She's a fan of Philly

Posted: June 26, 2009

ANNA KOURNIKOVA likes Philly fans.

Likes talking with them. Likes their passion and knowledge of tennis.

The two-time Grand Slam doubles champion - who oddly enough never won a singles title - has fond memories of the City of Brotherly Love. She played in the now-defunct Advanta Championship here, winning the doubles title with Martina Hingis in 2000.

On July 6, she'll return to town - King of Prussia actually - when the St. Louis Aces take on the Philadelphia Freedoms in a season-opening World TeamTennis match at 7:30 p.m.

Kournikova, 28, who recently returned from Germany where she said the fans really know the game, gave props to Philly, too.

"I think Philadelphia also has an amazing tennis community due to the tournament [Advanta] that had been going on there for years," she said yesterday in a conference call. "It was always one of the strongest fields."

Kournikova said she enjoys everything about TeamTennis, which is a quite different game than tournament play.

"You get to see the juniors, the young and up-and-coming players, you get to see the current players that are on tour, you get to see the legends that are retired or people that don't play anymore full time," she said. "And the fans really get to interact with the players. There's music going on and you can scream and cheer and there's team atmosphere. So it really is a great, fun evening. And you get to see everything in 3 hours."

Before the July 6 match, Kournikova will be part of a meet-and-greet at Morton's Steakhouse at the King of Prussia Mall.

Tickets are $100, and include a complimentary drink, snacks and a reserved ticket for the match, which will be held in a Freedoms' makeshift arena in the mall parking lot. For information, call 866-WTT-TIXS.

Kournikova said she enjoys such events.

"It's really nice for me to go and say hi and take pictures with the fans," she said. "And a lot of times it's mostly kids . . . So, yeah, it's definitely fun." *

- Tom Mahon

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