Ashley Harkleroad: Will She Become the Next Kournikova?

With Anna Kournikova growing old and saggy, a number of bright teenagers want to imitate her style and get the millions that she has obtained. One of these is Ashley Harkleroad, age 16.

Detractors say she does not quite have it. She has the looks. She has the style. But, she does not hit the ball hard enough.
Ashley Harkleroad
Ashley Harkleroad

"She doesn't have the same feel for the game and doesn't hit as hard," one commentator said of Harkleroad. "There was so much hype surrounding her and I thought, `She's going to be really, really good.' But you can see she is still making a transition to the pros."

A packed crowd on Court 11 noticed Harkleroad, the tanned 16- year-old from Florida playing her debut match at the United States Open. A couple of shirtless fans in the front row cheered Harkleroad's every move, even her mis-hits. A few fans whistled. Others took pictures. Meanwhile, her opponent, who is ranked much higher on the world ranking list, received almost no attention.

Afterward, 43 members of the press wanted to speak to Harkleroad; only three spoke to the opponent who had just defeated her. Harkleroad talked about her clothes, not her tennis, a fitting statement about her career now.

If Ashley Harkleroad wants to make it to the top, she will have to do it harder.

Sam Sloan

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