Sports people 6/26/02

Wednesday, June 26, 2002

The ugly side of Anna

Anna Kournikova knocked the British media into their tea and crumpets after a stormy interview Monday with British network BBC --one that aired in its ugly entirety after she took it on the chin in another first-round loss, this time at Wimbledon.

Kournikova, the 21-year-old Russian known for ties to Sergei Fedorov, Pavel Bure, Enrique Iglesias, Penthouse magazine and a string of defeats, turned surly in a one-on-one interview with a BBC reporter. He asked about her concentration and confidence, the same subjects touched on just minutes earlier by a group of reporters.

At one point of the stop-start-stop TV interview, an irritated Anna stood and appeared to be close to walking out. At another, when the reporter asked about her confidence, she snipped, "I don't think you know my confidence is low or not. I don't think you should phrase the question that way.

"Can we just try this again?" she asked later. "Am I talking about this match or am I talking about the other things?"

Back in the BBC studio, the hosts -- former players Sue Barker, John Lloyd and Pam Shriver -- fired off words like "pathetic," "horrible" and "inexcusable" to describe Anna's behavior.

Shriver said Kournikova often acts that way off camera.

"You saw the real Anna Kournikova there," she said.

Kournikova's defeat and interview spat made front, middle and backpage headlines in Britain's newspapers Tuesday.

The Daily Telegraph, under the headline "Kournikova starting to look like last year's model," said her Wimbledon "is all over in an afternoon of posing and pouting, with a few tennis shots thrown in."

Ali gets the last laugh

On Tuesday night's "Real Sports" on HBO, Muhammad Ali pretended to fall asleep during an interview by David Frost, leaving the British broadcaster befuddled.

As Ali snored, Frost told the crew: "Carry on or should we stop the tape?" Ali opened his eyes and said, "Teasing ..."

Frost: "You did that brilliantly. We didn't know."

Ali: "You are as dumb as you look."

Verbatim

  • Steve Rosenbloom of the Chicago Tribune: "Former Notre Dame quarterback Matt LoVecchio says he's excited to transfer to Indiana. So much for the quarterback being the smartest guy on the field."

  • From Jason Whitlock of the Kansas City Star: For those of you counting at home: Three years, 363 days until I have to care about soccer again.

    -- From staff, wire reports

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