By People Staff
May 11, 1998 12:00 PM

With her penetrating ground strokes and a fearless net game, 16-year-old Anna Kournikova has handily bashed her way past top seeds Monica Seles, Lindsay Davenport and Arantxa Sanchez Vicario. But the boisterous boys in the stadiums who hold up signs saying Anna Gets My Blood Rushing! and Anna, Call Me! are more interested in her tight tummy and the waist-length blonde hair that she hasn’t cut since she was 7. “I’m glad they’re rooting for me instead of my opponent,” says the flirtatious Russian export, who has been linked romantically with Detroit Red Wings center Sergei Fedorov, 28. “I can’t think of a more fun distraction.”

At 5’8″ and still growing, Kournikova is causing a stir because, established ace Andre Agassi believes, “people are not used to seeing more feminine athletes out there.” Or, as her former coach Nick Bollettieri puts it, “I don’t think all the attention she’s getting is based on her as a player.”

With contracts from Adidas, Rolex and Yonex rackets pouring in, Kournikova has all the more reason to coddle her pretty face. “I don’t ever go out without moisturizer,” she says. And though she eschews sunblock and foundation (“I have a tan so I don’t have to use it”), her favorite pastime is trolling the cosmetics counters: “I love playing with the makeup.”

When asked to recall a time when she looked her best, she gazes into a mirror and replies, “I look good now.” Mom Alla, who chaperons Kournikova on the circuit while her college professor dad, Sergei, teaches phys ed in Moscow, never worries about her daughter’s self-esteem. “She is always saying, ‘I’m beautiful, famous and gorgeous,’ ” says Alla. Overhearing her mother, Anna chimes in, “She’s right. That’s my favorite saying.”