In this edition of Who’s Hotter, we have the two most beautiful Russians in the history of professional tennis going head-to-head.
Anna Kournikova was widely considered the most beautiful woman in the sport during the early portion of the 2000s. These days her Russian counterpart Maria Sharapova is seen as one of the best looking athletes in the world.
Despite the fact that Anna Kournikova’s pro tennis career ended back in 2003, the Moscow native is still only 36 years of age. The 5-foot-8 blonde has appeared in several well-known magazines and was ranked number 29 on Men’s Health's list of the “100 Hottest Women of All-Time.”Her image was one of the most sought after in Google searches during the height of her popularity and remained so several years after her retirement.
Maria Sharapova is, without question, one of the most stunning women in professional tennis today. The 6-foot-2 product from Nyagan, Russia has a physique that most fashion models would envy. The blonde beauty has been featured in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issues and has also modeled for several other recognizable publications. Maxim has ranked Sharapova as the hottest athlete in the world on numerous occasions.
Now that we’ve seen the tale of the tape, it’s time to decide who’s hotter: Maria Sharapova or Anna Kournikova?
16 Maria: Bikini Pose
Maria Sharapova shows off one of the best bikini bods in the world while posing in the sand. This image highlights the 30-year-old's lean athletic figure as she stares seductively into the lens. The gorgeous Russian has been able to prove time and time again that she knows how to look good in front of the camera.
Fun Fact: After serving a lengthy suspension as the result of a failed drug test, Sharapova returned to action in April of 2017 to compete in the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix. During the event, she was able to defeat the likes of Roberta Vinci, Ekaterina Markova, and Anett Kontaveit. However, the blonde starlet was defeated by Kristina Mladenovic in the semifinal round of the tournament. Her performance during the event was solid given her lengthy layoff.
15 Anna: Bikini Pose
Anna Kournikova looks nothing short of amazing while posing for this classic bikini photo. Her flirtatious hair twirl combined with her gorgeous smile makes this a shot that the stunning Russian’s fans are sure to continue to enjoy for years to come. Seeing Kournikova in a bikini is never a bad thing.
Fun Fact: Sadly, Anna Kournikova’s tennis career came to a screeching halt in 2003 due to several back issues, most notably a herniated disc. The young tennis star was forced into retirement at just 21 years of age. She teased a comeback on a few occasions after announcing her retirement, but nothing ever materialized. Unfortunately, tennis fans will never get to find out just how big of a star Kournikova could have become had she been allowed to retire on her own terms.
14 Maria: Boat Suit
Thank you @voguemagazine and Jonathan Van Meter for covering my journey in the past 12 months. And to @annieleibovitz_ for this strong image. I must admit when I arrived at the shoot and saw a small rack of tiny boat suits, I was like woaaah...glad I had those fries last night! 😳I'm proud of the way I have challenged my body and my mind this past year and this image captures so much of that feeling. Story in bio.
Maria Sharapova helps create this photo for Vogue Magazine that truly looks like a work of art. Her 6-foot-2 frame is on full display in this extremely flattering boat suit. In the caption, the former Wimbledon Champion says “I must admit when I arrived at the shoot and saw the small rack of tiny boat suits, I was like woaaah…glad I had those fires last night.” However, after seeing this particular shot, it’s hard to believe that Sharapova has ever eaten a fry in her life.
Fun Fact: The beautiful blonde model has had some high profile celebrity boyfriends over the years. Her dating resume includes fellow tennis player Grigor Dimitrov, NBA standout Sasha Vujacic, and even Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine. Now there is a list of lucky guys.
13 Anna: Peaceful Beach Time
This image shows off the lovely Russian's top half as she flashes a peace sign with her fingers. This recent photo shows a former tennis star who seems to be enjoying her retirement in this exotic location. Moreover, the Instagram post from last April would lead one to believe that the blonde beauty hasn’t aged a day since she left the sport of professional tennis.
Fun Fact: Anna Kournikova appeared in the Olympic Games back in 1996. That particular year, the games were held in Atlanta, Georgia. Kournikova opted to represent her native homeland of Russia as a singles competitor for the event. However, the Russian wasn’t able to advance beyond the first round and was eliminated by Belgian player Laurence Courtois, who was eliminated in the following round.
12 Maria: Kneeling On The Beach
Maria Sharapova looks like quite the heartbreaker in this fun beachside photo. The blonde athlete’s lower half is highlighted in this stylish black skirt and bikini top. There are several female athletes who also dabble in modeling, but few even come close to looking as good as Sharapova does in this image. She once again steals the show in this attention grabbing shot.
Fun Fact: It was none other than tennis legend Martina Navratilova who suggested that Sharapova should receive professional training. Maria Sharapova met the tennis icon at a clinic when she was just six years of age. Based on Navratilova’s recommendation, Sharapova would go on to attend The Academy in Florida. The Academy has also produced tennis superstars like Andre Agassi and Monica Seles.
11 Anna: Striped Shirt
The youthful Moscow product looks simply radiant in her tight black pants and revealing black and blue striped shirt. Pictures like this one remind folks that Anna Kournikova was “breaking the internet” long before anyone even heard the name Kim Kardashian, and she is still doing it today. The vivacious stars toned abs are on full display in this unforgettable image.
Fun Fact: Kournikova certainly isn’t the only great athlete in her family. Her father, Sergei Kournikova was an outstanding Greco-Roman wrestler. Moreover, her mother has also an accomplished track and field runner in her own right. Allan Kournikova, her younger brother, is a youth golf champion. If Kournikova ever decides to have children, chances are they’ll be a pretty good athletes as well.
10 Maria: Black Bikini
There are some things in life that never get old and seeing Maria Sharapova in a bikini is certainly one of them. This photo which was taken last January, shows the breathtaking tennis star frolicking on the shore of Hulopoe Bay, Lanai, Hawaii. There are certainly more than a few guys out there who love to take a walk on the beach with this tennis hottie.
Fun Fact: Maria Mania was first born in 2004 when Sharapova captured her first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon. In order to accomplish this feat, she defeated tennis icon Lindsay Davenport and her rival Serena Williams. Sharapova would go on to win the Career Grand Slam, capturing all four Grand Slam titles and in the process becoming the first Russian female to do so.
9 Anna: Eye Contact
There are few women on the face of the planet who look as good as Anna Kournikova in beach attire. This photo highlights the former tennis pros seductive gaze and flowing blonde locks. The photo also emphasizes the icon's flawless upper half. Kournikova proves she can hold her own with any bikini model around with shots like this one.
Fun Fact: Kournikova made history in 1997 at Wimbledon by becoming the youngest female player (at age 15) to advance to the semifinal round of the tournament as a singles competitor. She was defeated by Switzerland’s Martina Hingis in the semifinal round. However, this would turn out to be her finest singles Grand Slam performance; though she would go on to have greater Grand Slam success as a doubles c competitor.
8 Maria: White Top
The Grand Slam Champion looks ravishing , yet again, in her revealing Nike brand attire. This image highlights the tennis stars incredibly long frame. At 6-foot-2, her well-toned long legs likely don’t always fit on the couch, but luckily she can probably afford custom furniture at this point in her career. Nike is certainly happy to have their apparel on women as lovely as Maria Sharapova.
Fun Fact: Sharapova participated in the 2012 Olympic Games which were held in London, England. She made it all the way to the gold medal round of the women’s singles portion of the event. However, Sharapova was defeated by her longtime rival Serena Williams. That being said, the Russian was still able to bring home a silver medal while representing her native country.
7 Anna: Red Bikini
This relatively recent photo shows that Ann Kournikova still looks as good as any athlete in the world, when it comes to rocking a bikini. The 5-foot-8 retired star shows off her impressive lean physique while sporting this extremely flattering red bathing suit. Kournikova looks to be in good enough shape to step right back onto the tennis court, if she so desired, in this stunning image.
Fun Fact: Kournikova was a major star in the prime of her career, so much so, that she actually had a computer virus named after her in 2001. The Anna Kournikova computer worm was distributed via an e-mail that claimed to have photos of the tennis star; when the receipts attempted to open the attachment, it launched a viral script into their system.
6 Maria: Black Top
We know that Maria Sharapova looks amazing in a bikini. However, this photo proves that the Wimbledon winner doesn’t need to be wearing a swimsuit in order to look sexy. This image shows the stunning blonde looking every bit the supermodel in this artistic black and white photograph. Sharapova looks more than ready for the runway sporting this stylish black attire.
Fun Fact: Besides being a great tennis player, Sharapova is also a successful entrepreneur. The blonde star even started her own candy line know as Sugarpova. According to her website, ”Sugarpova is a premium candy line that reflects the fun, fashionable, sweet side of international tennis sensation Maria Sharapova.” A portion of all the proceeds from Sugarpova candy sales goes to her charity organization known as the Maria Sharapova Foundation.
5 Anna: Red Alert
This was one of the most popular images of Anna Kournikova from back in her playing days. The red top along with her short skirt help to display all of the young tennis star’s finer points. Her hair is blowing in the wind, with what appears to be a tropical paradise in the background, help to make this one of the most iconic images of its era. There were more than of few of these posters plastered in college dorms back in the early 2000s.
Fun Fact: In 1999 Anna Kournikova became the top-ranked doubles player in the world. She enjoyed most of her success while teaming with Switzerland’s Martina Hingis. Together the two ladies were collectively known as the “Spice Girls of Tennis.”
4 Maria: One-Piece
Sharapova looks magnificent in this glamorous one-piece outfit. The former Olympian’s photos always seem to look both artistic and tasteful. This, once again, shows off her lean physique which is no doubt the result of countless hours spent in both the gym as well as on the tennis court. It seems nearly impossible to find a bad picture of Maria Sharapova.
Fun Fact: The Russian native was just 18 years of age the first time she became the number 1 ranked singles player in the world, which happened for the first time in 2005. The blonde bombshell has held the top spot on 5 separate occasions. In total, Maria Sharapova has been the top ranked player for 22 weeks. She last held the spot in July of 2012.
3 Anna: Yoga Pants
Yoga pants are a popular trend at the moment and this image helps to remind folks why. Anna Kournikova looks both comfortable and attractive in her tight-fitting athleisure wear. It’s quite clear that the retired Russian tennis star hasn’t let herself go since retiring from the sport back in 2003. The blonde still looks like a world class athlete in this attractive image.
Fun Fact: While Kournikova was never able to capture a Grand Slam title as a singles competitor, she did when two Grand Slam titles in doubles competition. Along with fellow "Spice Girl" partner Martina Hingis, Kournikova won the Australian Open on two separate occasions, in both 1999 and again in 2002. This led to Kournikova being ranked as the number 1 doubles player in the world in 1999.
2 Maria: Yoga Pants
There are few (if any) female athletes in the world who look as impressive in a pair of yoga pants as Maria Sharapova. The black bottoms help highlight her amazingly long legs and incredibly toned lower half. After seeing this particular photo, it certainly isn’t a “stretch” to say that Maria Sharapova in one of the most beautiful athletes in the world today. The Russian is doing more than her part in proving that yoga pants can look extremely figure flattering.
Fun Fact: Sharapova made news recently due to a failed drug test at the 2016 Australian Open. The drug known as Meldonium was found in the tennis star’s system. However, Sharapova claimed to be taking the substance to deal with a magnesium deficiency. The failed test resulted in Sharapova serving a 15-month suspension.
1 Anna: Black Number
Anna Kournikova shows off her long slender physique in this tight black one-piece. Sharapova is known for her long legs, but as we can see here, Kournikova has an impressive lower half in her own right. The blonde Moscow native looks phenomenal in this museum worthy black and white photo. She once again reminds the world why she is a must follow on social media outlets like Instagram.
Fun Fact: Kournikova has been with her current boyfriend, singer Enrique Iglesias, since around 2001. The two are actually quite secretive about their relationship. It’s believed that they briefly separated in 2013, but were able to patch things up. There has even been some speculation that the couple has secretly wed, but this has never been officially confirmed.