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Kournikova’s dress was cut into 150 thousand pieces and distributed to fans at Roland Garros – 1999

Date: July 14, 2024 Time: 13:33:56

Today, June 7, former Russian tennis player Anna Kournikova celebrates her 43rd birthday. Kournikova’s career was not very long. Anna competed on the WTA circuit for 8 years (1995-2003). She was in the top 10 of the world rankings and reached the latter stages of Grand Slam tournaments more than once, but never won a singles title.

This did not stop the attractive Russian woman from becoming a truly iconic sports figure. Anna had a large fan base from an early age and signed lucrative advertising contracts. One of them is the clothing brand adidas, which benefited as best it could from Kournikova’s popularity and showed great marketing skills at Roland Garros 1999. Anna’s elegant gold dress was cut into 150,000 small pieces and distributed in the form of keychains. The souvenirs were dismantled very quickly and Kournikova’s name became even more recognizable.

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Roland Garros is not the most successful Grand Slam tournament for Kournikova. Anna’s best result in Paris was two places in the fourth round (1998, 1999). The second case is more notable. Anna eliminated the troubled Swiss Patti Schnyder from the group and was only stopped by the legendary Steffi Graf, who eventually won her 22nd Grand Slam tournament and retired a couple of months later, focusing on her family life with Andre Agassi.

Of course, Kournikova’s best result was expected at Roland Garros 1999 and, in general, at all major tournaments. Anna reached the semifinals of Wimbledon 1997 at the age of 16, which heralded a very promising career. Kournikova was mentioned at the same time as Martina Hingis and her sisters Serena and Venus Williams, but she ultimately lost to them and became increasingly immersed in the modeling business.

Anna Kournikova at Roland Garros – 1999

Photo: Clive Brunskill/Allsport

Although specifically at Roland Garros 1999, Kournikova still tried to abstract herself from the image of the most glamorous tennis player in the world that the media created for her.

“The only people who care about this glamor are you. I’m just trying to focus on tennis, training and playing,” the 18-year-old Russian told reporters discussing Adidas’ marketing strategy for her gold dress.

The German clothing brand decided to give away pieces of Kournikova’s clothing at the stand, which has become one of the main attractions of the French Open. People stood in long lines to get a crystal keychain containing a small part of Kournikova’s dress.

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In total, Anna’s suit was cut into 150 thousand pieces. It seemed like a decent amount, but there weren’t enough keychains for everyone who wanted them. According to Cedric Dufoy, one of Adidas’ public relations managers in France, the company was overwhelmed by demand.

“Keychains sell like hotcakes. We need to increase supply volumes to meet demand,” Dufoy said.

Anna Kournikova at Roland Garros – 1999

Photo: Clive Brunskill/Allsport

During the two weeks of Roland Garros, 150 thousand keychains with a piece of Kournikova’s dress were distributed, and those who did not receive them received a kind of consolation gift: 250 thousand posters with the image of the Russian tennis player were also sold.

Dufoy noted that the advertising campaign at Roland Garros initially aimed to promote the brand’s own dress, and not Kournikova’s, but in the end it was possible to “kill two birds with one stone.” Adidas drew attention to his clothing and the tennis player became an even more talked-about person.

“If the keychains, posters and all these advertising campaigns attracted new people to tennis, that’s fine with me. The glamor attracted new fans. I think my game will also attract new sports fans,” Anna commented on the enthusiasm her outfit generated.

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In fact, Kournikova performed quite well. Yes, she never managed to take the singles title, but she played for a decent time at the top 10 and top 20 level, and qualified for the WTA Final Tournament three times in a row (1998-2000). In doubles, Anna won 16 titles, including two Grand Slam titles (Australian Open in 1999 and 2002 with Martina Hingis).

Ultimately, Kournikova decided to pursue a career in modeling and retired from tennis at the age of 22. Anna is unlikely to regret this. Currently her fortune is estimated at approximately 60 million dollars. She is raising three children with her lover Enrique Iglesias and is enjoying life.

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.
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