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Jay Leno-show


August 1997

 

 

Jay: My next guest is only sixteen years old and already one of the best women's tennis players in the world. She'll be playing in the Acura Classic in Manhattan Beach, California, begins this Monday. Here she is in action, playing in the near court with the long braid, check it out.
(A video clip of Anna playing is shown)
Jay: Please welcome Anna "Kornisskova" (after saying her name correctly several times earlier in the show, Jay suddenly begins pronouncing it badly)
Anna comes out wearing a extremely attractive all black outfit


Hey, you look great.
Anna: "thank you. (applause) thank you."

I love your name, it sounds like one of the James Bond movies. "Mr. Bond, Anna Kornisskova(sic) will be here..."
Anna: "You pronounced it wrong again…"

Am I wrong again? It's Anna. "Ah-Nah" I got that. It's "Kor-nee-KO-va"
Anna: "You're pronouncing it like an Italian…"

I'm sorry, I am Italian. There's no hand movement involved...
Anna: "No."

Say it for me.
Anna: "Kournikova."

Kournikova. Okay, Kournikova. But now you live in Florida, right?
Anna: "Yes."

...but you're still a Russian citizen, right?
Anna: "I am, but I moved here seven years ago, so I feel kind of American, you know…"

...but do you get back there often?
Anna: "…I grew up in this country."

I just wonder what the, sort of, culture shock was like, because you lived there until you were what, seven or eight?
Anna: "Ten."

Oh, ten. My math is terrible.
Anna: "I noticed."

Is tennis as popular in Russia? We don't think of tennis as being a popular Russian sport... I mean, kind of... playing in fur coats and...
Anna: "Well, yeah. You know, you have to wear gloves and you have to clean the court… get rid of the snow."

Was it, umm, obviously, indoor courts?
Anna: "Yeah it was about ahh you know, minus seven degrees you had to play in. Inside."

but… ummm, I mean, you're the first famous Russian tennis player that I've ever heard of. Have there been others? Maybe I'm just ignorant here. Are there other...?
Anna: "There have been. Maybe you have heard of Yvgenny Kafelnikov?"

I can't even pronounce what you said. So how old were you when you started? You're sixteen now...
Anna: "I started when I was five."

Five. Okay, now we have a picture of you here, I guess you were about six let's take a look (a picture of Anna as a child is shown) Actually you're pretty big for six. Like your first racket... where did you... 'cuz we always think, again maybe this is an American thing... but we always think of people in Russia as not having things... but obviously you grew up in Moscow, so it was in the city
Anna: "I found my first rackets under the Christmas tree."

yeah.
Anna: "but I found out later that my parents sell their TV to get me those rackets."

Oh is that right?
Anna: "Yes. Two rackets."

That's sweet. There's nothing on Russian television anyway...
Anna: "Yeah, only five channels."

So do you remember American type things? Did you ever... When did they build the McDonalds? What was that, '84 or something like that?
Anna: "1990. The first day it opened, I was there."

1990? Oh, okay.
Anna: "Yes, I standing in a big line for like, three hours."

okay
Anna: "...and I got to taste my first Big Mac."

Well, what did that taste like? Did it taste strange, or what?
Anna: "It tasted like a ROCK!"

Well it's good to see we share some of the same experiences, the Russians and Americans.
Anna: "...but you know what I like? The caramel sundae."

Do you like fast… Do Russians like fast food? I mean, when you came here, did you go to all the fast food restaurants?
Anna: "When I'm in Russia, I go to the drive through."

In Russia?
Anna: "here."

Here, oh okay.
Anna: "I'm not in Russia anymore. Remember? I moved here."

But you go back a lot, right?
Anna: "Yes, sometimes."

Okay. Now, the press gets on you for your short skirts. This is the longest skirt I've ever seen you in.
Anna: "Just for you today, I wear the long skirt."

Oh, thank you very much.
Anna: "You're welcome."

Well, show that picture. (picture of Anna at Wimbledon is shown) Is that really short for Wimbledon? How much longer do women normally wear it?
Anna: "Well, I think... can I ask you a question?"

Yeah.
Anna: "I think tennis skirts are supposed to be short."

Right.
Anna: "Otherwise, how would I move in it?"

Exactly. Exactly. But the press seems to get on your case, they say that yours are shorter than the others, are they?
Anna: "I guess my legs... my legs are a little bit longer than the others."

So... It's not really a shorter skirt, you just have longer legs?
Anna: "Yes."

That's a great answer. (applause) Does the press bother you? I don't know if they bother you as much here, I think England is worse with tabloids.
Anna: "Can I ask you another question?"

Sure.
Anna: "Did you watch Wimbledon?"

Ahh, a little bit.
Anna: "Okay. You probably remember, and everybody remembers that it rained so much?"

yes.
Anna: "...that they didn't have anything else to write about. So they started writing about my hair, about my dress, about my skirt, about my white nail polish."

Oh the white nail polish, okay.
Anna: "For Wimbledon, you have to wear white. So, all they had to do, you know, they pick on my skirt."

All right. Does that bother you?
Anna: "But, but when I got on the court, and started to hit my forehand, they wrote about my forehand. So that's what the most important thing was!"

Right. So does it bother you, or it doesn't bother you?
Anna: "When the write about my forehand it's fine (laughter)."

Okay.
Anna: "...but when they write about my skirt, that's okay."

Okay. Now, you played Martina ahh, umm, Hingis? That's her name?
Anna: "Yes."

You played Martina there.
Anna: "You can pronounce that right."

Is there a big rivalry between you two?
Anna: "Well, you know, on the court I think everybody expect us to be a rivalry."

Yeah
Anna: "And on the court it is a rivalry. But off the court, we're like normal people. We're friends."

You can be friends? You can hang out?
Anna: "Yeah, we can."

Now, you want to be an actress, too? Is this true, I hear? Did you meet Glenn Close?
Anna: "Yes, I did."

Did you tell her you wanted to be an actress?
Anna: "I will talk to her after the show about that."

Okay. Okay. What would you rather do, win an Oscar, or win Wimbledon?
Anna: "Well, you know, I'm a performer. So I can go out there and perform with my racket on the court."

yeah
Anna: "so I can better stick to my day job, and work a little bit more at winning another Wimbledon."

yeah!
Anna: "You know, next year, winning Wimbledon."

Okay, so then, then the Oscar comes later?
Anna: "Yeah."

Alright. Well, this wasn't too hard.
Anna: "Nope."

Well, good. Thanks for coming.
Anna: "All right, thank you."

 

 

 

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 Find out more at Anna's offical website:
kournikova.com