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Interview for Sports Illustrated at Sacramento


July 19, 2006

 

 


About reading in general:
Anna: "I read like crazy. Magazines, short stories, books - especially when I'm on an airplane or the treadmill or the exercise bike. Lately I've been into summer chick-lit, lighthearted stuff. And I'm into all kinds of magazines, from Vogue to O to Good Housekeeping. Yesterday on the plane I was reading [a Good Housekeeping cover story] about Rachael Ray and her recipes. Hey, I'm home a lot now, and I want to start learning how to cook. I like to be up-to-date. I'm trying to read and get educated about all sorts of subjects -- health, disease, life. In general, I like to get informed."

About her inability to co-mingle with celebrities:
Anna: "I've been to like three Hollywood parties, and the last one was after the Teen Choice Awards last year, and everybody was under the age of 21."

About beating Graf at Eastbourne in June 1998:
Anna: "On grass, with three torn ligaments in my right hand. I fell at three-all in the third set and ripped up my hand and finished the match. I was only the second player to beat her on grass in the '90s."

About her chronic spinal lumbar dysfunction...
Anna: "...where your S1 joints always move and one hip is higher than the other."

About a retirement announcement and the comeback questions:
Anna: "To do it [comeback], I'd have to be able to give 100 percent effort. No, I haven't [ruled out a return]. I really don't know whether I will or won't. That's why I don't want to make an announcement that I'm retired; I don't want to be one of those people who says they're quitting and then goes back on it. It's definitely interesting, though."

Anna about growing up in the public eye and her russian origin:
Anna: "Going through puberty in front of the public, it's kind of weird and strange and fun and exciting. And scary, especially me coming from Russia, back then, in the '90s, when it was still so new -- everything, for me, was like a candy store. My mom was young, and we were like the test cases going through all these experiences; there was no rule book for us to follow. A lot of people took advantage of us, and we had to be guarded at times, and there were people pulling us in different directions constantly. My mom did the best she could, but it was tough. It's not like I'm complaining, though. I'm very blessed. I'm financially independent, and I like to think I grew up into a strong-minded woman who is open to trying new things."

About her love life:
Anna: "I don't think we're gonna go there [marriage]. I like to keep my personal life private. Relationships are hard enough; imagine putting the pressure of the press on it. I'm personally not one of those people who wants to scream, 'I'm in love! I'm in love!' But things are great."

living in Miami...
Anna: "...where everyone is relaxed, like they're on vacation."

How does she spend her time when she's in Moscow:
Anna: "hanging out with my grandmother and doing nothing." [she also visits Larisa Preobrajenskaya, her first coach back in Russia when she was a little girl]"

Anna about leading a "narrowed" life as a Pro:
Anna: "Being an athlete, it's pretty narrowed down. You live a bit of an isolated life. You've got your routine - practice, eat, sleep, massage, therapy, press conference, and then do the same thing all over again. You don't get much time to expand your horizons or broaden your views. I was always one of those people who, if I was tired physically, my mind was kind of blank. I'm having fun kind of stimulating my brain and being a grown-up."

Anna about "destroying" her public image:
Anna: "That's all right. I'm not worried about my image anymore. I don't even know what my image is."

in her injury time-outs as a Pro:
Anna: "Even back then, the amount of offers [offcourt activities] I was getting was exaggerated."

About judging other persons:
Anna: "I'm trying not to judge people. I catch myself and then I stop."

Playing tennis at home in Miami these days:
Anna: "Just hitting with guys at the club...maybe playing a little doubles."

About the WTT:
Anna: "It's a great way for fans to experience tennis in a shorter format - it's like a crash course on our sport. And it's great that it brings you into the markets where there normally isn't tennis, to attract fans who otherwise don't get to see us. For me personally, it's a way to be back on the court, in front of fans, and experience the rush again."

About the WTA today and in the past when she was still playing:
Anna: "From the outside, I just feel like five or seven years ago there was just such a crop of personalities. You had players from the earlier era - Graf, Seles, Sanchez-Vicario - and then so many interesting newcomers. I feel so lucky to have played in such a time. It was such an amazing time for women's tennis, and I wish the tour had taken better advantage of it. It's not that I think they didn't appreciate it; it's just that, maybe publicity-wise and marketing-wise, they didn't know how to handle it. Tennis is the only women's sport that's worldwide, and they could have thought even bigger."

About Hingis' return:
Anna: "I think tennis is very lucky to have her back. She's a real talent, a real player -- visually, mentally, a great sense of the game. And she also has the 'it' factor."

About Maria Sharapova and that sort of competitiveness:
Anna: "I think what she's done is great. She deserves what she's achieving. I know how hard the girls work in general to get to that point. And anyway, I'm just not into that competitive, throat-cut stuff anymore, with anybody. I sleep very well at night. I really think I've come a long way. I've matured a lot...and I have so much more maturing to do."

 

 

 

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