Two Russian tennis stars – Maria Sharapova and Anna Kournikova – have never met before. Organizers of a recent tennis tournament in Miami apparently decided to bring the two famous beauties together.
Neither Sharapova nor Kournikova played in the tournament. Anna has not been playing the game that made her famous for years. Sharapova referred to an injury. However, Maria came to the after-party, apparently willing to show her new hair style. Reportedly, Sharapova did not know that Kournikova would be there too.
Anna is terribly jealous of Maria’s incredible earnings (about $18 million a year), whereas Anna herself does not make much on advertising anymore. Nevertheless, it seemed that the girls were glad to see each other. Sharapova acknowledged later that she was much happier to see and meet actor Orlando Bloom. Maria said that the actor was very nice and exquisite in his matters.
Maria Sharapova unveiled another piece of news. She said that she was going to open a tennis academy in Russia.
“I went to America just because there was no place for me to train at, especially in winter. There will be wonderful conditions for training at my academy,” she said.
Anna Kournikova prefers not to think about a way to help the country that raised her, at least for the time being.
On April 19 Maria celebrated her 21st birthday. She organized two parties in New York to celebrate the start of her adult life. At first Maria arranged a party for her divorced parents. The tennis star hopes that her mother and father will be together anyway.
Two days later Maria invited her close friends and good pals for another birthday party. Maria reportedly danced all the night through, till 4 a.m.
It is an open secret that most of Kournikova's fame has come from the publicity surrounding her personal life as well as numerous modeling shoots. During her debut at the 1996 U.S. Open at the age of 15, Kournikova's beauty was noticed by the world and soon pictures of her appeared in numerous magazines worldwide.
In 2000, Kournikova became the new face for Berlei's shock absorber sports bras, and appeared in the highly successful "only the ball should bounce" billboard campaign. Photographs of her scantily-clad form have appeared in various men's magazines, including more than one much-publicized Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue (2004 - 2005), where she posed in bikinis and swimsuits, and in other popular men's publications such as FHM and Maxim. Kournikova was named one of People's 50 Most Beautiful People in 1998, 2000, 2002, and 2003 and was voted "hottest female athlete" and "hottest couple" (with Iglesias) on ESPN.com. In 2002 she also placed first in FHM's 100 Sexiest Women in the World in U.S. and UK editions. By contrast, ESPN — citing the degree of hype as compared to actual accomplishments as a singles player — ranked Kournikova 18th in its "25 Biggest Sports Flops of the Past 25 Years". Kournikova was also ranked #1 in the ESPN Classic series "Who's number 1?" when the series featured sport's most overrated athletes.
Maria Sharapova started playing tennis at the age of four. Her father brought her to the United States when she was seven years old, to attend the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Bradenton, Florida. Her mother, Yelena, could not come with them because of visa restrictions, and followed two years later. Sharapova has lived in the United States since then, but retains her Russian citizenship. She has a home in Manhattan Beach, California and in early 2008, purchased a penthouse apartment in Netanya, Israel.
Prepared by Dmitry Sudakov