|Wednesday, April 3
Kournikova rep denies London Sun report
By Darren Rovell
Despite a recent published report, Anna Kournikova is not being threatened by a top sponsor to win or face a pay cut, according to an official at Octagon, which represents the Russian tennis player.
On Tuesday, the London Sun reported that adidas, which signed Kournikova in 1996, would lower the value of her contract if she didn't start winning. She has yet to win a singles title in 101 WTA tournaments.
"She will have to train harder and hopefully win her first tournament," adidas chair Herbert Hainer reportedly said in the article in which the headline read 'Win or take paycut, Anna.' "More sporting success is vital for her to be taken seriously."
But Octagon spokesman David Schwab said the comment was taken out of context and the quote came from an interview from last September with the German weekly tabloid Bild am Sonntag.
"The article that appeared in a couple of this morning's papers claiming Anna Kournikova has been warned to play better by adidas is simply not true," said Jon Deacon of adidas in a statement. "Anna Kournikova is a top symbol and important partner for adidas."
The story's authors, nor the sports editor for the Sun, could not be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon.
Two weeks ago, Octagon president of athlete representation Phil de Picciotto told ESPN.com that fan and corporate interest in Kournikova, who reportedly makes between $10 milllion and $15 million a year, "continues to be unparalled."
Darren Rovell, who covers sports business for ESPN.com, can be reached at email@example.com.