Russian women have a reputation for being among the most beautiful in the world, and you only have to look at their representatives in the WTA for proof of this. Some of the most talented players in female tennis hail from Russia, and many of them are turning heads outside of the court as well. The women’s game has evolved to a point where these talented athletes can make big money from their beauty - via advertising, magazine shoots, sponsorship deals etc - as well from their performances on the court. And we’ve seen plenty of Russia’s crop of female tennis players in the media as a result.
That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of amazing glamorous female players coming out of North America as well. In fact, across the women’s game, there appears to be more beautiful, athletic and talented stars emerging. These superstars seem to have it all. They spend countless hours training to develop incredible physiques. Many female players can serve above 100mph in the current era, and a fair few of them could easily be mistaken for catwalk models too.
The United States can stake a claim to having the most successful female players, having beaten off Belarus in the final of the Fed Cup last month, but which nation has the most eye-catching players away from the court?
Here, we compare eight of the sexiest players from Russia with eight of the most gorgeous athletes from North America.
16 Anastasia Pivovarova (Russia)
Anastasia Pivovarova is a right-hander who hails from Chita in south-east Russia. During an impressive junior career, Pivovarova was ranked as high as no. 2. She currently ranks outside of the top 500 female players on the court, but is definitely among the most attractive players. Pivovarova retired in 2012, due to an injury. During this time, she opened a tennis club called APcenter in Moscow, as well as working in The President Administration of Russian Federation.
She worked hard to maintain full fitness and has been active again, mainly on the ITF tour, since 2014. Famed for her double-handed backhand, she has yet to make a huge impact in a grand slam tournament, but has still picked up more than $400,000 in prize money. At just 27 years old, it’s likely she has still has a few years left to match the success of her junior career.
15 Sloane Stephens (United States)
Sloane Stephens must be on top of the world after picking up the U.S Open title in 2017. She was the lowest-ranked player to ever pick up the title, and only the second unseeded woman to do so. The victory skyrocketed her up to 13th in the world rankings. No doubt, the victory ranks as one of the biggest sporting surprises of 2017.
Stephens powered past plenty of more experienced players on her journey to the final, showcasing her tenacity, power and natural ability on the court. Following the victory, she went on to help the United States win the Fed Cup. She sure is something to look at too, as this picture clearly demonstrates. At 24 years old, she has her best years ahead of her. We’re looking forward to seeing what she goes on to achieve on the court.
14 Maria Sharapova (Russia)
Sharapova is arguably the most famous, most successful and most beautiful Russian in the women’s game. She’s been ranked as world no.1 on five separate occasions, having won each of the grand slam titles (including the French Open twice).
She’s slowly coming back to her best form, closing in on the world’s top 50, after being banned from tennis for 15 months for testing positive for meldonium. She returned in April, but it wasn’t until she claimed her first trophy by winning the Tianjin Open. Her mix of beauty and excellent talent has allowed her to reach global fame, and she has various starred in major modelling assignments such as the Sports Illustrated swimsuit Issue. She even received a marriage proposal from a fan during an exhibition match in Istanbul last week. When you look at this stunning picture, it’s hardly surprising.
13 Ashley Harkleroad (United States)
Californian babe Ashley Harkleroad hasn't played tennis in some time, having retired in 2012, but she did become the first professional tennis player to pose for Playboy. She made this decision while recovering from surgery to remove an ovarian cyst in 2008. This was before it was so common for tennis players to appear in mainstream magazines, and caused quite a storm among fans.
As you can probably guess from this cheeky image, the issue was incredibly popular. She never really achieved incredible success in grand slams, only ever getting as far as the third round of the Australian Open and the French Open, but she managed to bank over a million dollars in prize money. She is now happily married with two children and commentates on the sport for the Tennis Channel.
12 Elena Dementieva (Russia)
Elena Dementieva retired from tennis in 2010, but remains one of the most beautiful Russian players to ever grace the professional courts. At her prime, she ranked as high as number 4 in the world rankings. Her stunning beauty has seen her appear in some of the world’s most famous glamour magazines, such as Vogue.
Elena reached the final of the 2004 US Open and 2004 French Open, but sadly never managed to take home a Grand Slam trophy. Her greatest achievement was winning the gold medal for Russia in women’s singles at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. She banked around $15 million in prize money throughout her lengthy career. As well as her impressive skills on the court, Dementieva’s long legs and locks of beautiful blonde hair must have won a fair few male admirers throughout her career.
11 Serena Williams (United States)
Serena Williams is arguably the greatest female tennis player of all time. She has been ranked as world No.1 on eight separate occasions and has won an incredible 23 Grand Slam titles. She has built one of the most impressive bodies in sporting history, as you can see in this stunning picture. Serena won the U.S Open, her first Grand Slam title, in 1999. In 2012, she won Wimbledon for the first time beating her sister Venus in the final. Incredibly, she didn’t drop a set for the entire tournament. Winning Grand Slams soon became a regular habit for her.
In an interview during Wimbledon 2017, Serena said she was sick of being asked if she considers herself the greatest female athlete of our time. She said she preferred being called ‘one of the’ greatest female athletes of all time. These pictures prove she’s one of the sexiest athletes of all time too.
10 Anna Chakvetadze (Russia)
Anna retired from the women’s game in 2013, following a persistent back injury. Her game peaked in 2007, when she reached the semi-finals of the US Open as well as the quarter-finals of the 2007 Australian Open and the French Open. Four of her eight career singles titles also occurred in 2007.
Born in Moscow, Anna’s youthful looks and tremendous forehand made her a joy to watch wherever she competed. This picture demonstrates her alluring eyes, gorgeous body, as well as her passion for the game. Even after being forced to retire relatively early, she still managed to pick up almost $4 million worth of prize money. In December 2011, Anna stood for election in the Russian State Duma for the Right Cause party, but was not elected. She currently shares her professional insights on the game as a commentator for Eurosport.
9 Jennifer Capriati (United States)
Jennifer Capriati is a former world no.1 who played her first professional match at the age of just 13, reaching the final of a hard-court tournament in Boca Raton, Florida. It was clear from that moment that she would grow to be a world-class talent. She was arguably the greatest wonderkid in any sport - and even graced the cover of Sports Illustrated at that tender age.
Despite being thrust into fame in the middle of adolescence, Capriati maintained a level head throughout her career. She went on to win back-to-back Australian Opens in 2001 and 2002. She also claimed the French Open title in 2001. She was a mainstay in the top 10, until injuries started to slow and ultimately end her career in 2004. At 41 years old, Capriati is still glamour personified. Even in this mid-game photo, she oozes sex appeal.
8 Maria Kirilenko (Russia)
Maria is a gorgeous blonde who was born in Moscow. She’s posed for a number of glamour magazines, such as Vogue and Sports Illustrated. These images illustrated the unique fashion sense and beauty that has undoubtedly turned heads outside the court.
In June 2013, Kirilenko reached her career high ranking of world No. 10. She has reached the quarter final of a grand slam tournament on three occasions. Her greatest achievement was winning a bronze medal at the 2012 Olympic Games. This alluring beach photo shows exactly why she’s won so many male fans across the globe. She has taken an indefinite break from tennis since January 2015. During this month, Maria married Alexei Stepanov, the head of the Committee of Public Services in Moscow. She gave birth to her first child in July 2015.
7 Chris Evert (United States)
This image provides a blast from the past. Chris Evert was arguably the first ‘glamour girl’ from the world of professional tennis. She was a highly successful player too, managing to pick up 18 Grand Slam singles championships.
As well as her success on the court, Evert’s kinky haircuts, short skirts and skimpy tops always caught the attention of fans and the media. Her romance with Jimmy Connors also made people stand up and take notice of her outside of the court. Many of today’s professionals list Evert among the people who inspired them to get into the game. She launched her own line of tennis apparel in 2015, and now operates a tennis academy bearing her name in Boca Raton, Florida. She’s has been married twice, to downhill skier Andy Mill and golfer Greg Norman, and has three children.
6 Anna Kournikova (Russia)
Anna Kournikova is a retired tennis player. She is arguably better known for her incredible beauty than her brilliant tennis skills. Ever since debuting at the 1996 US Open at the tender age of 15, fans quickly noticed her beauty. Soon after, pictures of her appeared in many glamour magazines across the world. During her early years, stadiums would fill with spectators who would continue to cheer her on despite her poor form. She managed to win the Australian Open as a doubles player in 1999 and 2002, and was ranked as a world number one doubles player in 1999.
As a singles player, the Russian beauty ranked as high as number 8 at her peak, and she did manage to appear in the semi-finals at Wimbledon in 1997. However, she is probably best-known for dating pop star Enrique Inglesias. She even appeared in the video for his hit single ‘Escape’.
5 Madison Keys (United States)
Keys’ passion for tennis started at a young age while she was growing up in the Quad Cities. She first became interested in the sport because she liked Venus Williams' white tennis dress, according to a video interview she conducted in 2011. Who’d have thought she’d grow to be one of the most talented, entertaining American tennis players in the modern game?
Her consistency on the court and her glamorous style, detailed by this beautiful picture, have made her a favourite among the fans. When Keys faced Sloane Stephens in the 2017 US Open final, they became the first Americans other than the Williams sisters to contest a Grand Slam final since 2005. As the Williams sisters reach their later years, it’s time for the likes of Keys to fly the flag for America on the tennis court. The future is certainly bright for the 22-year-old.
4 Vera Zvonareva (Russia)
Vera Zvonareva has been a natural with the tennis racket ever since first picking one up at the age of six. Her radiant dimpled smile on the court shows her passion for the game and makes her face glow with beauty. She reached the final of Wimbledon and the US Open in 2010, but is yet to take home a single title from a grand slam tournament. She also won a bronze medal for Russia from the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
She returned to the court in 2017 after a two-year hiatus, during which time she was married and had her first child. In the world rankings, she currently sits just inside the world’s top 200. She reached the second qualifying round of the US Open only, but will be hoping to be back to her best in 2018. Fans will look forward to seeing her, due to both her skills and her incredible beauty.
3 Eugenie Bouchard (Canada)
The beautiful slender 23-year-old Canadian superstar Eugenie Bouchard is arguably one of the sexiest performers currently on the professional scene. She regularly posts sexy pictures to her 1.5 million Instagram followers, and has been involved a fair few risque magazine shoots too. Bouchard showed signs of being the next big thing on the court as well, having reached the final of Wimbledon, and the semi-finals of both the French Open and the Australian Open in 2014.
She’s struggled for form since then though, currently sitting outside the top 100 in the world rankings. She also ruffled a few feathers by publicly calling Maria Sharapova a cheater earlier this year. Still, if this image is anything to go by, there’ll be a lot of male fans hoping she can make it in the latter stages of tournaments more often next year.
2 Nadia Petrova (Russia)
Born in Moscow, Nadia Petrova and was well-known for her beautiful feminine looks as well as her aggressive playing style on the court. Both of her parents were successful athletes. Her father Viktor was a leading hammer thrower, while mother Nadezhda was an Olympic bronze medal winning sprinter. She won the medal at the 400m relay in the Montreal games in 1976. It’s perhaps little wonder she grew up to be so successful in her chosen sport.
In singles, she reached a career-high ranking of world no. 3 in May 2006, and reached the semifinals of the French Open in 2003 and 2005. She paired with fellow gorgeous Russian Maria Kirilenko to win the bronze medal in the women's doubles at the 2012 London Olympics. She announced retirement from professional tennis in January 2017 aged 34.
1 Monica Seles (United States)
Monica Seles was born in Yugoslavia, but became a U.S citizen in 2004. She helped the United States win three Fed Cups and won nine grand slam titles, including the French Open at age 16. In 1991, she also became the youngest ever player to reach no.1 in the world rankings. In the next year, she won all four Grand Slam titles. She was undoubtedly one of the sexiest females in the WTA in the early 90s too.
Shockingly, Seles was stabbed in the back during a match in 1993. She didn’t make a professional appearance for two years afterwards, and couldn’t manage to maintain her incredible form upon her return. Regarded by many as one of the greatest players of all time, she played her last professional match at the 2003 French Open, but did not officially retire until February 2008.