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 Tuesday, January 9
Kournikova: Doubles split with Hingis part of life
 SYDNEY, Australia -- Anna Kournikova says the recent split with doubles partner Martina Hingis was not the bitter breakup that was reported in the media.

Anna Kournikova
Anna Kournikova and Martina Hingis played their last WTA doubles match together when they won at the Chase Championships.
Kournikova said the breakup during an exhibition match in Chile last month resulted in some tears, but she didn't elaborate.

The Russian tennis star and the world's No. 1 singles player last were paired on Nov. 18 to defend their Chase Championships doubles crown.

The pair also teamed in 2000 to win at Filderstadt, Zurich and Philadelphia following a successful 1999, when they won titles at the Australian Open, Italian Open, Indian Wells and Eastbourne.

Kournikova, who has never won a singles title on the WTA tour, said there was nothing wrong with her personal relationship with the top-ranked Hingis.

"It's not like a breakup," she said. "It's just that we both have different partners. It's not like we're never going to see each other, never going to talk to each other. No way.

"A lot of players change their partners all the time, so it's absolutely normal -- this is our sport and this is the way it is."

Kournikova said her partnership with Hingis has been off and on for a number of years.

"We want to try different things," she said. "I want to concentrate more on my singles. I'm not going to play as much doubles as I used to."

Kournikova advanced to the second round of the Adidas International in Sydney with a 6-4, 6-4 victory Tuesday against Elena Bovina.

She is teaming with Austrian Barbara Schett in the doubles. Hingis will play with Monica Seles in the doubles at Sydney and again next week at the Australian Open in Melbourne.

The 19-year-old Kournikova, the No. 6 seed in Sydney, said her progress in singles has been excellent of late, despite the fact she doesn't have a full-time coach.

"Hopefully, this year I can make the top five," she said, adding that to make it, she has to "play much more consistent and just win the big matches."

Hingis has a first-round bye in the singles draw in Sydney but joined Seles in a doubles opener and broke the win streak of Wimbledon and Olympic doubles champions Venus and Serena Williams.

Speaking last week in Perth, where Hingis led Switzerland to victory in the Hopman Cup mixed teams tournament, Hingis said her relationship with Kournikova was intact, but Hingis wants more independence.