The WTA Knows It: Sex Sells
If you think for the WTA Tour isn’t selling sex (and surely by now you are not that naive), then the press release they breathlessly sent out today about three of its players appearing in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue should dispel that notion for good.
The release notes that Daniela Hantuchova, Maria Kirilenko and Tatiana Golovin “grace” the pages of S.I.’s “renowned” annual sexploitation in the name of fashion. “During the five day photo shoot on the secluded beaches of the Dominican Republic, Hantuchova, Kirilenko and Golovin enjoyed a once in a lifetime opportunity to showcase a rare and powerful combination of beauty and athleticism and a unique side of their personalities as they posed for visually dynamic photo spreads,” the release says.
Coos Frenchwoman Golovin: “It is such an honor to be a part of the Swimsuit issue and while I have done lots of photo shoots in my career, none of them can compare to the fantastic atmosphere of this shoot and the positive energy of the crew."
Hantuchova of Slovakia chimes in that the shoot “gave me a rare and fun opportunity to let the people see me in a different light, away from the tennis court.” You can bet on that.
WTA CEO Larry Scott provides the final spin: “One of the unique strengths of women’s professional tennis is that our players are not only amazing athletes on the court, but also interesting and glamorous personalities off the court.” Ya think?
Other WTA players that have appeared in S.I.’s annual issue were bona fide stars, among them Maria Sharapova, Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Anna Kournikova, and Steffi Graf. This latest batch definitely has sex appeal, but is woefully short All-Star tennis credentials. Only Hantuchova has been in the top 10. I can’t imagine that more than 5-10% of S.I readers have a clue who these players are. Until now.