Kournikova a smash at Wimbledon

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/A/Anna-Kournikova.jpg' class='caption'> Anna Kournikova packed out Wimbledon's Court 2 as she played her first competitive tennis match in seven years, but the Russian star insisted she could never re

Updated: June 30, 2010 12:13 IST
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London :

Anna Kournikova packed out Wimbledon's Court 2 as she played her first competitive tennis match in seven years, but the Russian star insisted she could never return to the tour.

The 29-year-old - still one of the most searched-for players on the Internet despite retiring in 2003 - and Swiss former world number one Martina Hingis reformed their Grand Slam-winning doubles partnership to appear at the All England Club.

The "Spice Girls of tennis" pairing, who won the Australian Open titles in 1999 and 2002, are playing in the ladies' invitation doubles at Wimbledon.

"For me it's an amazing opportunity to be back at Wimbledon, my favourite grass courts. I haven't been here since 2002," Kournikova said after their opening round-robin match on Tuesday.

They defeated the British pair Samantha Smith and Anne Hobbs 6-4, 6-2 in front of 4,000 tennis fans.

Other partnerships in the competition include Martina Navratilova and Jana Novotna, and Conchita Martinez and Nathalie Tauziat.

"I'm not getting any younger. So this is probably my last chance to play here, just to experience being on the court with much less pressure than when you play professional," Kournikova said.

"Playing with Martina, we just picked it up where we left off eight years ago. Last time I played was eight years ago. I had so much fun. Kind of jittery a little bit. You don't know how everything is going to go. But I had an amazing time."

Kournikova said she was in no condition to enter the main ladies' doubles draw, saying it would be unprofessional and unsportsmanlike to do so, knowing she would not be able to see out the match.

"Not me. She could be. Me, there's no way. I'm not ready for that at all," she insisted.

"For me it would be impossible physically to be on the tour. Even to prepare for the specific tournament, the last two months, I've had to have therapy every day for an hour and a half. This is just for the fun matches.

"I would have to live in the trainer's room for three hours every day. I have five different things wrong with my back from two herniated discs.

"I don't feel that my body can survive it."

Hingis's two-year drugs ban after testing positive for cocaine - she maintains her innocence - has now expired, but she too said she would not be making a second return to the tour.

"I did it. I had my comeback. I was very happy with it. I lived through all the emotions. I missed it when I was away for three years. That's why I did the comeback," the Swiss said.

"Now it's different. I'm going to be 30 years old. It's a commitment you have to do. You travel 35, 40 weeks a year. I think I've played enough tennis in my life," she said.

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