September 10, 2005
|How much you're beautiful in Rome
A run in the capital and an exclusive interview with the first tennis lolita, every day more distant from courts and more slave of her own ad-character. But when she is not playing the star...
The idea was tickling us: a night run through the roads of Rome, lightened by the torches in the 45th anniversary of the Bikila's olympic triumph, with the divine Kournikova.
An exceptional patroness for an exceptional event: the one, for someone 'stamped' as 'press' to be admitted to approach the first, inimitable tennis-Lolita, usually so well protected by her superefficient staff. But on the contrary, in a tepid september night, here you are Anna the star mixed with the people, Anna the icy who plays with children, Anna the touchy who laughs when we throw out the challenge: "ready to bite some dust?"
No answer needed: she is ever ready to stake herself: Anna K, the woman noone can ask to, beautiful and impossible, and most of all, unreachable.
In all meanings (as she clarified to a fan asking her to marry: "you have not enough money"). Get ready, Go! The head to head against the russian go on for about ten metres, then she - who keeps training as she have to come back on court tomorrow - flies away to the Colosseum and vanish after the first curve, making crazy the three atletic local bodyguards who they put to her heels. If the three resist until the goal, probably, is more to have a closer look to "that delicious lowerback" (they didn't use exactly these words) then to respect contractal duties. As she activates the turbo more because she likes to win then to accomplish Adidas, historical sponsor of the tzarina and of this first "CorriRoma". On the other hand Anna K is done this way: she ever wants to be the number one. It's a pity that, as in tennis she can't also in the 2 km of the non-competitive race, where she placed second after the roman Barbara Longhi. "Well, it's wonderful to run in this town, it's so beautiful it leave me without words". And without breath: Anna at the end is twisted. And yet it's here, at once without the usual staff-court, the place she finds the words she didn't told us. The ones she never tell. Alone, she at last feels free: free from posing, free to dream a nosh-up in a trattoria, free to envy who is going to enjoy the sweet capital nightlife and the lux of keeping the alarm unset. "Mine, dear me, will sound at dawn": another airplane, another engagement. She says she doesn't feel prisoned by her magazine character, but when she has not to play that role, with the arrogance of a star who pretends everything as due, she is even friendly. Kind. Human... and she cause tenderness when she admits that yes, probably, she'd not unappreciate a little bit of normality. Or at least some holidays: "I hope to have one at christmas in a little caribic island I love, where there is not even the phone at the reception. Where I'm not Anna Kournikova". Anna the revelation seems to be another person in front of the one we tried to know just some hours earlier, when she released to Sportweek one of the rare interviews not payed, as it's usual for people who delivered hands and feet to marketing a promising career. Because Kournikova, who sells herself so well to earn 10 millions dollars without winning a tournament, can play tennis: This is proved by a Wimbledon semi-final at sixteen, and being the world number 8 in 2000, before to fall down under the 100th and lower until the poor figures in her last appearitions in the circuit. Before she appears for our afternoon speaking from the door come out the two assistents to establish the rules:time interview: 10 minutes (keep in mind that 10 with her are rare and precious), rigorously in english, questions list to present for approvation: It's also forbidden to ask about private life, use words like gossip, to poke her about her relations whith colleagues and similar questions. Things that not even in Hollywood... Well, whatever. Cronometer in the hand. Ready, go!
Remove us immediatly a couriosity: It's a such difficult relation with you and the press?
Anna: "It' s not ever easy, for me as for others."
But does'nt it seem to you to be exaggerated?
Anna: "Personally, considering the many requests I have to organize myself and pay the maximum attention to what we talk about."
Are you worried to read things you never told?
Anna: "Sometimes it happens: Sometimes for language problems, sometimes for bad faith. I know it's part of the game so often I do not react but if someone exaggerate I have to take measures."
But you build up your career thanks to media: So they bother you or they help you?
Anna: "The next question?"
Continuing on relations: the one with your fans?
Anna: "I love my fans! They follow me ever since I was ten years old, it's a very beautiful thing."
But you always go around with bodyguards...
Anna: "Come off it! It's untrue I have bodyguards. Yes sometimes I need to take precautions. When you are between people you can't know what could happen. It's the same for many celebrities, and some sportive."
What's your category, now?
Anna: "I am and I feel a sportive: sport is a life philosophy before than a job."
But what is wrote on your documents under "profession"?
Anna: "I' m still not retired, officially."
Do you think you are still a tennis player?
Anna: "Technically I can' t say I' m a pro cause i have no ranking but tennis still is the most important thing in my life and it will ever be. Let' s say it's a moment of transition: I do a lot of things right now."
What's the role of tennis in this phase?
Anna: "I don' t play as much I' d like, because I travel a lot. But I often participate to charity tournaments and I do everything to promote this sport. I' d like to bring more women and children to tennis: It' s a great gym, and for ladies a pleasant way to keep in fit: Health cares me a lot, I want to be a example of a healthy lifestile and give people positive messages."
Don't you miss competition?
Anna: "Yes, sooo much: I miss the tournaments athmosphere , the locker-rooms fellowsship, the race tension, the emotion of playing in front of 10-15.000 persons, sensations that I don't forget."
By the way: Once you defined yourself : "A wonderful world of emotions" What are yours in this period?
Anna: "Really I said this? I can' t remember... maybe i was misunderstood. However my sensations change quickly: A day I feel in a way, the day later, the opposite."
Typical for a "twins" like you: the sign of the double personality. Can you describe your two faces?
Anna: "I identify myself in my zodiacal sign: I'm a tought one, independent and aggressive, but at the same time quiet and reflective: I need calm to find my balance, maybe closing myself in home and having relax."
How do you relax?
Anna: "I stay all day in bed, or I dive in a bathtub surrounded by candles."
And to download stress?
Anna: "I do gymnastic routines. And if I'm very angry I go running. I ever feel better after a good sweat. I'm done this way."
Describe yourself in two adjectives:
Anna: "Only two? Ok: Spirited, adventurous."
No deceiving: A good and a bad quality of you:
Anna: "A bad quality? Let's see..."
Aren't you thinking on it too much? So it's true as they say, that you'd think to be perfect?
Anna: "Hell no! I've many faults: just in this moment I can't get one in my mind!"
Anna: "Ok: founded! I do worry too much."
It's not a fault but a way to evade...
Anna: "It depends by the points of view. The best quality? The loyality."
Is there loyalty in the tennis-world?
Anna: "Of course there is. It's a little world everyone knows each other and you try to have good relations with everyone but it's not ever possible. The same as anywhere: Live together is not simple."
Does friendhip exist, too?
Anna: "Yes: Travelling all around together, living in the same places, for most of the year, strong bounds grow up. One of my best friends is Martina Hingis, she was my partner when playing doubles."
The interested girl could disagree... However: Who are your true friends?
Anna: "They can be counted on one hand fingers... maybe cutting the hand in two parts before. They are the old ones, few but good ones, I believe in friendship it's absolutely necessary in life."
Do you believe in God?
Anna: "Yes but I don' t frequent church."
And in extraterrestrials?
Anna: "Oh my god, what a question! I don't know, nobody asked me. However yes, I believe in the existence of some different form of life."
Talking about a different life: Who is the person that, more than any other, changed your life?
Anna: "My second coach, a russian ex tennis player called Larissa Preobrazhenskaya: she gave me the base, she did teach me the strokes. When she was training me she was 60 yo and she did play with me 6-7 hours every day, running with no stops. Everything I can do I learned from this incredible woman."
What did your parents teach you?
Anna: "To work hard. To fix goals and to commit myself completely to get them. In short: To try it ever. If it doesn't work, amen: have no regrets is the important thing."
Has Anna K any regrets?
And you, which values will you trasmit to your children?
Anna: "The respect for people, first of all. And the ability to adapt, to be content: It's necessary to appreciate what we have."
You can have all. Can you be content with little?
Anna: "Of course. I never forget I'm so lucky and I often think to everything bad there is in the world. It's necessary to enjoy also minor things: to stop and smell the roses, as Americans say."
To see you from outside, it seems like living in a dream. Are you afraid to awake?
Anna: "I live a normal life: In the morning I wake up and wash my teeth, like everyone. And I also go to supermarket to do the shopping."
Anna: "It's true, I swear it!"
Can you cook?
Anna: "Well, this no, I never cooked."
Please forgive my insistence: Your life isn' t exactly normal...
Anna: "It's much more normal then people think. I'm all around the world for all the year, that's true, but I carry my bags on my own end I fly in economic class, sometimes. Just sometimes a special day like this one happens, with the run and the rest."
Like a 8.000 ?/night (better: a Thousand and One nights) suite at Hilton Cavalieri: Can something still surprise you?
Anna: "Childrens drive me crazy: They are natural, wonderful, unpredictable. I love them."
What are your memories about yourself es a child?
Anna: "All are tennis-related: I began playing so young... God I was a little bird, bones & skin. And everything seemed enormous."
But you was winning, better: you was beating hollow, with opponents much older then you, too.
Anna: "Yes, it' s true, thanks."
Anna: "And nothing, thank you to have reminded it."
We wanted to say: And then later, in the years, what did happen?
Anna: "No one is perfect."
Find out more at Anna's offical website: