Nature abhors a vacuum, as do hormonally addled tennis groupies. While Anna Kournikova has been MIA for the last few months because of a stress fracture to her left foot, the racket set has trained its gaze on the next generation of teen Russian poster girls. Here's a look at some of the Anna wannabes.
Talent-wise, this hard-hitting blonde has the most potential; she reached the semifinals of last year's U.S. Open. At 19 she's older than many of the new Russian players, which doesn't matter, she says, since all of them get along so well. Well, all except for one (you know who).
A 14-year-old Muscovite who, like Kournikova, moved to Florida to live and train, Another common trait: Katia is an NHL fan. Her brother Maxim plays right wing for the Sabres. Coach Rick Macci, who also trained the Williams sisters, says this Special K can go "all the way to the top."
Like Kournikova, this 16-year-old was the top-ranked junior in the world before turning pro. At Wimbledon last year she spoke about Anna: "Thanks to [her], tennis has become hugely popular among young girls in Russia, because she is so very beautiful. Of course, she is not the only one."
A 14-year-old dynamo who regularly beats older players. At age six she moved to Florida to work with Nick Bollettieri, Kournikova's old coach. He says Sharapova may be the best of the bunch. Of Kournikova, Sharapova says, "she hasn't won a tournament yet, so it's hard to admire her."