|A decade after hijacking tennis as a brash teen, she's matured in attitude and in style, content with the phenomenon she was and the woman she's become
L. JON WERTHEIM
Interview at a Starbucks shop
The book Eat, Pray, Love (Wertheim didn't read it):
Anna: "You really should. It's spiritual, but well-written at the same time."
The Kournikova of today conforms to the image she created years ago:
Anna: "Of course, I'm a different person! People say, 'I can't believe how much you've changed!' What did they expect? People grow, evolve. It would be sad if I didn't change!"
The weight of never having won a title...:
Anna: "I put pressure on myself, especially as I got older. At 16, 17 you have no fear. You don't think or analyze. You just play on automatic. You can get smarter as you get older, but in sports you can be too smart, you know? In a perfect world, would I have won a tournament? Yes. But I wasn't able to string those matches together. Sometimes I got unlucky, and sometimes I just lost."
Anna: "Not a thing. Except to be a little stronger physically. Come on, regrets? I grew up a little girl in the Soviet Union playing at a small sports club. Tennis gave me my life."
Does she wish she'd dialed back the hype machine a bit?
Anna: "It's hard. We did the best we could. But there was no blueprint. Hey, I took the money. It's simple. If you don't want the attention, don't take the money."
The comeback question:
Anna: "Honestly, who knows? I'm young enough to still play. But physically could I take it?"
Having a young half-brother...:
Anna: "I get my kid fix. Then I say, 'Here ya go, Mom. See ya.'"
Boys & Girls Club fund-raisers:
Anna: "Don't get the wrong idea. I basically get dressed up and beg people for money."
When she goes out with her longtime boyfriend:
Anna: "Girls look at him. Guys look at me. It goes with the job, but it gets annoying when you feel violated. Just take the picture and be done."
For the record:
Anna: "I'm not married, not pregnant, didn't have a boob job, no Botox. What else? Here's one thing I don't get: Why are people afraid of getting older? You feel wiser. You feel more mature. You feel like you know yourself better. You would trade that for softer skin? Not me!"
Find out more at Anna's offical website: