Is there an American magazine we tennis fans slag on more than Sports Illustrated? Probably not. From their virtual disregard of tennis except post-Slams to their annual snub of our top players for their year-end awards, tennis clearly rides in the back seat. And it’s not the back seat of a car, it’s a bus! And that’s too bad because when they do cover the sport they often get it right. And with the arrival this week of their much ballyhooed swimsuit issue I think SI got it right with tennis again by showing off tennis beauties Maria Kirilenko, Daniela Hantuchova and Tatiana Golovin in the issue.
If you live in the U.S. you’ve no doubt seen and heard about SI’s swimsuit issue. Cover girl Bar Rafaeli (is that really her name?) was all over the media outlets Tuesday giving the issue a real strong promotional push, and it needs one because a magazine with girls in swimsuits is pretty much a yawner when compared to what’s available on the market and online these days.
So to maintain some form of relevance and perhaps journalistic credibility SI has been branching out in recent years by having actual athletes get down to their goodies and pose in the magazine. I think Maria Sharapova was featured a few years ago, maybe Serena too, but this year the magazine gives tennis it’s very own section in which to flaunt the bold, beautiful and the sexy, and Maria, Daniela and Tatiana don’t disappoint. Frankly, Golovin looks the best of the trio, and overall the photos were tastefully done. I know some critics will take a shot at the girls for posing, but if they can get the work and get paid for it, why not.
As Andy Roddick’s fiancée, Brooklyn Decker is part of the tennis family – or will be soon. Brooklyn’s had a little more experience than the tennis gals in getting the camera to light up and it shows. That is, she shows everything. In one spread, a naked Decker is covered only by paint. Sherwin-Williams? Glidden? I don’t know. But how Andy finds the time to actually practice is a mystery.
Speaking of Roddick, the gunslinger will be in a great battle tonight in San Jose against Ernests Gulbis. If it’s anything like their US Open meeting…Juan Martin Del Potro and James Blake are also playing this week in the popular No-Cal tour stop. I believe Fox TV will have the broadcast this weekend.
In Europe, just a week or so removed from his thrilling Australian Open triumph over Roger Federer, “Bar” Rafael Nadal is back on the hard courts of tennis. Credit to Nadal for upholding his commitment to the Rotterdam tournament, but I have to wonder again given the nature of his body why take the unnecessary grind? And to think he still has Dubai, Davis Cup, Indian Well and Miami all to play before the clay season, I fear Rafa may again be break down come year-end if not sooner. But if you’re a Rafa fan you just have to trust Uncle Toni. So far the guy’s been serving nothing but aces.
In a few short hours, Nadal will play Bulgarian phenom Grigor Dimitrov. If you haven’t heard of Grigor, his coach, Peter Lundgren, just announced that his pupil is a better than Federer was at age 17. If Peter was trying to add pressure on the kid I’d say he succeeded.
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