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7/06/2007 11:38:00 AM
Anna Kournikova's Five Favorite Tennis Players
Anna Kournikova misses watching Andre Agassi play tennis.
Photo by AP
Ten years ago, Anna Kournikova found splendor on the grass. Just 16, she reached the Wimbledon semifinals before losing to eventual champion Martina Hingis. That deep run at her debut Wimbledon (she and Chris Evert are the only woman in the Open tennis era to reach the semifinals at their Wimbledon debut) would be her best singles performance at a major.
Now 26, Kournikova is four years removed from playing fulltime on the WTA Tour, but stays active in tennis by playing exhibitions and making appearances for sponsors. This week she returns to the court for the Sacramento Capitals of World Team Tennis. Just don't expect a return to the pro circuit. "No plans right now," she says. Though Kournikova has not played fulltime since 2003, she follows the sport closely. Hera are Anna's all-time five favorite tennis players to watch:
1. (tie) Monica Seles and Andre Agassi: For me, they are always going to be my two favorite players ever.
3. Kim Clijsters: I loved watching her but as we all know, she stopped playing. She was amazing in the last few years. It always very entertaining to watch her.
4. Rafael Nadal: Just amazing to watch right now.
5. Serena Williams: I always like to watch Serena because there's always drama, like in a good way. She's a complete fighter.
Agree with Anna? As Wimbledon heads toward the finish line, give us your favorite tennis players to watch:
Federer obviously has a beautiful game. Lleyton Hewitt is a bit of a jerk, but I do enjoy watching his matches. If Agassi was still playing, I would have him #1. On the women's side, I would say Venus and Jelena Jankovic.
(1) Venus & Serena (except when they play each other) (2) Anna (ahhhh... anna...) (3) Gustavo Kuerten (That heart he did on the rolands garros clay will live forever!) (4) Ivanisevic: always fun to watch, so crazy, so good (5) Nadal: sometimes it feels like hes goint to eat the other mate! (6) Agassi & Seles (got to agree with anna on them!
Sampras is one of the most overrated players in history… yes he won a lot of slams, and deserves credit for all the wins (he did win them after all) but when he wasn't hiding behind his huge serve (either an ace or a simple put-back volley), he was eminently beatable. By far too one-dimensional, his success relied heavily on a big serve and easy points to get him out of trouble. Just look at the stats, 14 slams (impressive yes…) but 7 won at Wimbledon where his serve was untouchable, 4 at the US Open where the quick (but not Wimbledon-parched-grass quick) surface helped him squeak out several close matches. The rest of the time he could barely make a final, with only 3 appearances at the Aussie, and not even a whiff of a final on the super slow French clay (best result a semi-final loss in 96). The gaping French hole on his resume speaks volumes. With his serve neutralized on the slower surfaces Sampras looked mediocre at best, losing to players he would have routinely trounced on the fast grass of Wimbledon. Towards the end of his career Sampras didn't even look like he was trying to win the French anymore, mostly going out in the 1rst or 2nd rounds, pretty much tanking to get to the cozy confines of the grass court circuit. I agree that Sampras was a good player, that had an amazing run at Wimbledon and won many well-earned titles, however due to his one-dimensional, quick surface game and a total lack of competitiveness when out of his element he should not be considered great, compared to others such as Rod Laver or Andre Agassi who always had a great game on all surfaces.
1. Marcelo Rios (the most fluid, effortless player - he always seems unruffled, unrushed) 2. Fabrice Santoro (the magician. 3. Serena and Nadal (for the fight) 4. Federer (not his game against Nadal) 5. Venus and Safin (when they Bring their A Games
It is obvious that the Williams sisters took steroids, they are built like men, either knowingly or their father gave it to them unknowingly. Either way, they are like Barry Bonds, they could not have been where they are now without an advantage. TB
1) Federer- true tennis fans can appreciate how special he is and how he makes his brilliance appear easy. Come on now- how many finals in grand slams in a row... Simply the best and a joy to watch (dominant like Samprass but a better, more complete game).
2) Graff- I know she does not play anymore but... Methodical and exceptional. You here her compared to Federer- ie. competition too weak. I do not buy it. They are simply too good for the opposition.
3) Becker- pure entertainment on the court. His Wimbledon monologues to himself in the early days were worth the price of admission.
4) Nadal- pure athleticism (I do not like him being a Federer backer but what a talent).
5) Agassi- I just loved to watch him play. Wonderful player and seemed like a wonderful person.
No Samprass? He was great but I just did not enjoy watching him play that much.
Five Favorite tennis players 1) Roger Federer - Maybe the best ever to grace the court 2) Stefan Edberg - Sweet game 3) John McEnroe - Before Federer, the most talented player on the court 4) Steffi Graff - Amazing Run 5) Andre Agassi -
1. Martina Navratilova and Stefan Edberg 2. Serena Williams 3. Roger Federer 4. Miloslav Mecir 5. Whoever is the cute tennis chick of the minute.
Honorable mention to Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi, because they were awesome.
I'm a big fan of serve and volley, and nobody did it better than my #1's. Serena is the dominant female player ever, and Federer is the most dominant male player ever. Mecir was the smoothest thing this side of Roger Federer, but injuries ruined his career. And I love watching all the new hotties take their turn in the spotlight.
1.) Venus Williams - A physical specimen and an athletic prodigy. Long, lean, powerful, and graceful. Can serve like a man. Great smile. 2.) Chris Evert - One of the best baseline players on all surfaces. Gritty and competetive on the court, gracious and classy off. 3.) Justine Henin - Makes the list for her backhand alone, the best I've ever seen (women or men). 4.) Stefi Graf - Best forehand in women's tennis. Best legs too. 5.) Monica Seles - If not for the unfortunate stabbing attack, she would probably have gone down as the best of all time.
Top 5 men (in no particular order): 1.) Federer - There really is no weakness in his game. Combines power with such incredible grace he makes it look effortless. Best forehand I've ever seen. 2.) Becker - big serves, superb volleys, strong strokes. Threw his body all around the court to win a point and was successful most of the time. 3.) McEnroe - One of the best serve and volleyers I've ever seen. When operating from the net to the half line he was an absolute genius. The best doubles player ever also. 4.) Pete Sampras - Maybe the best server ever. Definitely the best 2nd serve the game has ever seen. Seeing him at rest he looked almost ungainly, but on the move he could pounce on the ball like a panther. Just about anything on his forehand side was playable for him. 5.) Marat Safin - A natural talent, powerful and surprisingly graceful for his size.
To the guy criticizing Pete Sampras: Whatever the reason Pete Sampras used to win all those Slams, it's irelevent. The bottom line is he has won more Slams than any man in history. Any player could of used those same techniques but none could master them as well at Pistol Pete. If using those techniques would work for anyone I would of quit my job and played tennis for a living. Get real dude.
who was that guy writing about Pete Sampras being overrated. Roger Federer has not won the French either. Is he overrated as well? Where did you come from anyway? I loved watching Billie Jean, Connors, McEnroe, Arthur Ashe, Nastase and the Williams sisters. As for my favorite, I thank them all for providing me with the greatest entertainment over the past 50 years.
Your remarks against Mr. Sampras do not take into account many of the redeeming qualities that made Mr. Sampras Great (not just "good"), viz.
1. Winning the U.S. Open after throwing up. 2. Winning the U.S. Open after breaking down in tears from the death of his coach. [Stop right there: the above 2 would be enough to grant him 'great'-hood.] 3. Winning ANYTHING despite the life-long affliction of Thalassemia. [Stop right there (2): that ALONE would bestow 'great'ness upon him.] 4. Breaking records despite the competition around him (and judge not this competition flagless - Agassi (cf. his record against same, the same player to whom you would grant the title of 'great'); Courier, Chang, Lendl, McEnroe (albeit the last two on their last legs), Stich, T. Martin, etc.). 5. Holding records such as being #1 for a record one hundred kajillion weeks, against the same competition noted above. [Do I repeat myself? Very well, I do repeat myself, as Mr. Sampras did, in victory.] 6. Taking every advantage of his talents and then going BEYOND (cf. #'s 1-3 above), unlike some of his contemporaries who (other than Agassi) would remain nameless and who had squandered all opportunities until later in life (despite that, Mr. Sampras STILL beat Agassi, er, them, later in life). 7. Doing all of the above with the grace, dignity, and gentlemanliness that many others lacked (your remarks included). Finally, if I haven't yet struck down your ingenuous remarks by now, this swipe of the scythe would do so: Winning SEVEN WIMBLEDONS (almost 8 in a row) is enough to grant ANYONE greatness, though Mr. Sampras didn't need just that (his 'one-dimensional play' including not just a big 1st serve, but also a big SECOND serve, topspin running forehand, both slice AND topspin backhand, volleying from both sides, chip-and-charge as well as play from the baseline, and ... um ... overall greatness).
1) John McEnroe in 1984 was the best tennis player that has ever been seen. 2) Mikael Pernfors in 1987 coming off his NCAA wins and getting to the final of the French Open with his shot making was awesome. 3) Federer is one of the best shot-makers ever 4) Watching Agassi hit returns and punish somebody from within the baseline was fun 5) Jimmy Connors would die before losing a point