Saturday 22 July 2017

Tennis: Wozniacki spurred on by blonde ambition

Mark Hodgkinson

MOST tennis blondes would flick their ponytails in annoyance at anyone who made a comparison between them and Anna Kournikova, or who considered whether they had been inspired by Russia's 'toxic Barbie'.

It was Maria Sharapova who raised most infamous objection to being lumped together with her compatriot, retorting: "I'm not the new Kournikova -- I'm going to win matches", and the way that others around the game sometimes talk about Anna K, they make her sound like the she-devil, as if she was the most corrupting influence on the world's youth since rock 'n' roll and miniskirts.

So, the most telling remark of the fortnight from Caroline Wozniacki, who will become the world No 1 if she wins this US Open, was her disclosure that as a young girl she wanted to grow up to be just like Kournikova, who never won a singles tournament.

Wozniacki admits she thought how very pretty Kournikova looked in her commercials and dreamt of winning her own endorsement contracts.

Known in Denmark as the 'Princess of Tennis', she is plainly a better athlete and a more talented tennis player than Kournikova ever was, and if she beats Vera Zvonareva today and then goes on to defeat Kim Clijsters or Venus Williams in tomorrow evening's final, she will have won something Kournikova never did -- credibility.

It would be naive to think that it does not help Wozniacki's cause that she is a young Scandinavian blonde. According to Forbes magagzine, even though Sharapova's last grand slam title came in the 2008 Australian Open, her estimated annual income is £16m, more than anyone else in tennis apart from Roger Federer.

For her matches, Wozniacki (below) has been painting her nails taxi-cab yellow, and modelling Stella McCartney's tennis clothes, and she has observed of her short dress: "I'm sure I'll have some male fans now."

Someone should tell Kournikova that tennis players can make obscene amounts of money just by winning. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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