The coronavirus is giving many of us time to plough through some reading, including a New York Times tennis writer who is looking back through a book written about the women’s tour in 2000.
He shared a couple of pages on social media this week offering a sneak peek into the juggernaut that was Anna Kournikova.
The Russian star was at the height of her fame that year — breaking into the world’s top 10 and breaking hearts along the way.
Take the time to read through these pages describing the incredible state of her romantic life, where author Jon Wertheim noted her “uncanny ability to keep any of a half dozen suitors on the down end of her yoyo” and described the then 19-year-old as “the first female athlete to treat men the way most male celebrities treat women”.
What a love triangle.
So Kournikova accepts a marriage proposal from ice hockey star Pavel Bure, who she lived in the same apartment complex with in Miami.
But that comes as a complete surprise to Sergei Federov, another Russian playing in the NHL who had been linked to Kournikova for years and had purchased a $1.6 million penthouse before handing her the deed for $100.
After reading of the engagement in the media, Federov asks for a day off from his hockey coach so he can fly across country to change Kournikova’s mind.
He walks into the players’ lounge at a tournament in Arizona holding 240 roses and reaches an “understanding” with Kournikova, who calls off her engagement to Bure.
If that’s not enough there’s tabloid gossip about the tennis star’s overbearing mother and the Russian mafia.
But Wertheim claims the whole episode is far less sinister. Kournikova was simply staging a publicity stunt to divert attention from her recent poor play — and Bure was the unfortunate collateral damage.
After dating several athletes — including a fling with Australia’s Mark Philippoussis — Kournikova met popstar Enrique Iglesias after appearing in his video for the song Escape and never looked back.