As an internationally-recognized tennis star, Anna Kournikova is expanding her role on the world stage as a voice of children's health, sportsmanship and spirit. Her commitment to tennis remains strong as she continues to be involved in charities close to her heart and relevant to the sport that has given her so much opportunity.Since 2006, Anna has served as one of K-Swiss' global ambassadors. In this role, she has applied her on court experience and fashion sense in helping design tennis and casual apparel for the international brand. Anna also continues her commitment to tennis by participating in World Team Tennis matches that celebrate the sport and bring together legends, current players, up-and-comers and fans. In addition, she participates in tennis exhibitions throughout the world to support various charitable organizations.
Anna's passion for children is reflected in her work with the Boys & Girls Club of America; focusing time and attention to programs dedicated to promoting an active lifestyle for children. Most recently, in partnership with the Cartoon Network, she helped launch the Get Animated campaign which encourages kids and their parents to "get up and get moving!" Anna continues her philanthropic work with PSI, a U.S. based NGO focusing on children's health in under developed countries. On her most recent trip to Haiti, she worked with their ground partners to promote safe water drinking and malaria prevention. She has several upcoming trips to visit children in India and her home country of Russia. Anna is also an active participant in the USO, visiting troops and visiting their schools on military bases around the world.
Born in Moscow, Russia, Anna picked up her first tennis racquet at age five. She began hitting at Sokolniki Park and became a member of the prestigious Spartak Tennis Club, coached by Larissa Preobraschenskaja. In 1989, at the tender age of eight, Anna began appearing in junior tournaments, and by the following year, was attracting attention from tennis scouts across the world. Anna signed a management deal at age 10 and went to Bradenton, Florida to train at Nick Bolletierri's celebrated tennis academy.
Following her arrival in the United States, Anna exploded onto the tennis scene, making her the internationally recognized tennis star she is today. At age 14, she became the youngest player ever to win a Fed Cup match. She then went on to win the European Championships and the Italian Open Junior tournament. Anna also beat out the competition to win the prestigious Junior Orange Bowl, becoming the youngest player ever to win the 18 and under division at that tournament. By the end of the year, Anna was crowned the ITF World Champion.
After her success in the juniors, Anna turned pro in 1995. She won two ITF singles tournaments, the 1st in Midland, Michigan, and the 2nd in Rockford, Illinois. Anna then battled through four qualifying rounds at the U.S. Open to eventually reach the fourth round of the main draw in her first-ever Grand Slam Tournament where she lost to Steffi Graff. At the end of 1996, Anna was the recipient of the prestigious Sanex WTA Tour Most Impressive Newcomer Award.
In 1997, Anna reached the semi-finals of Wimbledon and became the 2nd woman in the Open Era, next to Chris Evert, to reach the Wimbledon Semi's in her career debut. A year later, Anna broke into the world's top 20 at #16. At The Lipton Championships in Key Biscayne, Florida, Anna defeated four consecutive top 10 players in a four day period during a single tournament, an unprecedented achievement that no other female tennis player has accomplished to date. Three months later, she beat Steffi Graff on grass, a feat only two other players accomplished in the 1990's. That same week, Anna broke into the top 10 for the first time in her career. At the end of 1998, Anna finished the year at #13 in the world in singles and #10 in doubles. Her career continued to bloom during the next two years, with a year end ranking of #12 in singles and #1 in doubles in 1999, and #8 in singles and #4 in doubles in 2000.
Anna has defeated many of the world's top players who have competed on the women's tour, including Lindsay Davenport, Steffi Graff, Monica Seles, Jennifer Capriati, Arantxa Sanchez and Martina Hingis. These impressive wins, along with Anna's consistent top 10 rankings, two Grand Slam doubles titles at the 1999 and 2002 Australian Open, and 3 Grand Slam Mixed Doubles Finals, have more than proven her ability to excel in both singles and doubles on the WTA Tour.
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