April 09, 2004
Kournikova a no-go

What were the odds of this?

With the Astros and Giants doing battle down at Minute Maid Park the previous three nights, media coverage of the River Oaks International had been bare bones at best. But the TV tower and photographers' row were going to be standing-room-only in the sold-out stadium Thursday night, and the shutterbugs weren't pouring in to shoot Vince Spadea's gams.

Like the spring flowers on the leafy River Oaks Country Club grounds, Annamania was bursting forth. Alas, the buzz died quickly when the discouraging word trickled out that Anna Kournikova was laid up in her Galleria-area hotel room, too ill and/or exhausted to answer the bell for an exhibition match against talented American teenager Carly Gullickson.

Apparently Kournikova's jet-setting lifestyle caught up with her, much to the dismay of River Oaks International officials and the 3,300-plus fans with tickets. A significant number of those were sold just for the Kournikova session, and there's no telling how many of the season passes were bought to ensure an up-close-and-personal look at one of the world's most, uh, admired sports figures.

And Kournikova, 22, isn't even an active player at present, having been sidelined by chronic back problems since last year. She's most famous, tennis-wise, for perhaps being the best player never to have won a singles title.

"Best"? Try "best known". Would any of us know her name if her looks were on par with her professional play? Please.

(Aside to Kevin: Note the byline on the story. Is this a fitting use of Dale Robertson's talents or what?)

Posted by Charles Kuffner on April 09, 2004 to Other sports | TrackBack

She's most famous, tennis-wise, for perhaps being the best player never to have won a singles title.

Ha, using whatever criteria that puts her in that category, I'd be the second best. And I don't even play tennis.

Posted by: sean on April 9, 2004 2:41 PM

That's not why she's famous, of course. But she probably is the best player to never win a singles title. She was a top ten player at her best and made the semis of a grand slam. An awful lot of players who weren't close to as good as she was (before she stopped working on her game) won singles titles.

The thing is, if she wasn't a sex symbol she probably would have won some titles. She played all the high-profile events rather than trying to win against weaker fields in less important tournaments -- because the organizers always wanted Anna.

Posted by: Mac Thomason on April 10, 2004 10:46 AM