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Kournikova: ‘Not Jewish - see my cross’

- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 9, 2009

Mean girls

G2 has been courtside lately at the opening games of the World Team Tennis league's Washington Kastles, where there's been lots of good dish to volley back at you.

On Wednesday, blond bombshell Anna Kournikova was in town with her team, the St. Louis Aces, for their match against the Kastles. The tennis glamour queen was unable to play due to a wrist injury, but we caught up with her at a press conference and asked about - what else? - her rumored engagement to heartthrob singer Enrique Iglesias.

"I don't normally talk about my personal life," she answered, trying to shield the ring the size of Texas she was rocking. "People are saying a lot of things. There is always something new."

When freelance photographer Carrie Devorah congratulated Miss Kournikova with the common Hebrew/Yiddish expression "mazel tov," the Russian beauty asked what that meant. When the photog explained it means congratulations and good luck, Miss K, according to Ms. Devorah, snapped, "I am not Jewish - can't you see my cross?"

When apprised of the tennis player's retort, a worried-looking Mark Ein, owner of the Kastles, declined to comment, saying he hadn't heard the reported exchange.

On Tuesday night, before the Kastles went down in defeat to the Philadelphia Freedoms, Mr. Ein hosted a press conference and VIP reception for tennis legend Venus Williams, who plays for the Freedoms.

The 29-year-old, who at over 6 feet is as regal in person as she appears on the court, wandered casually around the VIP tent posing for pictures with children who came up to her hip and signing pictures for older fans who came up to her shoulders.

If there's one thing that will get the affable athlete a little prickly, it's the subject of her sibling rivalry with her sister Serena, who bested her for the championship trophy at Wimbledon last Saturday. She told a reporter who queried her that she's getting sick of taking questions about it. Period.

Evidently, the weather is another nonstarter subject for Miss Williams. One of the fans who met her at the reception was Redskins Hall of Famer Darrell Green, who greeted Miss Williams warmly as the two were swarmed by reporters and cameras.

"Welcome to Washington," Mr. Green beamed. Not sensing much enthusiasm from Miss Williams and looking slightly awkward, Mr. Green quickly changed the subject to the weather in London, the famous home city of Wimbledon.

After a curt reply and perfunctory exchange of a few other pleasantries, Miss Williams moved on to the next fan.

Mr. Green took a moment with G2 to reflect on the news of the day, the moving memorial service to the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. Mr. Green explained that he never met Mr. Jackson but was moved by his death because the two men were roughly the same age.

"I saw him in concert, and I remember when he came to the White House around 1984, and all the people going crazy," he reminisced.

Speaking of blasts from the past, Mr. Ein informed G2 that the iconic home of the late Katharine Graham, the publisher of the Washington Post and prolific Georgetown hostess, might be open for business soon.

The 40-something bachelor businessman bought the home in recent years for a reported $8 million but has never lived in the house, much to the dismay of those who want to see the manse restored to its former glory in the new era of Obama Washington.

"I get offers to sell it, rent it and use it for parties all the time, but I want to make it my home," he confided to us. "I am ready. I am almost there."

Does this mean Mr. Ein has finally found a Mrs. Ein to help make a house a home? We will keep you posted.

To contact Stephanie Green or Elizabeth Glover, e-mail undercover@washingtontimes.com.