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18-Jan-2020 20:31

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 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.

After this tournament, Kournikova's ranking jumped from No. At the 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.

Her six-year tenure with Ed would produce terrific results. 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 15, she made her Grand Slam debut, when she reached the fourth round of the 1996 US Open, only to be stopped by then-top ranked player Steffi Graf, the eventual champion. At the French Open, Kournikova made it to the third round before losing to world No. She also reached the third round in doubles with Likhovtseva.

Kournikova returned for the Du Maurier Open and made it to the third round, before losing to Conchita Martínez.

Despite never winning a singles title, she reached No. She achieved greater success playing doubles, where she was at times the world No. With Martina Hingis as her partner, she won Grand Slam titles in Australia in 19, and the WTA Championships in 19.In December 1995, she became the youngest player to win the 18-and-under division of the Junior Orange Bowl tennis tournament.Earlier, in September 1995, she received a wildcard into the WTA tournament in Moscow, the Moscow Ladies Open, qualifications and played her way through the qualifying rounds before losing in the second round of the main draw to third-seeded Sabine Appelmans.At the German Open, she reached the semi-finals in both singles and doubles, partnering with Larisa Savchenko-Neiland.

At the French Open Kournikova had her best result at this tournament, making it to the fourth round before losing to Jana Novotná.

At the US Open, she lost in the second round to the eleventh seed Irina Spîrlea.