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Popular Misconception Essay (ROUGH DRAFT) Pt. 2

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1999 was another impressive year for Kournikova, similar in many ways to her 1998 season. She made it to the final of another tournament, earned victories over top ten players, was forced to miss yet another Grand Slam due to an injury, this time missing the US Open with a stress fracture. But she managed again to qualify for the Year End Championships, finishing the year at #12.
Kournikova continued to put forth strong results in 2000. Although she did not win any singles titles, she did make it to the finals of her hometown tournament in Moscow, as well as making it to eight semifinals and an additional seven quarterfinals. Kournikova finished the year ranked #8, again enough to qualify for the Year End Championships.
Although she earned a ranking within the top ten, Kournikova was still dogged by criticisms and mockery for never having won a tournament. Although her ranking was only to seven other women in the entire world, jokes and insults abounded about what a laughable failure her tennis career was. The psychological damage these putdowns had on Kournikova’s confidence is undeniable. This unnerving undercutting, paired with even more debilitating injuries, finally caught up with Kournikova’s singles results.
Kournikova’s ranking fell to #74 by the end of 2001. She was able to improve her ranking somewhat in 2002, but only up to #35. Kournikova continued to be dogged by chronic injuries, and she unofficially retired from singles play in early 2003.
In just over seven years as a professional singles player, Anna Kournikova won 209 matches, and earned $3,584,662 in prize money alone. She beat eight players who either held or would go onto hold the #1 ranking. Her success as a singles player is indisputable. But because of the disproportionate amount of attention she received because of her looks, expectations were higher for her than for most players.
Kournikova’s results did, however, match the hype when it came to her doubles career. Kournikova won sixteen career doubles titles, including two Grand Slams. She won two hundred doubles matches in her career, and achieved the #1 ranking in doubles in 1999. Kournikova, like many other players, has a style of play which is more suited to doubles than singles.
“We misunderstood her,” said Kournikova’s later coach Wayne Bryan. “Put her on a doubles court and she comes alive.”
Kournikova has also been incredibly successful in ways not measured by win totals. She earned major endorsement contracts Adidas and several other companies. Kournikova was well aware of her potential to transfer her fame into money. After a defeat at the hands of Martina Hingis, Kournikova was heard saying “You may be number one, but I’m more marketable than you.”
Kournikova became a successful model, appearing in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, as well as FHM and Maxim. Kournikova’s arrival on the scene took the emerging internet by storm. “Anna Kournikova” was often cited as the most popular query on several major search engines, making her easily the most searched for athlete for several years. Through these pursuits, which were made possible through her original prominence as a tennis player, Kournikova has earned tens of millions of dollars, an amount of money not usually earned by someone who is considered a failure at their job.
Kournikova’s legacy has also made major contributions to the game of tennis. Kournikova was the first and most prominent post-Soviet Union Russian on the women’s tennis scene. Through her successes both on and off the court, Kournikova inspired a generation of young Russian girls to pick up racquets. This wave of young Russians she inspired came to dominate the game. In 2004, three of the four Grand Slams were won by Russians. The most famous of these Russian champions, Maria Sharapova, followed in Kournikova’s footsteps, parlaying her success on the court into lucrative endorsement deals.
Despite their ubiquity, those Kournikova jokes may have been severely misguided. But it’s doubtful that Anna Kournikova minds. She’ll happily laugh right along—all the way to the bank.

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  1. Jay's Avatar
    Love how the essay turned out
    I'll pm you the corrections
  2. Miles's Avatar
    I don't know how old you are and at what academic level you are writing for, but this is a good start. There may be too much listing of Ana's stats in the midsection for the casual reader. A greater analysis of why the tennis establishment took great pleasure in ridiculing her would help. Any other woman's sport would have loved to have Ana as a pinup girl or megastar in residence, yet tennis wound up driving her right out of dodge. Why was it so easy for people to ridicule her? Was it simply because she was blonde and pretty -- and that type has a special place in our society? Was it because she never forcefully took on her critics so it became easier for people to pile on? How was Ana perceived in other tennis countries? Overall, truncate some of the facts and offer greater analysis. It is obvious you have done your research and done is quite well, but spend more time on analysis, and her historical impact. We laughed at her then but just how different would tennis be without her today? Being the first internet sex symbol, she helped shape it (the geeks would wind up inheriting the internet), and she also played a pivotal role in the expansion of this beyond revolutionary technology. If Christina A. and Britney S. are Madonna’s musical spawns, then Ana is Madonna's tennis playing offspring. And like Madonna, Ana's impact cannot be measured in stats (or record sales) alone. She never was the best tennis player in the world, but she was never going to be ignored either. Hope all this helps. You have done a terrific job, it just needs a polish.
    Updated 10-28-2007 at 03:20 AM by Miles
  3. nelslus's Avatar
    Excellent job, oohsalmon.
  4. Charlie02123's Avatar
    I enjoyed this very much. Great work. There are a number of omitted words, but I imagine you can fill those in yourself after reading it out loud. I agree with krutin that you could take out a few stats and add a little bit more analysis of her impact on the game. I think it would be great to add a little bit about Russian tennis players and how they rose to prominence after Anna. Good job!
  5. Tscott415's Avatar
    Wow great job, although I would agree with Krutin and Charlie that you should add some more analysis about Anna and her affect on the game and take out some stats.