Backhands and Compliments – WTA Edition

Step aside Maria!

Bellissima! That’s what Lea Pericoli exclaimed as she waited for Maria Sharapova to accept her Italian Open trophy yesterday in Rome. Pericoli practically pushed Samantha Stosur off the stand to make room for Maria. And the rest of the old dudes waiting on the stand, their tongues hanging out, insisted Maria give them some loving, too. Ah, Italy. Is there a better city for the WTA to release a “Strong is Beautiful” campaign than the chauvinistic hyper sexed country that celebrates beauty over anything else?

OK, strong can be beautiful, but being bellissima is better. I just wonder if somewhere Nathalie Tauziat was throwing her copy of Les Dessous du tennis feminine at her television screen. Oh, Nathalie, don’t you know sex sells?

In case you missed it, the WTA did release their new “Strong is Beautiful” campaign last week and The Baumer and I both remarked about the absence of Maria from that campaign that featured 30 players from the WTA. Maria was also absent from The New York Times fashion story that inspired the campaign which was called “Women Who Hit Very Hard.” Maybe they figured Maria had already done her version of pretty. Remember this?

About the campaign. The WTA finally copied something worthwhile here. After the James Bond inspired “Hero” campaign and the recently released Charlie’s Angels nuttiness with some of the younger players, taking a New York Times fashion story from last year is a much better choice. Still, the sugar and spice thing is a bit tired.

I mean, we get it. And, we’ve seen it before about a million times. Here is one example.

Personally, if I were to do a campaign for the WTA, I’d go with a amazing female photographer/videographer on either end of the natural/fantasy spectrum.  Two people come to mind immediately. Alex Prager is about the hottest photographer out there these days and could really max out the fantasy element and make the players into something really cool (

Or, why not Cass Bird? I used her once to shoot Svetlana Kuznetsova and it was really successful. Here’s a recent video she shot for the clothing company Sophomore. Can’t you just imagine a bunch of the women sitting around a hotel before a match and playing truth or dare? Now that would be fun.

But back to Rome! How great that Maria is playing well again? Sheesh. Just in time. And with Nole on a streak, let’s revisit that brief but wonderful time when the two of them were the talk of the town.

Hot stuff

While it’s fantastic about Maria, I cannot believe she still hasn’t figured out how to give a press conference or a victory speech. I normally hate it when attractive people insist they are a dork but I have to say in Maria’s case it is really true. Her comedic timing is as awkward as her net game but I suppose that’s part of her charm. Anyhow, who cares? She was smart enough to avoid making a statement about Victoria Azarenka’s F’ing Bitch comment, though I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when she discussed that with Sasha.

Anyone else excited about Paris?

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