Tennis starlet hired to provide 'sizzle'
ESPN.com news services
NEW YORK -- Anna Kournikova has a new racket. Several, in fact.
Kournikova, forced by injuries out of playing in this year's U.S. Open, which begins Monday, will join USA Network later in the tournament to contribute pop culture stories and celebrity interviews. The Russian tennis princess, who's played in the Open eight times, will search the grounds of the National Tennis Center for behind-the-scenes entertainment stories.
"Anna joins USA to provide part of the fun and sizzle in our coverage and we think she will bring viewers a sense of the celebrity aspect of the U.S. Open," said Gordon Beck, USA Network's executive producer and senior vice president. "Anna will visit with us for a few days to have some fun as our roving entertainment reporter and we look forward to a fresh new character joining our team."
Also looking for some sizzle from Anna, according to Friday's USA Today, is Multiway Sports Bra by Britain's Shock Absorber. The paper reports that Kournikova will model the bra in ads for the U.S. rollout of their product, under the tagline "Only the balls should bounce." Kournikova will receive "royalties on sales, plus upfront cash," according to the report.
Additionally, USA Today reports that Kournikova will be annoucing a deal with Microsoft's XSN Sports to pitch XBox video games.
Kournikova never has won a WTA tournament, but she's a big endorsement winner. She earns approximately $15 million a year from promotional deals, according to the paper.