The majority of professional athletes wear some type of standard team uniform; those competing on actual teams wear the required jersey or attire, and even those competing in more individual sports, like swimming, tend to wear very similar, standard outfits. Tennis is one of the few sports where stars can express their fashion sense a bit - and perhaps that's one of the reasons that so many female tennis stars' good looks are highlighted. Instead of wearing baggy jerseys, they're allowed to wear cute, form-fitting tanks, tennis skirts, and cheeky short shorts. The only thing that matters is that they're donning their sponsor's logo, if they're sponsored by any companies.
However, clothes aside, there's no denying that tennis has perhaps one of the highest densities of gorgeous female athletes. They're strong, they're fit, they come from all over the world, and they're beautiful. However, there's one thing that everyone knows about tennis - the professionals hit those tennis balls hard, and they play fast.
The result is an absolute thrill to watch on screen, or live if you're lucky enough, but there's one thing that most people forget until they see stills captured from the games - during all that aggressive, high intensity play, players can sometimes make faces that are ridiculous and hilarious. And no, we're not just talking about the already somewhat funny looking male professionals. We're talking about the gorgeous pros who, in their regular lives, look like they stepped out of the pages of a sportswear catalogue. No one is immune to the ridiculous tennis face - no one.
Here are just 20 examples of normally hot tennis stars making strange, ridiculous faces during the game. Hey, when you're absolutely focused on that ball and on snagging that win, you can't worry about what your face is doing, right? At least, that seems to be the case.
20 Ana Ivanovic
Serbian tennis player Ana Ivanovic is gorgeous, to say the least, and she’s won over $15 million in prize money over the course of her career – so, safe to say, she isn’t too bad on the court. However, even gorgeous players like Ivanovic can pull strange faces on the court. While many tennis players make funny faces during a particularly tough move, Ivanovic holds the distinction of making a strange face in between sets. We’re not totally sure what has disgusted her so much here, but it’s a rare strange photo of this supermodel-esque athlete.
19 Klara Koukalova
Klara Koukalova came onto the professional scene with a 2003 Grand Slam debut at the Australian Open and quickly began rising in the ranks, defeating renowned players like Maria Sharapova and Monica Seles. There’s no doubt that the Czech star is gorgeous – but when you’re in the middle of a tennis game, sometimes you’re so focused you forget what your face is doing. We’re not sure if Koukalova has just hit the ball or is eagerly anticipating it, but it’s definitely a strange expression.
18 Petra Kvitova
Czech player Petra Kvitova is only 26, but she turned pro back when she was only 16 – and she has won over 20 million in prizes since then. She’s currently at the top of her game, winning titles left and right, but you definitely wouldn’t guess that based on her facial expression here. Surely, someone who has won so many titles over the years, with so much experience in the pro tennis world, wouldn’t be puzzled by a mere tennis ball, right? At least you would think.
17 Eugenie Bouchard
Eugenie Bouchard has been setting the tennis world ablaze, because… well… she’s absolutely drop dead gorgeous. The French Canadian bombshell is a relative newcomer in the tennis world, and she’s had her fair share of ups and downs, but the entire world is fascinated by her every move – regardless of whether they care about tennis or not. However, even this blonde bombshell can pull strange faces every now and then. We’re not sure if she just hit the ball with too much force or what, but that face is a far cry from her usual sunny smile.
16 Victoria Azarenka
Belarusian tennis pro Victoria Azarenka has won over $28 million in prize money since turning pro about a decade ago and she remains in the top five in the world. At only 26, she still has plenty of time left in her career, provided she remains strong and healthy. However, despite her success, she still knows how to have fun on the court – just take this silly photo of Azarenka sticking her tongue out during a game as proof.
15 Anna Tatishvili
Georgian-American player Anna Tatishvili is a relatively low profile player in comparison to some of the women in the tennis world, but she’s remained a pro for over a decade. This picture proves that she takes her career seriously – that focus, that concentration, that gerbil face. We’re starting to think that, no matter how attractive you are when stationary, your face does some pretty strange things once you start slamming tennis balls with impressive force.
14 Alexandra Dulgheru
Romanian pro Alexandra Dulgheru has been a pro tennis player for quite awhile, but hasn’t yet achieved the level of notoriety that some of her female tennis pros have. However, this picture is definitely a memorable moment. Look, we get that darting around the court while putting all your strength behind your swing can result in some strange faces – but in this shot, Dulgheru just looks plain bewildered. It’s as if she momentarily forgot what on earth she was supposed to be doing on the court in the first place.
13 Ana Ivanovic
We included Ana Ivanovic twice because, quite frankly, she’s absolutely gorgeous in regular life. When she’s not on the court, she could easily fit in amongst a group of models, and in the time before games or between sets, she basically looks like she’s stepped out of a commercial for athletic wear. During the game, however, Ivanovic is just like any tennis star – prone to making strange faces as she strains and stretches to snag that ball.
12 Dominika Cibulkova
Slovakian tennis star Dominika Cibulkova is known for her fairly aggressive style of play – she’s not one to give up points or return a serve lightly. All that effort is gathered in her facial expressions, and her style of play means it’s easy to find silly shots of her taken in game. Juts take this one, for example – it appears that she’s just returned a shot, and by the looks of her face, it took quite a bit of effort.
11 Eugenie Bouchard
Eugenie Bouchard is basically this generation’s Anna Kournikova. She may not be the most legendary player amongst the female pros currently on the court, and she might not have the most wins under her belt, but if the whole tennis thing doesn’t work out, there’s no doubt she can have a successful career as an actress or model – just look at her! However, during games, even Bouchard is susceptible to the strange tennis faces – this shot in particular looks like she’s caught a whiff of something pungent on the court.
10 Laura Robson
At only 22, Laura Robson is one of the younger players in the game, having turned pro in only 2008. She may have earned a relatively small amount of prize money so far, but she’s definitely earned her fair share of fans – when she competed for Britain in the 2012 Olympic Games, the public went crazy over the brunette Brit bombshell. However, even she looks less than sexy when captured mid-hit – as this bizarre face demonstrates.
9 Maria Sharapova
Even if you know absolutely nothing about tennis, chances are you know who Maria Sharapova is – whether it’s because she’s absolutely gorgeous, because she’s incredibly skilled, or because she’s inked so many endorsement deals, Sharapova has transcended the tennis world and became a household name. I mean, this is a woman who first snagged the Number 1 designation when she was just 18 years old. She’s probably proud of all her accomplishments – although she’s lacking her usual poise in this mid-game snap.
8 Yaroslava Shvedova
Kazakhstani player Yaroslava Shvedova may not be a well-known name outside the tennis world, but she’s managed to craft a long career for herself, having turned pro all the way back in 2002. However, even the most experienced players can’t resist pulling strange forces mid-game when they’re ultra focused. In this shot, we’re not sure if the ball is coming towards her or if she’s not returned it. We’re not sure if she’s scared about it, or angry, or both. Whatever the case, this is definitely a unique face.
7 Arantxa Rus
Dutch player Arantxa Rus may not be the most highly ranked player, and she may have won less than a million in prize money thus far in her career, but there’s no denying that she’s gorgeous. Although, you’d have a hard time knowing that if you were judging her solely on this picture, where the muscles in her arms and face are straining with the effort of making that shot.
6 Ekaterina Makarova
When you’re a tennis pro from Russia, it’s hard to escape Maria Sharapova’s shadow, but Ekaterina Makarova has been doing a fair job since turning pro in 2004. The face captured in this shot, though, is not the face of a confident, seasoned pro – it’s the face of a nervous child learning tennis for the first time, worried that they’re going to get hit with the ball. It’s official – pretty much no one can look gorgeous and graceful mid-hit.
5 Alize Cornet
We’re not sure which photographer captured this shot of French tennis pro Alize Cornet, but we salute them. In real life, the 26 year old French player is absolutely gorgeous, channeling that French chic that women around the world strive to emulate. In this shot? We’re not sure why her hand is up, we’re not sure what’s going on with the facial expression, but it’s all pretty hilarious.
4 Bethanie Mattek-Sands
When it comes to tennis players, Americans tend to get a lot less love than they do in most sports – it’s a sport with players from around the world and many of the top pros tend to come from Europe. However, since turning pro all the way back in 1999, the petite dynamo Mattek-Sands has managed to craft a long and respectable career. Even after over 15 years on the court, though, she hasn’t learned how to pose for the cameras mid-game – in this shot, captured as she’s either about to hit the ball or has just hit the ball, while it looks like she’s a few seconds away from hurling.
3 Caroline Wozniacki
Caroline Wozniacki received a fair bit of attention in the press during her time dating pro golfer Rory McIlroy and she’s also earned a lot of fans thanks to her 2015 appearance in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. The Danish pro is basically the dictionary definition of a blonde bombshell, and since going pro about a decade ago, the 25-year-old has earned over $20 million in prize money. However, even the most gorgeous girls can be caught making ridiculous faces mid-game.
2 Daniela Hantuchova
In comparison with high-contact sports like football or rugby, tennis is relatively easy on the body. Sure, you need to be in peak physical condition, and it can have an impact on your joints, but you’re not getting 250 pound men slamming into you at full speed. However, you wouldn’t be able to tell that from this shot of Slovakian player Daniela Hantuchova – she looks like the mere movement of hitting the ball is causing her immense physical pain.
1 Lucie Safarova
Okay, admittedly, the eye make-up doesn’t really help the Czech player in this picture. Whoever the photographer was that captured this still, we commend him or her, because it’s pretty amazing – Safarova is pictured watching as the ball comes towards her, with her attention completely focused, her eyes wide. See the ball, feel the ball, be the ball, right.