FROM the moment she set foot on the grass at Wimbledon in 1997, aged just 16, Anna Kournikova became a household name.
Her supermodel looks and tenacity on the tennis court propelled her to worldwide stardom.
Anna was known as one of the world’s sexiest women during the 200s
Since retiring, she has stayed out of the spotlight and rarely posts on social media
As she got older the Russian athlete, now 41, and her doubles partner Martina Hingis were dubbed “the Spice Girls of tennis”.
At the height of her career she ranked number eight in the world and was one of the most Googled people ever.
In 2002 Anna was voted the world’s sexiest woman, and became a lads’ mag favourite, gracing the covers of Maxim and FHM.
She even had a guest role on hit Nineties sitcom Friends.
But these days Anna lives a much quieter life, having stepped away from the limelight since she retired from tennis in 2002 due to a series of injuries – mainly involving her back.
The blonde beauty is relishing being a mum to the three children she shares with Latin heartthrob Enrique Iglesias, 48.
Here we take a look at how Anna went from red carpet ready to a relative recluse.
Part of Anna’s reason for deciding to retreat from the spotlight is because being the centre of attention left her feeling nervous and anxious.
Anna turned pro at just 14 and made her debut at Wimbledon aged 18
Having received her first tennis racquet as a New Year gift aged five, by age 14 she’d turned professional – becoming the youngest ever player to participate and win the Fed Cup for Russia.
But at times she felt like her good looks stood in the way of her game. She previously said: “Being in the spotlight since I was a child was really hard.
“I did feel pressure when people were saying things like, ‘You’re too pretty, you can’t play,’ or whatever.
“I would get so nervous and get anxiety on the court, I wouldn’t be able to move.”
Anna retired from tennis aged 21 but continued modelling
Anna and Enrique have kept their private life to themselves
When she retired from the sport aged just 21, she was two years into her romance with singer Enrique Iglesias.
The couple met filming the music video for his track Escape in 2001 and their romance quickly blossomed, with Anna moving into his beach front Miami home.
Initially she refused to confirm or deny that they were a couple, but a few years in she began opening up about their romance.
Despite being together more than 20 years, it’s believed the couple have never married – in public, anyway.
During a TV interview last year, Enrique said: “We haven’t gotten married in public, that doesn’t mean we are not married.
“We have been together for such a long time, for half of our lives.”
He previously told Parade magazine: “I’ve never really thought marriage would make a difference.
“Maybe it’s because I come from divorced parents, but I don’t think you love somebody more because of a piece of paper.
“Nowadays it’s not taboo to have kids and not be married. What makes a difference is that you’re a good parent, period.”
Anna has also batted off questions about their marital status, insisting: “I’m in a happy relationship with Enrique, that’s all that matters.
“Marriage isn’t important to me. I believe in being open and trusting each other and respecting each other completely.
“We’ve been together for years. He’s the male version of me, and I’m the female version of him.”
Despite having not officially walked down the aisle, Anna goes by the surname ‘Kournikova Iglesias’ and has been wearing a large diamond ring and marching eternity band on her wedding finger since 2017.
Enrique also introduced Anna as his wife during a concert in Russia in 2011.
The former tennis ace has kept her pregnancies low key
The birth of her children is one of the things she has shared with fans on social media
Anna shared this snap of her pregnancy with Mary
The couple also share three children – twins Nicholas and Lucy, five, and Mary, three.
They kept Anna’s first pregnancy a secret until a month after she gave birth in 2017, at which point they shared snaps of their newborns on social media with the adorable caption “my sunshine”.
While they like to keep their private lives private, Anna has shared photos of their little ones on milestones like birthdays.
Enrique has also publicly praised his partner for her parenting skills, telling SE in October 2018: “Like any couple, you still go through your ups and downs, and it’s not always perfect. But it is perfect in a way.
“It’s incredible to watch her be such a great mother. It’s incredible to watch a mum do what she does, when a mother’s instinct kicks in.”
‘More sex than ever’
Enrique said having kids improved their sex life
He also candidly claimed starting a family did wonders for their sex life, admitting: “It’s probably more sex now than ever. The sex has not diminished.”
Anna has also spoken about her love of motherhood, describing it as the best thing to happen to her.
“I love being a mum. I absolutely wanted to have children, whether I had my own or adopted,” she said. “I love taking care of people.”
Since having her children, they have become the focus of her social media posts – previously dominated by bikini snaps and photos with the couple’s two dogs, German Shepherd Max and chocolate Labrador Chessie.
In December 2021 she shared pictures of her twins to celebrate them turning four.
Her latest post, from May 2022, celebrated Enrique’s birthday with an adorable snap of their entire family captioned: “Happy Birthday to the most amazing Dad! We super love you!”
Anna’s bikini snaps are few and far between these days
Anna revealed she made an active decision to step back from work when she started a family.
“When I got pregnant, I reduced the workload, and realised I want to devote all my time to children,” she said.
“Being with them is happiness, I am not ready to miss a single second.”
After ending her tennis career Anna did a bit of charity work between modelling jobs – taking part in the Advanta World TeamTennis Smash Hits celebrity competition in 2008 to raise money for Elton John’s AIDS Foundation and the Atlanta Aids Partnership Fund.
She made a brief return to the spotlight presenting US show The Biggest Loser in 2011, but decided she’d rather focus on her family.
In 2005 Anna was targetted by a stalker.
She was forced to call the police after William Lepeska swam naked to what he thought was her Miami home to try to make her save him from downing.
But he had the wrong home and was found by cops screaming “Anna, help me!”
It came after months of harassment where he bombarded her with sexually explicit letters and emails before he finally found her address and went after her in person.
He even had a tattoo of her on his arm.
In court Anna said: “I was absolutely shocked and fearful, and I was very much concerned for my safety. It was very frightening and scary… just knowing there is someone out there who’s obsessive.”
The incident saw Anna hire bodyguards and increase her security at her $2.7million home.
Low key lives
Anna has done a lot of work with charity since retiring from tennis
When he’s not touring, Enrique and Anna appear to spend a lot of time enjoying their 20,000 sq ft Miami home – with a huge garden littered with children’s toys.
The couple have their own dock at the beach front pad, and were spotted on a a romantic cruise together in 2012, using hats and sunglasses in an attempt to remain under the radar.
Anna also appears to have a tennis court at the home, which the kids use to drive around on in their toy cars,
While she doesn’t play professional sport anymore, Anna likes to keep herself in shape.
She’s shared details of her home workouts and opened up in 2019 about her daily diet and routine.
Anna said: “I find it’s important to eat smaller meals often. I will have a little piece of chocolate every day, or every other day.
“I love chocolate and ice cream. I love potatoes and pasta.
“My typical day is getting up at 6.30am. We have breakfast, walk with a stroller. The twins have just started walking.
“While they sleep, I do yoga or Pilates.
“From noon housework begins and by 8pm I am usually exhausted on the sofa.”
Anna with one of their beloved pooches
The couple is said to still enjoy an active sex life since having kids