Smashnova, Anna (aka Anna Pistolesi)
Pistolesi was a member of Israel's 2004 Athens Games tennis team. She represented Israel in the singles event. Anna was drawn to play Tathiana Garbin of Italy (currently ranked 64 in the world) in the first round. Anna was visibly hindered by back pains during the match. Garbin easily beat the higher ranked Israeli 2-6, 1-6, in the first round of the Olympic tennis singles event.
Smashnova not only has one of the great names in the history of tennis; she is also Israel's top female tennis player. Furthemore, she is considered Israel's greatest female player of all time and has consistently held down a top 20 WTA ranking over the last three years. Anna is renowned for her peerless base-line style and undeniable hustle. The Olympics hold a special place in Anna's heart she says, "I have wanted to be in the Olympics since I was four years old and it was held in Moscow." Pistolesi had to fight for the privilege of representing her country since her sponsors "Lotto" and the Israeli squad's sponsors "Speedo" could not agree on the terms of her participation. When the legal smoke had finally cleared and Anna was allowed top participate, she injured her lower back. A team of doctors is on call to guarantee her participation in the opening game on August 15. Pistolesi is also concerned about the hard court surface in Athens, which is very similar to the US Open court on which she has not excelled.
Born a Russian in Minsk, Anna began playing at the age of six because, she said, "The tennis club was the closest sport club to my home. It was easy to get there, and they were taking young kids...My parents did not play tennis. They started after me." The top Girls' junior player in Russia for four years in the late 1980s, Smashnova and her family moved to Israel in 1990, when Anna was 14. In 1991, Smashnova had barely settled into Israeli life, when she won the 1991 French Open juniors title.
Anna's professional career has been filled with accomplishment as well. Smashnova was named Tennis Magazine/Rolex Watch Female Rookie of the Year in 1994. She has won a WTA tour title in 1999 at the Tashkent tournament. Her second title was won the following year in Sanex Trophy in Belgium. By 2002 Smashnova was a top 20 regular and she cemented her position with victory in the ASB Bank Classic at Auckland, New Zealand, the Wien Energie Grand Prix, Shanghai Open and the Canberra Classic. In 2003 she fought her way to victory at the Idea Prokom Open in Poland and the Nordic Light Open in Helsinki and in 2004 she captured another title in Vienna. Despite these accomplishments, Pistolesi has suffered a noticeable lack of success in grand slam tournaments.
Birth and Death Dates:
b. July 16, 1976
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