Stars Blow Whistle on Wedding




The world's romantic hearts were mourning the news that the wedding of the decade between NHL hockey star Pavel Bure and tennis sweetheart Anna Kournikova was off - or may have never been on.


Bure admitted that he loves hockey more than anything else, and Kournikova said she never intended to get married in the first place, while the newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda speculated that "the 18-year-old pin-up girl's interfering and scheming mother is to blame."


About two months ago, newspaper reports emerged with the good news that Bure had proposed to Kournikova with a $1 million diamond ring at a restaurant in Florida.


On Wednesday and Thursday, newspapers around the world reported the marriage plans of two of Russia's biggest sports celebrities may be off.


"A wedding isn't entering into my plans just yet," Bure, 29, who plays right wing for the National Hockey League's Florida Panthers and is Russia's richest athlete, was quoted as saying by Komsomolskaya Pravda on Wednesday.


And to strengthen the blow to all those romantic hearts, he added that "Today I love hockey more than anything else."


But Kournikova isn't going to look like a fool in the game of young love, either. In what appeared to be an official press release on her web site (www.kournikova.com) Wednesday, she denied that she ever had any intentions of marrying the hockey stud.


"I never said I was engaged or was planning to get married, because I have no such plans," the statement said. "It is hard for me to understand that some people believe everything they see in the media, and I should have said something sooner.


"Any time that I have news," she added, "I will be the one to let you know."


Kournikova is the world's 12th-ranked women's tennis player but has yet to win a tournament on the WTA tour.


Still, her beauty has made her one of the game's most popular players.


Bure is the NHL's leading scorer with 57 goals and was named most valuable player in the 50th NHL All-Star game on Feb. 7.


The Associated Press said Kournikova and Bure live in the same apartment building in trendy south Miami Beach. Komsomolskaya Pravda reported they shared an apartment with Kournikova's mother.


According to the newspaper, the Russian Rocket - as Bure is called by his Florida Panthers team - blew the whistle on the wedding while placing Kournikova's mother Alla, 37, in the penalty box for interference.


"Soon after Bure moved in with the Kournikovas, he got sick of his future mother-in-law's ambitious scheming for her daughter," the paper said.


In what was more of an opinion piece than a news story, the paper accused the woman of "turning her daughter into a money-making machine" and "pilfering up to half of her lucrative advertising contracts."


Russia's beloved tennis star "is still mommy's girl despite her fame and fortune, which has earned her nearly $16 million," the paper said.


And true to form, Kournikova announced last weekend that she was embarking on a new bra sponsorship deal where she will be pictured in her underwear alongside the slogan: "Only the ball should bounce," the British tabloid The Sun reported Thursday.


Despite repeated attempts, neither Bure's mother, Tatyana, who lives in Moscow, nor Kournikova's mother, who lives in Miami, could be reached for comment Thursday.