Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue came out this week. Israeli model Bar Refaeli, Leonardo’s DiCaprio’s girlfriend, garnered the coveted cover spot, but tennis fans will be happy to know the issue features three WTA tour players, France's Tatiana Golovin, Slovakia's Daniela Hantuchova, and Russia's Maria Kirilenko.
Links to Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Photos
This is not the first time tennis players have posed for SI’s most popular issue, which has been produced annually since 1964. Steffi Graf started the trend in 1997 (she was also photographed by Iooss). In 2003 and 2004, Serena Williams appeared. Also in that 2003 issue was Tommy Haas, who posed with his then-girlfriend, German model Sandy Meyer Woelden (who you might recall, was engaged to Boris Becker for a short time last year).
Anna Kournikova posed for the 2004 issue. And, not to be outdone by little sister, Venus Williams vamped it up in the 2005 issue. The last player to appear was Maria Sharapova, who was in the 2006 issue.
The Inside Scoop
Darcie Baum, assistant editor of the issue and coordinator of the shoot with Golovin, Hantuchova, and Kirilenko, says the days were long, with the players starting with makeup at 4:30 a.m. Then they shot from 6:30 a.m. till sundown, which was around 6:30 p.m.
Baum says the players were a little nervous having to pose with a crew of 15 people staring at them. “The hotel staff would come and visit as well,” she says. “But after the first morning, they fell into place and felt comfortable. If they didn’t want to do something, they didn’t have to do it.”
So who was the best model? Baum liked Golovin. “Personality-wise, she was just a lot of fun. She was like, ‘You want me to hang upside down? Sure. Take my top off? Sure.’” Kirilenko was the most modest, probably because her mother, Olga, was watching the whole time.
What most surprised Baum was the lack of competition from the tennis players. “When we shot them together, they were so professional and respectful of each other. And so disciplined, probably because they’re athletes. It wasn’t about getting in front of each other. There was just no competition.”