunity to be back at Wimbledon,” said Kournikova, who reached the semifinals as a 16-year-old in 1997. “I had so much fun today. Kind of jittery a little bit. But I had an amazing time.”
Hingis plans to play a full season of WorldTeam Tennis this summer after a two-year ban for testing positive for cocaine at Wimbledon in 2007. The former No. 1 player denied taking the drug but did not appeal the ban.
“It’s great fun to be out there again with Anna,” Hingis said. “We had some great times. We’re sharing some good times again. Totally different ballgame.”
Kournikova, Hingis enter Wimbledon legends' eventThe agency that represents Anna Kournikova and Martina Hingis says the pair is teaming up again at Wimbledon.
After long absences from tennis, Kournikova and Hingis will play together in the legends’ doubles event at the All England Club this year, the Octagon agency said Tuesday.
Five-time major champion Hingis, 29, retired for the second time in 2007, when she was given a two-year suspension for testing positive for cocaine after a match at Wimbledon. She denied taking the drug but did not appeal the ban, which ended on Sept. 30, 2009.
The 28-year-old Kournikova hasn’t been a regular on tour since 2003. She was a Wimbledon semifinalist in 1997.
They won two Grand Slam doubles titles together, at the Australian Open in 1999 and 2002.
Kournikova's mom charged with felony child neglectTennis star Anna Kournikova’s mother has been formally charged with felony child neglect in Florida.
She was arrested in January and released from the Palm Beach County Jail after posting a $3,000 bond. Alla Kournikova could face up to five years in prison if convicted of the third-degree felony charge.
Palm Beach police say the 46-year-old left her 5-year-old son home alone while she ran errands, but he escaped the house. Someone passing by found the boy and called police.
He told authorities he jumped out a second-story window, but was not seriously injured.
Kournikova was formally charged this week. No attorney was listed in court records, and she had an unpublished phone number.
Mother of Tennis Star Anna Kournikova ArrestedAlla Kournikova, mother of tennis star Anna Kournikova, was arrested and put in jail Tuesday on charges of child neglect after leaving her 5-year-old son, Allen, home alone in her $2 million Palm Beach home for more than 50 minutes while she went to the bank and post office.
According to the Palm Beach police's probable-cause affidavit, a neighbor called authorities to report that a little boy named Allen, a half-brother of the tennis star, was "soaking wet and walking in front of his house, acting very upset." The caller told police that the child said he "had jumped out of a window."
When police officers arrived at the Kournikova home purchased by Alla, 46, in 2005, Allen told them that after he "jumped out of the second story window" he entered the family swimming pool because his "feet hurt."
Police did a study of the home, located in the center of Palm Beach, and learned that the second-story roof was about 15 feet high. Allen landed in a white stone side yard, police said, between a pair of air conditioning units.
"I hung by my hands before letting go," Allen told the police. He then walked through a black fence and entered the pool. His feet hurt because he was barefoot when falling onto the stones.
Palm Beach Fire Rescue came and examined Allen, who had bruising on his feet and lower back. He was admitted to a local hospital while police attempted to reach Kournikova through a cell-phone number obtained in a search.
When Kournikova returned to her house she was asked to go to the police station where she told the officers that her son was "awake and sitting on the couch watching television at the time she left her home."
Kournikova, who is raising the boy alone, said she dead-bolted the house and gave Allen a cell phone to use while she was gone. He didn't accompany her on her errands because he said he "did not want to go."
Kournikova, an aspiring Palm Beach socialite, was eventually released from jail on $3,000 bond for the third-degree felony. She did not return calls to PEOPLE.
Are Enrique Iglesias and Anna Kournikova Finally Getting Engaged?Enrique Iglesias, 34, and tennis player Anna Kournikova, 28, who've been dating on and off for almost eight years, were spotted Thursday afternoon at the Cartier Champs-Elysees boutique in Paris – once again prompting speculation the longtime couple may be getting married.
The pair spent 40 minutes inside the high-end jewelry store, but it's not known if they walked away with a new bauble for Kournikova.
Though Kournikova has dodged engagement rumors in the past – she told PEOPLE in April 2008 that she was "never getting married" – Iglesias has been vocal about his desire to marry her.
"I always try, but she pays me no attention," Iglesias told reporters a couple of days later after Kournikova made her comments.
Rumors circulated in 2004 that the pair got married in a secret ceremony in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico – Kournikova was photographed wearing a wedding band on her ring finger at the time – but the reports proved not to be true.
The couple continued to face speculation in May 2007 when Iglesias told a Swedish newspaper, "We're divorced. I am single now, but that's okay. I don't mind being alone." He later retracted his quotes and told reporters it was simply a joke.
Kournikova & Iglesias plan familyAnna Kournikova is planning to start a family with her boyfriend Enrique Iglesias - once she has reached the pinnacle of her career.
The couple, dating since 2002, sparked rumours of a possible engagement earlier this year when the tennis ace was snapped with a sparkler on her left hand.
Both stars played coy and refused to confirm the rumours - but the blonde beauty has revealed she'd love to settle down with her singer boyfriend and have kids.
She tells Britain's Glamour magazine, "We try to keep out relationship as private as possible. I don't read all that stuff about 'Anna's pregnant/married/broken up'.
"I would like to have kids, but years from now. I'm only 28 and there are still things I want to do first."
And Kournikova has revealed the secrets to the longevity of her relationship with the Hero hitmaker - laughter and respect.
She adds, "We have a mutual respect. We're both very independent but we try not to go too long without seeing each other. When he's away I miss his humour. He's a complete joker. He knows how to make fun of himself, which is very cool."
Kournikova's star still shines brightlyAnna Kournikova is still the centre of attention on centre court.
Or, at least, on a makeshift one in a mall parking lot.
A tennis sensation from the time she was a teen, Kournikova spent more hours posing for photographs than she ever did raising tournament singles trophies.
Her playing career on the WTA Tour now finished, Kournikova is focused these days on getting fans to look at her work instead of her looks.
"I never thrived on attention," Kournikova said in an interview this week. "I never was in it for attention."
She has shed her tag as an overhyped athlete and made the transition to goodwill ambassador. She visits troops on USO tours and also has become a children's advocate through her work with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and other charities.
Sizzling under the hot sun in suburban Philadelphia on Monday, Kournikova was holding a tennis clinic for a small group of lucky youngsters who were learning the basics of the game from a former Grand Slam doubles champion.
She then discussed her plans for visiting the troops in Iraq.
"With my name, I feel like I have a voice," Kournikova said. "Hopefully I can bring awareness and attention to the causes I'm involved with.",P>She appeared at ease as she showed about 20 kids night how to grip a racket and work on their drop shots. Kournikova wrapped her arms around a seven-year-old girl and helped guide the racket to the softer ball.
"Don't swing too hard," Kournikova laughed. "I know you have a lot of power."
She tussled one girl's hair, and playfully chided the youngsters for not wearing hats under the broiling sun. Kournikova crouched to get eye-level while she instructed the kids, who probably had no idea why she was so famous.
"A lot of them are eight years old," she said. "They don't even know who I am."
She suggested a group hug during the team picture, and the kids started cheering her name.
"OK, I'm going to start crying," she said.
Moments later, Kournikova's walk toward a promotional appearance at the mall was nearly interrupted when a male fan got too close and security intervened.
She was whisked away to a meet-and-greet, then shuffled off to a VIP tent for more photos with sponsors.
Kournikova did everything but play tennis.
She was scheduled to play for the St. Louis Aces against the Philadelphia Freedoms in the summer league. But she will miss the season with a wrist injury, and wore a protective wrap on her left hand.
"It's ridiculous. I'm so bummed," she said between bites of a salad, green beans and carrots.
She also wore a large diamond ring on her left ring finger -- the finger typically reserved for engagement rings. Kournikova, who has long been linked to singer Enrique Iglesias, declined to discuss the ring's significance.
Injuries cut short Kournikova's playing career in 2003, and her latest setback was a reminder why she was never able to stage a serious comeback.
"It just reminds me of how hard it would be," Kournikova said. "The body is already beat up."
So it's off to Germany and Turkey to visit troops instead of prepping for a tournament. And yes, Kournikova still sprinkles the occasional photo shoot into her schedule.
It's a whirlwind lifestyle Kournikova has been used to since she burst onto the national tennis scene as a teenager. She was only 15 when she made her Grand Slam debut at the U.S. Open and reached the semifinals at Wimbledon two years later. Kournikova, who was born in Moscow, was ranked as high as No. 8 in the world.
"At 14 is when it really all exploded," she said. "A lot of times I didn't realize what was going on. Now looking back at it, you can analyze it. Back then, you just kind of wake up, go, live your life. It was normal."
So how does the woman who had more hits on the Internet than with a racket analyze it at age 28?
"I think it was cool," she said. "It was a lot of hard work. It was a lot of satisfaction for my family and me. It was also fun. I got to drink soda and chew gum and travel around the world. At nine years old, I was living in America and eating fruit 12 months a year. I didn't have that back home. I'd been to most countries by 14."
Sure, she never won a major championship. But Kournikova feels she doesn't have to defend her career -- even without an appearance in a singles final in any of the four Grand Slam events.
"It's true. It's statistics," she said. "But I look at my other statistics and they perfectly, happily satisfy me."
Under the lights on the temporary court, Kournikova hit balls into the crowd as a throng of photographers snapped away.
She was gracious and chatted with fans as she signed autographs after the World Team Tennis event. One autograph per fan ages 16 and younger.
Kournikova was about to step into a van at 10:42 p.m., seemingly well past last call for the little ones, when a small girl came running up to her, shouting "Anna! Anna!" They briefly chatted and discovered a shared love of turtles.
Time for bed, then off to Washington for the next WTT appearance.
Her wrist injury will keep her off the court.
But the fans don't care. She's still Anna Kournikova.
Kournikova trades tennis racket for diamond ringAnna Kournikova was sparkling brighter than usual.
Kournikova, who has long been linked to singer Enrique Iglesias, showed up for Monday night’s World Team Tennis match with a huge diamond ring on her left ring finger—the finger normally reserved for engagement rings.
When asked the significance of the ring by The Associated Press, Kournikova replied, “I thought you were the good press.” The former Grand Slam doubles champion put her hand behind her back and did not elaborate.
Kournikova was scheduled to play for the St. Louis Aces. She will miss the season with a wrist injury, and wore a protective wrap on her left hand.
She still participated in a kid’s clinic, signed autographs and cheered on her teammates.
Anna Kournikova out for the seasonAnna Kournikova will miss the rest of the season with a wrist injury.
World Team Tennis said Kournikova made her decision after experiencing pain from tenosynovitis while practicing for what would have been her seventh season with the league.
The St. Louis Aces player has not responded to therapy or a series of cortisone shots.
Kournikova said in a news release that she is “extremely disappointed” that she won’t be able to compete this year. She said she planned to work on her rehabilitation and looked forward to next year’s season.
She still plans to travel with her team to matches in Philadelphia on Monday, Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, Springfield on July 10 and St. Louis on July 11.
Anna Kournikova Injured in Shoving MatchAnna Kournikova ended up with cuts on her neck after getting into a shoving match this past weekend in Las Vegas.
The former tennis ace got into a scuffle inside Lavo Nightclub on Saturday night after another woman at the club threw a drink on her, PEOPLE has learned.
An onlooker said Kournikova, 28, and her assistant were sitting at a VIP table when the other woman bumped them. They pushed each other but were separated – until the woman confronted Kournikova again as she was leaving the nightclub.
"The woman came back over and threw a drink on Anna and her assistant," the source said. "The woman was definitely drunk."
"Anna said she wanted the woman kicked out, but then everything started to escalate and she and the woman started shoving and pushing each other," the source said.
The other woman grabbed Kournikova by the neck and pushed her into a wall before security broke them apart.
"Anna looked really shaken up," the source said. Kournikova was checked out at The Venetian hotel but didn't require further treatment, said an onlooker.
Kournikova's rep was unavailable to comment.
ANNA KOURNIKOVA GETS INTO VEGAS FIGHTANNA Kournikova got into a fight Saturday night in Las Vegas after an unidentified woman threw a drink at the tennis ace. Kournikova and her pals were partying at Lavo after attending the Hardbat Classic table tennis tournament when a woman at the next table "threw a drink at Anna. She felt Anna was invading her space," our source said. Kournikova "sprung into action" and starting screaming at the woman and shoving her. "It was a big fight," the spy said. The woman was kicked out only after leaving Kournikova with some vicious scratch marks on her neck. Kournikova's rep didn't return calls.
Kournikova says kids should be activeAnna Kournikova is moving away from her image as a sexy tennis star in hopes of reaching out to a much younger audience.
Known as much for her good looks as her success on the court, Kournikova now works for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and the Cartoon Network. She says she is driven to get kids off their sofas and into sports and exercise.
Kournikova says the move from bikini model in magazines like FHM and Maxim to kids’ exercise advocate was not expected by some of her fans.
“People always get shocked,” Kournikova said Wednesday while preparing for the Boys and Girls Club of America’s national conference in Atlanta. “It has been a gradual transition, and I wanted it that way.”
Kournikova’s provocative photo spreads made some refuse to respect her tennis career, despite winning two Grand Slams doubles titles with Martina Hingis and becoming the eighth-ranked singles player in the world in 2000.
The 27-year-old says she is determined to be taken seriously when educating kids about exercise.
“I started working with the Boys and Girls Club in 2004,” she said. “The first couple of years I didn’t want to do any publicity. I just wanted to learn about the organization and find out about what was going on. I went to the conferences and went to the conventions unannounced and just sat in the back and listened.
“People can tell if you’re being sincere, and I think that has helped me in the last few years. I think people have seen that I am sincere about it and I know what I’m talking about.”
She said proof came in a recent appearance on Rachael Ray’s talk show.
“There were only women in the audience and I’m sure they were like ‘Here’s this blonde we used to see in a bikini,”’ Kournikova said. “Once we started talking, it was a great feeling and the women were really responding and all nodding and agreeing with the things we were discussing about the kids. That was very satisfying to me, to see that I can make a difference.”
The Atlanta-based Cartoon Network’s “Get Animated” program is Kournikova’s current push.
“I’ve shot a DVD with Cartoon Network to be distributed to all the Boys and Girls Clubs, and basically the Get Animated campaign is about encouraging kids to get active, to get them off the couch and get them really involved in sports activities, exercises and a healthy lifestyle,” she said.
Kournikova had little choice about exercise as a young child in Russia. Her mother, Alla, was a former 400-meter runner. Her father, Sergei, was a Greco-Roman wrestler and a physical education professor.
Kournikova was 5 when she was given her first tennis racket. By 8 she began playing in junior tournaments. A year later, her family moved to Florida, where she was enrolled in Nick Bollettieri’s tennis academy. She turned professional at 14.
She says wanting to spend time with kids is not an attempt to recapture childhood years that were largely devoted to tennis.
“I had the best childhood,” Kournikova said before adding, “It was very hard work. I was away from home. I didn’t speak the language. I was only with my mom and then I started playing professionally, which was extremely difficult. It was 11 months out of the year on the road, living out of a bag and training all the time. Eating, sleeping, training, recouping. Trying to go to school at the same time.
“It was very, very hard but I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s what got me here and gave me my life.”
Kournikova has not played on the WTA Tour since 2003. She participates in World Team Tennis with such other former stars as Andre Agassi and Martina Navratilova and plays in occasional exhibitions. She also has competed in several triathlons.,P>She hasn’t abandoned modeling. She was back in Maxim—and back in a bikini — last year.
“I do an occasional modeling job,” she said. “You’ve got to have some kind of income.”
Kournikova says she misses the spotlight.
“Obviously you cannot replace playing in front of 10,000 or 15,000 people in Arthur Ashe Stadium in the third set at the U.S. Open,” she said. “That’s completely crazy.
“But I’m finding my Adrenalin and my passion in the things I’m doing now, whether it’s working with kids, running in a triathlon, playing tennis for Team Tennis or exhibitions. I try to enjoy it now, not just from the physical part but from inside, to feel good about what I’m doing.”
Kournikova happy for Williams' Australian Open winAnna Kournikova was excited when Serena Williams won the Australian Open, the same event in which Kournikova won two women’s doubles titles.
Not excited enough, though, to rejoin the women’s tour.
“She’s an amazing player and she’s a great inspiration,” Kournikova said of Williams, who won the singles title Jan. 31. “The reason why I really haven’t come back seriously is my health. I don’t think I can survive it. I don’t think I can hold up with my back.”
Kournikova and Martina Hingis won the doubles titles in 1999 and 2002. The Russian player also reached the Wimbledon semifinals in 1997 and was ranked as high as eighth in women’s singles.
On Saturday, she’ll play two mixed doubles exhibition matches with Tracy Austin and two men during the Champions Cup, an eight-tournament series featuring retired male players. The field for the three-day event that starts Friday at Boston University is made up of Pete Sampras, John McEnroe, Mats Wilander, Jim Courier, Todd Martin and Mikael Pernfors.
“I love playing, still being on the court and playing mixed doubles,” Kournikova said in a telephone interview.
She also thinks it’s good for the sport that the same players tend to dominate—Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Williams.
“They just become the names associated with that sport and I think it happens in every sport, not just in tennis,” Kournikova said. “It’s great. That way people can follow tennis and even people that are not just tennis fans but are sports fans, they can associate those names with the game.”
Kournikova plans to play in other Champions Cup events and in World Team Tennis with St. Louis in the 10-team league that runs from July 2-26.
Serena Williams tops World Team Tennis draftSerena Williams, who recently won her 10th Grand Slam singles title, will return to the Washington Kastles after being selected as the top pick Tuesday in the World Team Tennis marquee draft.
She’ll headline the roster for the Kastles, who enter their second season with the 10-team summer league. Williams won the Australian Open and regained the No. 1 ranking over the weekend.
Venus Williams (Philadelphia), John McEnroe (New York Sportimes), Anna Kournikova (St. Louis), Michael Chang (Sacramento), Bob and Mike Bryan (Kansas City) and Martina Navratilova (Boston) will play during the season, which runs July 2-26.
Serena Williams will play four matches, one at home in Washington, D.C., and road matches at Philadelphia, Boston and Randall’s Island in New York City, the new home of the Sportimes.
Navratilova returns for a league-record 20th season and will play a home match in Boston and road matches against the Sportimes and New York Buzz (Albany, N.Y.).
The coed professional league, co-founded by Billie Jean King, enters its 34th season. The relaxed atmosphere includes mascots, coaches and music between games. The league features teams of two men and two women, on-court coaching, super-tiebreakers, instant replay and no-ad scoring.
Last month, the U.S. Tennis Association became a minority owner in WTT in an effort to expand the marketing of its Junior Team Tennis program.
The WTT schedule will be announced later this month, and lineups will be completed with the roster draft on March 31. This year, the WTT champions will be recognized during the U.S. Open.
Iglesias Kicked Out By LoverSinger Enrique Iglesias has been kicked out of his Florida home by girlfriend Anna Kournikova after a row over his pet dogs. The Hero hitmaker, who has been dating the former tennis star for six years, moved out of the house they share in Miami after a heated argument over the pooches.
But the Spanish hunk insists the pair is still together and says he will move back in as soon as Russian Kournikova agrees. He tells Britain's Hello magazine, "We were living together for six months, but she kicked me out. We had a fight. We did make up, but she didn't let me move back in. It was a stupid fight - something about my dogs. I'll move back in when she lets me."
Kournikova avoids Gimelstob following insultAnna Kournikova doesn’t care about Justin Gimelstob or what he thinks about her.
Last month, Gimelstob insulted the 28-year-old tennis diva on a radio show, but fans who were hoping to see the two face off on court were likely to be disappointed.
Kournikova was in Washington on Wednesday night with World Team Tennis’ St. Louis Aces, who were playing the Washington Kastles, featuring the 31-year-old Gimelstob. The two were not scheduled to play each other in mixed doubles.
In the radio appearance, Gimelstob used a derogatory term to describe Kournikova and made suggestive comments about another player, Nicole Vaidisova.
Kournikova declined to engage in a verbal volley.
“I really don’t want to discuss the matter,” Kournikova said. “I don’t want to give it any more attention or meaning that it already has received. I’m just treating this like any other match.”
Television commercials featuring Gimelstob promoting the U.S. Open Series were scrapped by the U.S. Tennis Association following his remarks and he was suspended for one match without pay by World Team Tennis, but stayed on the air during Wimbledon for his job with the Tennis Channel.
Gimelstob, who retired last year from the tour and sits on the board of the ATP, made no effort to reach out to Kournikova during pre-match festivities. When Kournikova was questioned about Gimelstob, she tried to deflect attention from him.
“I actually forgot about it until you just mentioned it,” Kournikova said. “It’s really no big deal to me.”
No Botox, Boob Job or Baby for Anna KournikovaTen years ago, she reigned as the unavoidable golden face of pro tennis, but now that Anna Kournikova hasn't played a WTA Tour match in five years, she's enjoying her time away from the limelight – while swatting away some persistent rumors.
"I'm not married, not pregnant, didn't have a boob job, no Botox. What else?" Kournikova, 27, tells Sports Illustrated.
The tennis phenom paved the way for the similarly glamorous likes of Maria Sharapova, but never earned a substantial victory on the courts. She left the sport in 2003, but says she and longtime boyfriend Enrique Iglesias still have to deal with paparazzi and gawking fans.
"Girls look at him. Guys look at me," Kournikova says. "It goes with the job, but it gets annoying when you feel violated. Just take the picture and be done."
As for feeling pressure to always look perfect, the athlete says she doesn't understand that obsession. "Why are people afraid of getting older? You feel wiser. You feel more mature. You feel like you know yourself better," she says. "You would trade that for softer skin? Not me!"