Wed Sep 28 11:09am EDT
Vera Zvonareva is among 20 athletes who will pose nude or semi-nude for the upcoming ESPN The Magazine "Body Issue."
The athlete pictures are given a theme ("Bodies We Want") to make it seem more legitimate than just easy titillation. They will appear in the third annual issue, due to hit newsstands Oct. 7.
Can I be as superficial as possible? Cool, thanks. Because many of my friends and family don't follow tennis (and only act like they follow this blog), they aren't familiar with players who don't get as much publicity as the Serenas and Sharapovas of the world. When they see them on TV, there are inevitable comments made about each and seem to hear every time someone is introduced to a new player. "She's tall." (Kvitova.) "She's loud." (Azarenka.) And about Zvonareva: "She's gorgeous."
They rarely say this during matches but always do when Vera is shown off the court in interviews or at WTA events. My theory is that Vera's on-court look, with the visor and the hair pulled up tight in a bun, plus the less-than-flattering K-Swiss kits, hide her good looks and make her less marketable.
All of which is a long way of saying that posing for ESPN will be a good thing for Vera's personal brand. She doesn't have much presence in the United States despite her lofty ranking and marketable looks.