Anna Kournikova was born in Moscow, Soviet Union, on June 7, 1981. Her father, Sergei Kournikov, was 20 at the time.Sergei, a former Greco-Roman wrestling champion, had earned a Ph.D. and was a professor at the University of Physical Culture and Sport in Moscow. As of 2001, he was still a part-time martial arts instructor there.Her mother Alla, who was 18 when Kournikova was born, had been a 400-meter runner.
Sergei Kournikov has said, "We were young and we liked the clean, physical life, so Anna was in a good environment for sport from the beginning."The family name is spelled in Russian without an "o", so a direct transliteration would be "Kurnikov", and it is sometimes written that way. But it is pronounced "Kournikov", so the family chose that as their English spelling.
Kournikova received her first tennis racquet as a New Year gift in 1986 at age 5.Describing her early regimen, she said, "I played two times a week from age six. It was a children's program. And it was just for fun; my parents didn't know I was going to play professionally, they just wanted me to do something because I had lots of energy. It was only when I started playing well at seven that I went to a professional academy. I would go to school, and then my parents would take me to the club, and I'd spend the rest of the day there just having fun with the kids."In 1986, Kournikova became a member of the Spartak Tennis Club, coached by Larissa Preobrazhenskaya.In 1989, at the age of eight, Kournikova began appearing in junior tournaments, and by the following year, was attracting attention from tennis scouts across the world. Kournikova signed a management deal at age ten and went to Bradenton, Florida, to train at Nick Bollettieri's celebrated tennis academy.
Following her arrival in the United States, Kournikova became prominent on the tennis scene.At 14, she won the European Championships and the Italian Open Junior tournament. She became the youngest player to win the 18-and-under division of the Junior Orange Bowl tennis tournament. By the end of the year, Kournikova was crowned the ITF Junior World Champion U-18 and Junior European Champion U-18.
In 1994, Kournikova received a wild card into ITF tournament in Moscow qualifications, but lost to third seeded Sabine Appelmans.She debuted in professional tennis at 14 in the Fed Cup for Russia, the youngest player ever to participate and win.In 1995, she turned pro, and won two ITF titles, in Midland, Michigan and Rockford, Illinois. The same year Kournikova reached her first WTA Tour doubles final at the Kremlin Cup. Partnering with 1995 Wimbledon girls' champion in both singles and doubles Aleksandra Olsza, they lost to Meredith McGrath and Larisa Neiland.
At 15, she made her grand slam debut, when she reached the fourth round of the 1996 U.S. Open, only to be stopped by then-top ranked player Steffi Graf, the eventual champion. After this tournament, Kournikova's ranking jumped from No. 144 to debut in the Top 100 at No. 69. Kournikova was a member of the Russian delegation to the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia. In 1996, she was named WTA Newcomer of the Year,and she was ranked No. 57 in the end of the season.
Kournikova entered the 1997 Australian Open as World No. 67,where she lost in the first round to World No. 12 Amanda Coetzer. At the Italian Open, Kournikova lost to Amanda Coetzer in the second round. However, she reached the semifinals in the doubles partnering with Elena Likhovtseva, before losing to the sixth seeds Mary Joe Fernández and Patricia Tarabini.
At the 1997 French Open, Kournikova made it to the third round before losing to World No. 1 Martina Hingis. She also reached the third round in doubles with Likhovtseva. At the 1997 Wimbledon Championships, Kournikova became only the second woman in the open era to reach the semifinals in her Wimbledon debut, the first being Chris Evert in 1972.There she lost to eventual champion Martina Hingis.
At the 1997 US Open, she lost in the second round to the eleventh seed Irina Spîrlea. Partnering with Likhovtseva, she reached the third round of the women's doubles event. Kournikova played her last WTA Tour event in 1997 at Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Filderstadt, losing to Amanda Coetzer in the second round of singles, and in the first round of doubles to Lindsay Davenport and Jana Novotná partnering with Likhovtseva. She broke into the top 50 on 19 May, and was ranked No. 32 in singles and No. 41 in doubles at the end of the season.
Kournikova was in a relationship with fellow Russian, Pavel Bure, an NHL ice hockey player. The two met in 1999 when Kournikova was still linked to Bure's former Russian teammate Sergei Fedorov. Bure and Kournikova were reported to have been engaged in 2000 after a reporter took a photo of them together in a Florida restaurant where Bure supposedly asked Kournikova to marry him. As the story made headlines in Russia, where they were both heavily followed in the media as celebrities, Bure and Kournikova both denied any engagement. Kournikova, 10 years younger than Bure, was 18 years old at the time.The following year, Kournikova and Fedorov were married in Moscow. They were soon divorced, however. Fedorov claimed he and tennis star Anna Kournikova were married in 2001, but later divorced in 2003.Kournikova's representatives deny any marriage to Fedorov; however, Sergei's agent Pat Brisson claims that although he does not know when they got married, he knew "he was married".
Kournikova started dating pop star Enrique Iglesias in late 2001 (she appeared in his video, "Escape"), and rumors that the couple had secretly married circulated in 2003 and again in 2005. Kournikova herself has consistently refused to directly confirm or deny the status of her personal relationships. But in May 2007, Enrique Iglesias was (mistakenly, as he would clarify later) quoted in the New York Sun that he had no intention of marrying Kournikova and settling down because they had split up. The singer would later deny these rumors of "divorce" or simply separation. In June 2008, Iglesias told the Daily Star that he had married Kournikova the previous year and that they are currently separated.In an interview with Graham Norton in 2010, Kournikova confirmed that she and Iglesias have been together for over eight years but have no plans to marry in the near future.
Kournikova has a younger brother, Allan.He became an American citizen in late 2009.