Yesterday, it was revealed that 27 year old Polish tennis player Marta Domachowska posed nude for the Poland’s version of Playboy. The once 37th ranked women’s tennis player has her photo on the cover and a feature in the magazine. The issue is due to be released in a few days.
While it’s still rare to see tennis players gracing the centerfold, this isn’t the first time one has appeared in the famous men’s magazine. Vanessa Menga posed for Playboy Brazil back in 2001, although most of the tennis community seems to have forgotten. More recently in 2008, American Ashley Harkleroad became well-known for her full-frontal photo spread in the U.S. August edition. Prior to that Harkleroad was known for wearing a “racy” outfit as a junior at the 2001 US Open, which drew comparisons to tennis sex-symbol Anna Kournikova (although, truth be told, there’s really no comparison.) Kournikova herself has never modeled for the magazine, but there are some nude pictures of her floating around the Internet if one is inclined to look. You may also be able to find some paparazzi pics of Steffi Graf sunbathing and unauthorized shots of 2004 French Open winner Anastasia Myskina leaked by a shady photographer.
Harkleroad’s Playboy debut came shortly after American swimmer Amanda Beard’s issue was released in 2007. Harkleroad seemed proud of the risqué photo spread, stating in an interview that she revealed much more of her body than Beard did in Playboy. Of the tennis players who have chosen to be photographed naked, none seemed particularly self-conscious about it.
Another tennis player who posed for Playboy was Karolina Jovanovic, who appeared on the cover of a 2010 Serbian edition of the magazine. Unlike the other tennis cover girls, who are somewhat covered-up, the Serb appears completely topless. She stares brazenly at the camera, in an unusual recumbent pose almost reminiscent of Mantegna’s The Dead Christ. I’ll let you look it up, but it definitely makes one do a double take.
Curiously, unlike the infamous Sports Illustrated jinx, appearing in Playboy seems to have little to no effect on these players’ tennis careers. Then again, maybe its because neither Menga, Jovanovic or Harkleroad had achieved that much success to begin with.
But, contrary to what one might think, nudity isn’t just something obscure players indulge in – turns out the top players like it too! Daniella Hantuchova, Vera Zevonra and Serena Williams (all ranked within the top five at one point or another) have had their photos in ESPN: The Magazine‘s annual body issue. Former number one Ana Ivanovic even posted nude pics to her own website after turning 18. On the male side of the tour, Fernando Verdasco and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga have posed nude in Cosmo as part of a male cancer awareness campaign.