Shane Warne and Anna Kournikova meeting highlighted cricket legend’s power as a world star

A meeting between glamorous tennis star Anna Kournikova and Shane Warne may be the best example of the cricket legend’s reach as an international sport legend.

Celebrities from around the world joined the outpouring of grief after the legendary leg spinner was found dead inside his luxury Thai villa last Friday.

Actor Hugh Jackman, singer Mick Jagger and musician Ed Sheeran are among the famous A-listers who have paid tribute to the late cricket star.

Warne’s presence appears to have crept into even the most unexpected corners of the world and even into football-obsessed Russia.

A meeting between glamorous tennis star Anna Kournikova (right) and Shane Warne (left) may be the best example of the cricket legend’s reach as an international sporting legend

Glamorous tennis star Anna Kournikova had Warne at the top of her meet wish-list during her visit to Australia in 1998

Glamorous tennis star Anna Kournikova had Warne at the top of her meet wish-list during her visit to Australia in 1998

Glamorous tennis star Anna Kournikova had Warne at the top of her meet wish-list during her visit to Australia in 1998.

‘We’ve almost forgotten about how big he was when he was playing,’ journalist Robert Craddock told The Follow On podcast.

‘Anna Kournikova, the most glamorous tennis player and athlete in the world, she was in Australia for the summer and wanted to meet Shane Warne.’

Kournikova made a pit stop to visit Warne at the Sydney Cricket Ground before the pair immediately hit it off.

‘And out of the blue (she) turned up at training at the SCG and heads were turning, cameras were whirring,’ Craddock said. “She wanted to meet Warnie — it was extraordinary.”

The pair were photographed smiling from ear to ear as they chatted like old friends.

Kournikova laughed at Warne’s famous charm and the pair even shared a hug.

Warne was only too quick to play the gentleman as he helped Kournikova over a hand rail in the stands of the SCG.

‘The thing with Shane Warne, he wasn’t just a cricketer, he was a rockstar,’ former teammate Brett Lee said on The Brett Lee podcast.

‘And if you just have a look at the tributes that have flown in from all around the world from Sir Elton John, from Mick Jagger, Ed Sheeran, from Coldplay.

Warne's presence appears to have crept into even the most unexpected corners of the world and into football-obsessed Russia no less

Warne’s presence appears to have crept into even the most unexpected corners of the world and into football-obsessed Russia no less

Glamorous tennis star Anna Kournikova had Warne at the top of her meet wish-list during her tour in Australia in 1998 (pictured, Kournikova as three kids with Spanish songwriter Enrique Iglesias)

Glamorous tennis star Anna Kournikova had Warne at the top of her meet wish-list during her tour in Australia in 1998 (pictured, Kournikova as three kids with Spanish songwriter Enrique Iglesias)

‘You’ve got music royalty, sporting royalty, royalty in general. That’s who Shane Warne was — he touched the lives of many people.’

Kournikova went on to meet her future-partner and Spanish songwriter Enrique Iglesias on set while filming Escape in December 2001.

Serious back and spinal problems forced Kournikova to hang up her tennis racquet in 2003 before she settled down and had three kids with Iglesias.

Warne may have been dead for up to 45 minutes before paramedics were called to his luxury villa in Thailand, first responders claim.

The revelation comes as a staff member from Samujana Villas says he charmed her and other colleagues with his charisma and kindness in the short time he spent there before his sudden death less than 24 hours after stepping off the plane.

Anucha Hanaiam and Kittchai Huadmuang are both paramedics who responded to distressing calls from the resort on the afternoon of Friday, March 4.

They told Daily Mail Australia it was likely Warne suffered a heart attack while relaxing alone well before his mates thought to check on him in his room.

Actor Hugh Jackman, singer Mick Jagger and musician Ed Sheeran are among the famous A-listers who have paid tribute to the late cricket star

Actor Hugh Jackman, singer Mick Jagger and musician Ed Sheeran are among the famous A-listers who have paid tribute to the late cricket star

Kournikova (pictured, with her partner Enrique Iglesias) made a pit stop to visit Warne at the Sydney Cricket Ground before the pair immediately hit it off

Kournikova (pictured, with her partner Enrique Iglesias) made a pit stop to visit Warne at the Sydney Cricket Ground before the pair immediately hit it off

The great Australian leg spinner planned a relaxing afternoon on Friday with multiple masseuses and a manicurist and pedicurist booked to come to the villa for back-to-back treatments.

A staff member at the resort told Daily Mail Australia that most of the treatments were booked through his villa manager, using staff from nearby affiliate parlors.

A second massage was likely booked on Warne’s behalf by a friend or by the 52-year-old himself.

After receiving his spa treatments, Warne hoped to settle in to watch the first Australia v Pakistan Test on television and was going to round out the week by hitting a local bar with his mates, but never made it.

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