Tennis has given sports fans some of the greatest athletes of all-time. The list is lengthier than you'd think. Some of today's stars, including Roger Federer and Serena Williams, are amongst sport's most iconic figures, and thus ends my teaser around the "G.O.A.Ts of Tennis".
Many of the sporting world's hottest female participants carry a racquet and win at love more than most. The WTA Tour, apart from producing some of the greatest tennis your eyes could take in, is home to many of the universe's finer creations.
Ok, enough beating around the bush... Female tennis players are absolutely gorgeous. All of them (well, most of them). As beautiful as the likes of Genie Bouchard, Sabine Lisicki, and even Anna Kournikova (again, I guess she's a tennis player) can look while they chase and hit balls, they can look equally awkward. All it takes is a split second, in the heat of fierce competition of the highest level, to produce a laughably embarrassing and (or) head-scratching Kodak moment. These photographers may be professionals, but you have to wonder how they can manage to make such beautiful athletes look so bad so often!
Here is the tennis edition of "15 times a camera was a female tennis player's worst nightmare"
15 Simona Halep
Why not start right at the top of the mountain? Halep currently holds the No.1 ranking on the WTA Tour. Though she has yet to win a Grand Slam tournament, Halep routinely goes deep in every tournament she plays, racking up ranking points in the process. She does have two runner-up finishes at the French Open after all. Still, with 15 WTA victories under her belt, Halep figures to eventually break through to win her first major tournament sooner rather than later. Perhaps as soon as this upcoming season.
Halep, of Romanian descent, is oddly attractive (and I say that with the utmost respect). At only 26 years young, the Romanian figures to be a top-tier player on the Women’s Tour for years to come…and that’s great news for tennis fans! Known for her on-court determination and competitiveness, sometimes the camera captures Simona in her not so finest moments.
14 Sloane Stephens
Stephens ended her 2017 season in storybook fashion. Entering the US Open with a protected-ranking, coming off surgery in January. Stephens went on to win an All-American final between her and close friend Madison Keys. When the day finally comes for Serena to call it a career, it will be up to the likes of Stephens, Keys, and Vandeweghe to carry the torch for women’s tennis in the US. That being said, I’m still unsure if Serena (or Venus) will ever retire. They may play until 50.
Powerful and purposeful in her dealings on-court, Sloane Stephens boasts a smile capable of lighting up any room she enters. Despite her stunning features, Stephens has been known to display some different looking expressions while cracking forehands and painting lines. Don’t worry Sloane, the ball isn’t going to jump up and bite you!
13 Ana Ivanovic
Almost 10 years have passed since Ivanovic sat atop the WTA rankings. It’s a reign easily forgotten, given its duration. Ivanovic always struggled with her consistency and ability to handle the big points, ultimately limiting her to only one grand slam title. Despite the semi-permanent lapses in play, it was a rare feat to catch the Serbian-born bombshell not looking like a perfect 10. Ivanovic herself was quite animated when she played, and at times, the camera would catch her in her not-so-beautiful moments; such as the one above. Having retired one year ago (almost to the day), she recently announced her and husband Bastian Schweinsteiger are expecting their first child. Schweinsteiger plays for the Chicago Fire of the MLS. Adam Scott is a way better lookin’ dude than him! I got no idea what Ivanovic is thinking here.
12 Eugenie Bouchard
Canada’s sweetheart (seemingly overnight) went from being tabbed as the next big thing in women’s tennis, to being nothing more than a bust. Now, Bouchard is known more for taking selfies and losing Super Bowl Twitter bets than she is for her tennis success’ --- which today, amount to nothing more than routine cameo appearances in tournaments. Despite all that, Bouchard continues to be a social media darling and marketer’s dream. She is young, beautiful, and strikes a mean duck face! When Bouchard’s not ‘losing pretty’, her love life has long been a topic of interest. A final note, Bouchard is presently suing the USTA, stemming from a fall she had a few years back at the US Open. While walking after hours in the physical therapy room, Bouchard slipped on a wet surface, hitting her head in the process. She would be forced to withdraw from the tournament and was diagnosed with a concussion.
11 Caroline Wozniacki
Looking like she just lost her tennis ball version of Wilson, Wozniacki has produced quite a few forgetful still frames. For reasons similar to other top female tennis players, Wozniacki’s emotions can show through in her game and that can produce some colourful still frames. However, when the Danish star is on her game, both on and off the court, she is a sight for sore eyes. Having posed for Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit 2017, Wozniacki is laying the foundation for a post-tennis modelling career perhaps? Recently engaged to retired NBA player David Lee, Caroline has moved on happily from the Rory McIlroy tragedy. All signs point to her enjoying life in (as well as away) from tennis. Coming into the upcoming season ranked 3rd on tour, Wozniacki appears poised to once and for all hoist a major trophy in 2018.
10 Anna Kournikova
Cameras tried for years to catch the female Russian Rocket in her most unfortunate moments. However, Anna Kournikova is so beautiful, that spotting her, even for a moment, looking anything other than perfect was a near impossible venture. Never one to treat tennis fans to an unflattering grunt or grimace, Kournikova always looked like the prototypical blonde princess when she played. It’s no secret her ‘fan base’ were more interested in watching her during changeovers than they were in watching her actually play. Despite her lack of success as a tennis player, Kournikova had major impacts on pop culture during her time in the spotlight. A video game named after her, a ‘White Russian’ drink made with skim milk is known in some circles as an Anna Kournikova. She continues to sit atop many men’s ‘wishlists’ this holiday season.
9 Jelena Ostepenko
Ostepenko, fresh off turning 20, shocked the tennis world when she bested Simona Halep in the finals of the 2017 French Open. The victory made her the first Latvian born player to win a Grand Slam tournament, along with the first unseeded player to win the tournament since 1993. Possessing extremely powerful groundstrokes, she is able to run her opponents all over the court before putting away finishing shots that leave a trail of dust with each bounce. During her Cinderella run at Roland Garros, the tennis world fell in love with her play and infectious smile. At times, her intensity resulted in some hilariously funny expressions on the part of Ostapenko. Despite the odd occupational hazard, Ostapenko shouldn’t think about changing anything heading into 2018. More major victories likely await her. Get those cameras ready everyone!
8 Madison Keys
Keys had her magical US Open run ended by her best friend. Imagine your best friend being the main reason you got shut out of a seven-figure payday! Despite that, Keys and friend Sloane Stephens remain very close, actually treating fans to one of the more humorous post-match ceremonies at the 2017 US Open. At one point, Keys offered to ‘take & hold’ the first-place paycheque for Stephens, who was busy hoisting the trophy and without a free hand. It was a welcomed reminder to everybody about the importance of sportsmanship, even at the highest level of competition. Following the defeat, Madison had every excuse to pout and cry, giving cameras an entire ceremony’s worth of embarrassing photos. Instead, she stood there and embraced defeat with a level of class we all wish more exuded in times of defeat. Well done.
7 CoCo Vandeweghe
Moving from a player known for her classiness and sportsmanship, to one more known for her intolerance of practically anything and everything on-court… Coco Vandeweghe. Preferring to go by ‘CoCo’ vs. her birth name Colleen (I mean, I get it), Vandeweghe rose to prominence in the last few years, making several deep runs in major tournaments. Though she has yet to crack the final of one, Vandeweghe has the game and pedigree to eventually breakthrough and take home some major hardware. A self-proclaimed California Girl, Vandeweghe is amongst the most animated players on either tour. When she’s rolling, Vandeweghe is a tough train to slow down, but one people on the track can cause a derailment of epic proportions and it’s in those moments where Vandeweghe is her most colourful. Presently the No.10 woman on tour (her highest career ranking), CoCo stands to benefit from favourable draws in 2018, which should help her finally find that elusive Grand Slam victory.
6 Petra Kvitova
Fans of Eugenie Bouchard may not have much nice to say about Kvitova. After all, she was the executioner that awaited Bouchard in the now infamous 2014 Wimbledon Final. A hyped match between a former winner (Kvitova) and a tour up and comer (Bouchard) took only 55 minutes to decide. Looking nervous and completely overmatched, Bouchard succumbed to a dominant Kvitova, losing 6-3, 6-0 in straight sets. More recently, in December 2016, Kvitova has at her home when her house was broken into. She suffered multiple lacerations and cuts to her left hand while trying to defend herself. She would miss several months as a result of the attack but would return in time for the 2017 French Open. One can only imagine her facial expression when she encountered a masked burglar standing in her foyer.
5 Serena Williams
Queen Serena has been ruling the WTA Tour for almost two decades. The younger Williams’ sister has amassed 23 Grand Slam singles titles, along with 14 more in women’s doubles (with sister Venus). You’d be hard-pressed to find an athlete more dominant over that same period. She even won the 2017 Australian Open while pregnant. Since then, she has given birth to her first child, and while she likely could continue adding to her trophy collection with perpetual regularity, you get the sense she is winding down her athletic career, looking to focus on life after tennis. Let’s all take a wild guess what her child may grow up to be?! All kidding aside, when she’s on the court, Serena can conjure up some of the most magical tennis imaginable. She’s also ordered an espresso mid-match. The things we do for Royalty!
4 Garbine Muguruza
The 24-year old Spaniard has two Grand Slam victories in the last two seasons and currently sits at #2 in the world, having held the #1 spot for a brief time in 2017. Muguruza is nice on the eyes, on the court, and off the court. Despite being one of tennis’ hottest young stars, Muguruza’s competitiveness can sometimes cause her to produce some unflattering facial expressions such as the one above. In the age of social media, any slip up is often captured and within seconds, is circulated on a global scale for all to see and judge. I don’t foresee that reality affecting Muguruza’s court demeanor moving forward, given the level of success it’s brought her up to this point.
3 Kateryna Kozlova
Kozlova is a lesser known on the Women’s Tour, coming into 2018 as the 71st ranked player. Her best major finish came at the 2017 US Open where she managed to make it to the second round. All other majors have seen her bow out in her first match. Despite her limited success to this point, Kozlova, 23, has the potential to ascend the rankings rapidly with one productive season. She’s got the looks (an unofficial pre-requisite for WTA success). Heading into 2018, Kozlova could come to be one of the surprises in the women’s game, and if so, we may see many tennis experts mimicking her above expression. In a Post Serena world, the top spot on the women’s side is anybody’s for the taking.
2 Maria Sharapova
If Serena is the Tour Queen, Sharapova is the princess who craves the crown. Despite her own successes and decorated career, Sharapova has long existed in the huge shadow cast by Serena. Maria Sharapova has won five major tournaments and finished 2nd in five others (losing 3 of those to Serena). She holds a career winning percentage of 81% (in majors), an astronomically high number. In any other era, Sharapova would almost certainly have twice as many wins on tour, but unfortunately, her career has paralleled that of the greatest female tennis player Earth has ever seen. In March 2016, Sharapova was suspended by WADA for using performance-enhancing drugs. Perhaps fed up with constantly falling short in her matches with Serena, she probably thought a few needles would make the difference between winning and losing. Upon her return from suspension, Sharapova would lose a match to Eugenie Bouchard. Clearly, Sharps is missing her ‘medicine’.
1 Victoria Azarenka
Azarenka is almost six years removed from her last stint as world no.1 (she now sits at #205, having fallen due to injury and a lack of play). Much like her picture would suggest, Azarenka has sh*t the bed of late while on the court, her last major final appearance coming back in 2013. Still relatively young for a tennis player (28), Azarenka appears finally healthy and ready to return to her top form. Unfortunately, a custody battle for her then 8-month old son forced her to withdraw from the 2017 US Open. Despite a fluctuating schedule and some off-court family distractions, tennis fans around the world have to hope Azarenka can get her game and family life in order, so she can get back to swinging and grunting her way to major trophies. I may be alone, but I’m just happy she finally ditched that clown from LMFAO. You better than that Vika!