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Anna Kournikova: How to deal with tennis fame

Anna Kournikova, the face that launched a million web searches, on how to cope in the white heat of tennis fame, and why there is little point wearing a disguise when trying to evade the paparazzi.
Do as many photoshoots as you please, but keep your focus
“People always used to say that I was doing too much off the court, that I was doing this and doing that, and that I wasn’t focused enough on my tennis. But I only ever did a lot of photoshoots when I was injured, and what else are you going to do when you’re injured? I knew that I was working hard on my game, whatever anyone else was saying.”
Put your fingers in your ears (ignore what they are saying about you)
“There is always going to be criticism, and there are always going to be opinions, both good and bad, and that’s okay. You have to realise that you can’t please everyone. I was living my life. No one on the outside knew exactly what I was doing, what I was thinking. All that mattered to me was what I thought, and what my friends and family thought. I wasn’t so bothered about the rest.”
When reading about yourself in the newspaper or online, only care that they get the score right, nothing more
“The internet wasn’t so big when I was playing, so maybe it was easier then to avoid what was written about you. Sometimes, though, when I was staying in hotels, there would be a newspaper on the breakfast table in front of me, and there would be a headline with my name in it, and I would pick the paper up and maybe glance at the article. But I was most concerned with whether the paper had got the score of my match right; everything else didn’t matter.”
Do not bother with a disguise in an attempt to dodge the paparrazi
“I think anyone who goes to the effort of putting on a disguise to avoid the paparazzi is only going to draw more attention to themselves. As a public figure, you have to realise that the paparazzi go with the territory, and you’re going to have to learn to cope with people wanting to take your picture. You can avoid putting yourself in certain situations – you can still go out and enjoy yourself, but you don’t have to go to the trendiest restaurants where you know there will be lots of people and press and photographers. What I do find weird is when photographers take pictures of your private time, when you’re at home. But I suppose everyone has a job to do and they’re just doing theirs.”
Do something useful with your fame
“The best thing about being famous is being able to bring attention to the causes that matter. I’ve been on charity trips to Haiti, Iraq and Afghanistan, and I hope what I’ve done has helped. I find it enormously satisfying to help – it makes me feel great on the inside to know that I have made some small difference. That’s what my name has been good for.”
  • Lourdes

    Whatever dude, you still never won any titles…

    • Caseyvaughn

      16 to be exact