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Thursday, 5 February 2009

Russian tennis star Anna Kournikova

Russian tennis star Anna Kournikova first discovered tennis when she was five years old. After six years of practice in her native Moscow, Russia, she became more serious about the sport and moved to Florida at age 11 to learn at famed tennis coach Nick Bollettieri's Tennis Academy. As her skills increased, she excelled on the junior circuit. Winning both the European Championships and Italian Open, she entered the pro ranks in 1996 as the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Junior World Champion.

Her pro career has had its ups and downs, and after nagging back injuries Kournikova has all but given up professional tennis. After a promising start to her career, she never won a pro singles tournament but managed a consistent top-20 ranking. She did, however, excel on the doubles circuit. Frequently paired with Martina Hingis, the duo ranked number-one and took 16 doubles titles (including three Grand Slam events).

In 2003 she made her last professional tennis appearance and underwent back surgery. But despite her fame on the court, Kournikova's star still shines because of her stunning good looks. Today she remains a top internet search and has ventured into modeling, becoming the most photographed woman in sports ever. Much of that includes scantily clad swimsuit spreads in such publications as Maxim, FHM, and Sports Illustrated's legendary Swimsuit Issue.

Over the years her good looks have also landed her numerous lucrative endorsement deals, the likes of which include Adidas and Lycos. She has also appeared in the music videos of fiancé Enrique Iglesias; and although she hasn't returned to pro tennis, she still plays in many exhibition and charity events.

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