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September 07, 2007

Tennis Hotties

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

Enough with the high-minded chitchat about the fate of Culture. In honor of the U.S. Tennis Open, let's cut to the one topic that really matters: Who deserves to reign as Current Tennis Hottie? Since I'm agnostic so far as the dudes go -- although isn't it weird how much lantern-jawed Roger Federer sometimes resembles lantern-jawed Quentin Tarantino? -- I'm going to focus on las chicas.

The three girls who seem to me to be vying most enthusiatically for the crown are:

Bethanie Mattek


Daniela Hantuchova


and Ashley Harkleroad.


Bethanie ... Ashley ... Gotta love those klunky, "distinctive" American names, no? Not for the first time, I find myself wondering, "American parents, what on earth do you think you're doing?"

By the way, isn't it a lovely stroke of luck the way that female tennis players peak athletically at the exact same moment when they want most badly to show themselves off? I attended a warm-up session for the U.S. Open a few years ago, and most of the pro girls practicing their awesome volleys and terrifying topspins were dressed in baseball caps, jog-bra tops, and skin-tight hot pants. They didn't seem to mind the whir and snap of thousands of digital cameras going off either.

Ladies: Can any of the guys compete in the Hotness stakes with Rafa? Capri pants and all?


This Patrick Hruby piece about fashion faux pas of the tennis stars may be a few years old, but it's awfully funny still.



Complaints and scoldings -- all of them legit -- have driven me to make apologies and amends. Maria Sharapova certainly deserves inclusion in any list of tennis hotties and wannabe hotties. Feeling properly remorseful, I gave myself a tough sentence: Dig up a worthy pic of Maria ...


Gotta love look-at-me panties, er, tennis shorts ...

posted by Michael at September 7, 2007


Could you expand a bit on the names? What's wrong with Ashley or Bethanie?

Posted by: Tatyana on September 7, 2007 4:16 PM

They're the kinds of "unusual" names that Boomer parents (who themselves have more mundane names like Jeff and Diane) gave to their kids hoping to endow them with something "special." Because of this, now all kids seem to have unusual names. Combine 'em with last names like "Harkleroad" and it's all so USA.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on September 7, 2007 4:27 PM

Tennis ain't nothin'. If you want to see women athletes competing with a minimum of clothing, check out a track meet. Many women compete attired just this side of Indecent Exposure. While the distance runners can be unattractively bony, those competing in events under around 800 meters, as well as the jumpers, often have beautifully muscled bodies.

Posted by: Peter on September 7, 2007 4:31 PM

Well, you see, for me the names Jeff and Diana are every bit as exotic as Ashley (what kind of Christian name is it, anyway? Bethanie, I guess, was derived from Elizabeth at some point...)
I thought you protest the spelling; I have hired an assistant called Bethany - and she's all all-American as they come: rose-cheeked blonde with perivinkle eyes and soothing manner. Bethanie, however, does look pretentious in comparison.

Posted by: Tatyana on September 7, 2007 4:34 PM

women's beach volleyball. lord.

is sharapova already yesterday's news?

Posted by: roissy on September 7, 2007 5:41 PM

Women sprinters are too muscular. Distance runners can look beautiful when not photographed running.

Posted by: PA on September 7, 2007 6:22 PM

The name thing is pretty popular now since Levitt's "Freakonomics." He catalogues the pattern of names, and how the upper crust tend to lead the way in finding "trendy" names. The lower tiers follow a few years later, and so on goes the cycle, the upper types dropping the Madisons and such when they become sufficiently popular.

Brittany, Ashley, Brianna and like names are all now more popular among those with lower income/education.

Although, names like Sarah and Rachel tend to stay high on the list. Pretty strong correlation to both Christian and Jewish sensibilities.

Posted by: Ray G on September 7, 2007 7:10 PM

Bethanie Mattek's thighs are a bit thick for my taste. Daniela seems sweet and earnest, but look at Ashley! She's streaked with sweat, her hip's cocked slightly, and the expression on her mouth is focused yet perky, expressive and maybe just a little challenging. Plus she's toasted a nice, light brown.

My heart says Daniela, but my unreformed male libido says Ashley all the way.

I wonder if she has a boyfriend. Roissy, how would you approach a girl like her?

Posted by: PatrickH on September 7, 2007 7:48 PM

I went to the Summer Olympic trials a few years ago and was struck by how many of the young women could have worked as runway models: very tall, slender, toned, attractive women. I have no idea what it means, but the fashion ideal for women is very close to the physical reality of elite female track and field athletes.

Posted by: Friedrich von Blowhard on September 7, 2007 8:01 PM

Away from trendy names and back to discussion of tennis hotties, I saw Serbian tennis chick Jelena JankoviŠ last night for the first time, and I thought she was *fine*. Interesting how Asiatic she is in her features; I know Slavs originally came from Asia, but still, they've been in Europe long enough, it's still surprising how Asian some of them can still look.

Posted by: Will S. on September 7, 2007 8:57 PM

Women sprinters are too muscular

Bosh. Muscular chix = hott.

Posted by: Peter on September 7, 2007 9:50 PM

The hottest girl athletes are soccer players or maybe field hockey. I don't know if this is true for professionals, but at any other level, sure. Muscular upper bodies are gross on girls. Soccer doesn't require them to really buff out their legs, so they don't look gross either. However, they run enough to get them toned, and they burn enough fat to keep from getting overweight.

Posted by: agnostic on September 7, 2007 10:06 PM

Actually, Bethany is a town in the New Testament, home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. It still exists in present-day Israel; it's on the West Bank.

As far as these names being "upper crust", I suppose it depends on what you mean by upper. Old established types still tend to prefer old established names. That's truer in England, though, where names are a real class marker: you'll degrade yourself automatically by calling your children names like Gary and Marilyn, according to all I hear.

Posted by: alias clio on September 7, 2007 10:15 PM

Okay, that was supposed to be "Jankovic", albeit with an accent; don't know why it came out wrong.

Posted by: Will S. on September 7, 2007 11:02 PM

RE: Upper crust names

Pick up a copy of "Freakonomics" to see where the definition of "upper crust" names comes from. Levitt taps into a lot of census data.

More to the important points touched on above, there's quite a few ways for the various parts to come together well. As long as the basic feminity isn't lost, it's all good. (Ugly's not good, I am speaking within reason of certain limitations.)

Posted by: Ray G on September 8, 2007 12:47 AM

Best Bethanie so far...I think she just ambled over from the night shift at Scores...

Posted by: Scott on September 8, 2007 10:18 AM

It is interesting how many athletically capable women are also attractive (most interestingly, facially attractive). I'm sure Agnostic would have something to say about that.

Posted by: PatrickH on September 8, 2007 10:35 AM

Kim Clijsters is a very dramatic player who can do things that none the others can.

Posted by: John Emerson on September 8, 2007 2:41 PM

but my unreformed male libido says Ashley all the way.

I wonder if she has a boyfriend. Roissy, how would you approach a girl like her?

"hi, maria, you played great out there."

Posted by: roissy on September 8, 2007 3:17 PM

Muscular upper bodies are gross on girls

Sez you. Not me!

Posted by: Peter on September 8, 2007 6:58 PM

Not me either - I love the muscle definition in the arms of female tennis players. Much more attractive than the skinny little spaghetti arms you see on so many girls that don't exercise their upper bodies.

Posted by: Jay on September 9, 2007 2:09 AM

I'm surprised that Sharapova only gets one vote, and is left off Michael's ballot altogether.

Posted by: john on September 9, 2007 10:14 AM

Okay. Now that changes things. I must give my regards and my regrets to Ashley, withdraw the heart I've given to Daniela, and consign both heart and libido to La Sharapova.

I was actually thinking of using Roissy's line, "Maria, you played great out there" as an ironic opener for Ashley, a neg of sorts, you know, get her attention in an irritating kind of way. But that won't be necessary now. Irony be damned. "Maria, you played great out there!"

Posted by: PatrickH on September 9, 2007 3:11 PM

Ashley, Bethany -- they're fine names by me. My aunts Mabel, Harriet, and Gladys thought Mary Jane was a weird name for my sister. "It should be Mary. Just plain Mary!"

Posted by: Fred Wickham on September 9, 2007 6:37 PM

Peter, you and your friends will love this...

Me, I'm a Jessica Biel type...


Posted by: Charlton Griffin on September 9, 2007 7:49 PM

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