Anna Kournikova is considered by many to be an athlete whose popularity far exceeded her talent. Before she was a trainer on the weight loss reality TV show The Biggest Loser, Kournikova played tennis and infamously never won a tournament. Despite that fact, she told People in a recent interview that she is proud of what she achieved during her playing career.
“I am not a robot,” she says. “I have feelings, but I know that I did my best. I am very proud of what I have achieved.”
Kournikova spoke at length about the back injury that ended her career at the age of 21.
“I never planned or thought that was going to be it. My back really forced me to stop. It got so bad; I couldn’t tie my shoes, literally. I would be in excruciating pain. I had been doing six to eight hours [of training] every day since I was 5 years old.”
The former player says it took her a long time to figure out her identity after she stopped playing tennis. She eventually transitioned from tennis to modeling, and charity work, before ending up as a television personality.
Critics will once again take the shortcut and point to Kournikova never winning a tournament to laugh at her statement. I’ve always disagreed. It’s unfair to cut down her entire career based on that fact.
Not only should Anna never have to apologize for being attractive, but also only got into modeling after becoming notable for being one of the best female tennis players in the world. It’s not like she was ranked 137th in the world and became popular — she was once ranked as high as eighth. You don’t become a top 10 player in the world by accident. Plus, she made the fourth round of the U.S. Open at the age of 15, and she reached the semifinals at Wimbledon at 16.
Additonally, Kournikova played at a time when women’s tennis was stacked. Some of her competition at the time included Steffi Graf, Martina Hingis, Jana Novotna, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, Lidnsay Davenport, and Venus Williams. There is no shame in losing in a grand slam to any of those players. The competition in today’s game doesn’t even come close to what Kournikova faced. Had she come up in this era, it’s not a stretch to say she would be a top five player. She should be proud of what she achieved, despite what the critics suggest, and Danica Patrick should only be too happy to receive the comparison.Google+