24/02/2012 04:49 GMT | Updated 24/02/2012 05:28 GMT

Tom Daley Told He Is Becoming The Anna Kournikova Of Diving

Tom Daley has been warned he is in danger of becoming diving's Anna Kournikova after a poor performance at the World Cup in London with partner Peter Waterfield.

British performance director Alexei Evangulov gave the candid assessment, having last week said he feared for Daley's Olympic chances because of the volume of his sponsorship and media work.

"It reminds me of the situation in Russia with Kournikova," the Daily Mail reported Evangulov as saying.

"She looked pretty and made a promising start to her career but the media exposure meant she never got to be the best. She is still in the celebrity news but she never achieved her full potential."

Kournikova shot into the sporting stratosphere by reaching the semi-finals of Wimbledon in 1997 at the age of 16, becoming only the second female tennis player in history to reach the last four since Chris Evert in 1972.


Anna Kournikova

The Russian won two Grand Slam doubles titles at the Australia Open in 1999 and 2002 with partner Martina Hingis, but never yielded a singles title.

Injuries and her showbiz lifestyle overawed her tennis career and Kournikova eventually retired in May 2007, but played her last WTA match in 2003. She has been in a relationship with singer Enrique Iglesias for 10 years.

Evangulov, a former Russian diving champion came after Daley and Waterfield scored low marks in their penultimate forward four-and-a-half somersault dive to fall from third to seventh.

Daley tweeted his disappointment at yesterday's performance, but was enthusiastic about the crowd in attendance:

China's pairing of Yuan Cao and Yanquan Zhang won gold, with Mexico second and Germany third. Daley, 17, faced questions in the aftermath of Evangulov's opprobrium, when he said that the Chinese work three times as hard.

It is understood that Daley will cancel his appearance at Madame Tussauds next week, when his waxwork will be unveiled.