Anna Kournikova transcended the sport — pictured from FHM in 2001.
Anna Kournikova transcended the sport — pictured from FHM in 2001.Source: News Limited

New York Times tennis reporter Ben Rothenberg has thrown a cat among the pigeons with a shortlist of his most influential women in tennis history.

Hoping to celebrate Chinese New Year, the ITF Twitter account sparked the question after highlighting the career of Li Na, the first Chinese Grand Slam Champion.

Li retired in 2014 but not before winning the French Open in 2011 and Australian Open in 2014.

It quickly passed through the tennis media.

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#TBT a #lifetime ago #miami #teenager

A post shared by 🐾 Anna 🎈Аня (@annakournikova) on

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The 37-year-old Kournikova has also been dating pop star Enrique Iglesias since 2001 when she starred in his video for his song Escape.

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The pair also have twin children and lead a relatively private life.

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That was until Inglesias revealed a fair bit in an interview with The Sun late last year.

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“It’s probably more sex now than ever — the sex has not diminished,” he said.

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“Like any couple, you still go through your ups and downs and it’s not always perfect.

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“But it is perfect in a way. It’s incredible to watch her be such a great mother.

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“It’s incredible to watch a mum do what she does, when a mother’s instinct kicks in.”

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The debate was fierce on social media.

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Completely agree. She should be in the Hall of Fame. She was a Famous tennis player, capital F.

— Anna Cl–m-nn (@AnnaClxxmxnn) February 5, 2019

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I am always here to defend Kournikova from people who write her off like she was nothing.
But Top Ten of All Time?
And you’re not putting Venus in? With what she did for equal pay?

— Frith (@pluckyloser) February 6, 2019

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My family is definitely tennis-ignorant. My point was that Kournikova transcended the sport and became a household name outside of it. And introduced glamour in a way that wasn’t there before. I completely agree about Venus, but Steffi I’m not so sure

— Danny Reichert (@DannyReichertNY) February 5, 2019

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Kournikova? Is he on crack? https://t.co/hWFvOL68LO

— iza (@raizaalves) February 5, 2019

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I agree! Kournikova became a big celebrity mostly that she was a good young player. Wimbledon SF at 16. Miami Final at 16
She brought an image of youth, success & glamour.
It was early success&wealth, along with beauty, that made her such an icon to a generation of young players

— Maria Panova (@notsleeeping) February 5, 2019

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I’m very interested in the @NCR_Tennis ep bc I think Kournikova changed how the sport was seen for the worse. She became a symbol of how being hot = mainstream success in tennis (in terms of sponsors, ads, $$$). Winning didn’t matter.

— laura (@pokey55) February 5, 2019

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Enjoy selected tennis tournaments live and on demand on Kayo Sports. More than 50 sports are available for streaming from just $25 per month for two devices at once. Click here to trial it free for 14 days.

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Australian Open finalist Petra Kvitova testified in the Czech Republic on Tuesday at the trial of the man who allegedly knifed her in her home.

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After the December 2016 attack in her home in Prostejov, Kvitova had surgery on injuries to her playing left hand. It took the tennis star more than five months to recover.

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Her testimony was requested by a lawyer for the suspect, the 33-year-old Radim Zondra.

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Kvitova didn’t enter the trial courtroom in a regional court in the city of Brno, but testified by live video feed from a separate room to avoid facing the suspect.

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In her testimony that was recorded by Czech public television, Kvitova offered some graphic details of the attack.

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She said she opened the door when Zondra rang the doorbell because she expected a possible doping control. The suspect claimed he came to inspect her boiler. When they were checking the hot water in her bathroom, Kvitova said she suddenly felt he was holding a knife to her throat from behind.

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When she grabbed the knife with both hands, the blade badly injured her left hand.

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She sustained damage to the tendons in her hand, along with injuries to all five fingers and two nerves, and underwent nearly four hours of surgery.

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At one point, Kvitova said, she found herself lying on the floor: “I was screaming, of course, there was blood all over the place.”

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When she later offered him money, he accepted 10,000 Czech crowns (US$440) and left.

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Zondra pleaded not guilty. He faces up to 12 years in prison if convicted. It’s not clear when the verdict might be issued. He’s currently serving a prison term for a different crime.

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Two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova didn’t talk to media on Tuesday but said through her spokesman she was happy it was all behind her.

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Only 10 days ago in Melbourne, Kvitova reached her first Grand Slam final since her second Wimbledon title in 2014, and lost a three-set thriller to Naomi Osaka.

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Nick Kyrgios has slammed the tactics of Ukrainian teenager Dayana Yastremska after she came back from 5-2 down in the final set to defeat Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic 6-2 2-6 7-6 (7-3) in the final of the Thailand Open.

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Yastremska was just two points from defeat at deuce in the final set but fought to turn things around and win the match in two hours and 22 minutes.

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Kyrgios and Tomljanovic have dated in the past and while their relationship status isn’t clear these days, the Canberra product is still invested in her fortunes.

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At 5-2 to Tomljanovic, Yastremska took a medical time-out which Kyrgios fumed about on twitter, labelling the teenager’s tactics as “trash”.

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That medical was trash 🤦🏽‍♂️

— Nicholas Kyrgios (@NickKyrgios) February 3, 2019

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It appeared Tomljanovic may have shared his view.

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The shattered Australian did not hang around at the net to shake hands with Yastremska, quickly gripping her hand near her own chair after the Ukrainian had enjoyed her post match celebration.

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Tennis commentators were not surprised at the Aussie’s reaction either.

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Expected handshake after a MTO at 2-5* in the 3rd.

I’m afraid Dayana didn’t gain a lot of fans today from what I’m reading in my timeline https://t.co/CSFlIGDRv2

— José Morgado (@josemorgado) February 3, 2019

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Dayana Yastremska was down 2-5, double break in the third set. Took a medical timeout, reeled off four straight games, and then took the third set in a tiebreak over Ajla Tomljanovic.

6-2, 2-6, 7-6(3).

The forehands were heavy. The handshake was brief. #wta

— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) February 3, 2019

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After dominating the first set, eighth seed Yastremska faced some strong returns from the 25-year-old Tomljanovic, who took the second set to level the match then surged ahead in the third to be on track to claim her first WTA Tour title.

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Then came the controversial medical time-out as the trainer came out to treat Yastremska’s left leg.

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Yastremska, who had been out of sorts, then calmed herself and cut down her errors when play resumed, reeling off four straight games to lead 6-5.

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In the tiebreak, Yastremska was in full control with deep groundstrokes and eventually blasted a forehand winner on her first match point to wrap up the victory.

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“I was always trying to play the same as you,” Yastremska said to Tomljanovic in the post-match interview.

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For Tomljanovic, the loss would have hurt even more as it is now her fourth straight loss in a WTA Tour Final and the third in the past year, after losing 2018 finals in Morocco and South Korea.

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