Ashley Harkleroad Poses Nude in Playboy. We’re Still Waiting on Anna Kournikova, Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic.

If any of you wasted your time on the internets last week, you might have noticed the sensation arising around one Ashley Harkleroad , a professional tennis player. And if you’ve never heard of Ms. Harkleroad, that’s probably because she doesn’t make the finals of many tournaments. She’s currently ranked number 65 in the world, and her highest ever ranking was 39 in June of 2003.

So why is Ms. Harkleroad a big thing on the internets all of a sudden? Because most of us guy sports bloggers are horny bastards, and Ms. Harkleroad, who happens to be a bit of a cutie, is appearing in Playboy, and her nude photos hit the internets on Friday. So, you sick little bastards, here’s a link to the edited version of the photos – though they still might not be safe for viewing in your office. (And you probably want to make sure your pop-up blocker is turned on, and this sentence might seem pun-riffic, but we’re not kidding.)

But I got to thinking – which is always a dangerous thing. I don’t watch much tennis, but when I do, it seems like there is always a gorgeous woman playing, and often, two really gorgeous women are playing each other at the same time. And since I generally only watch when it’s the finals of a tournament, this means that Ashley Harkleroad is not playing. So, I ask: why isn’t Playboy trying to get one of these really attractive women to pose in something besides her tennis whites.

The most obvious choice, would, of course be Anna Kournikova. She’s done lots of photos wearing bikinis and she’s been in lots of magazines. But since her career is essentially over, she might not have a lot of time left in the limelight. This should make her a perfect candidate for the pages of Playboy.

If you don’t watch tennis, you probably won’t know the rest of these women, but if you watch the U.S. Open starting next month, then you will probably want to see more of these women, if you know what I mean.

The obvious first choice is Maria Sharapova – I bet you didn’t know she played tennis, did you? She’s currently the third-ranked player in the world, so there’s a good chance if you watch the Open that you’ll get to see her play several times. Hopefully, for enough cash, and I know Hef’s got lots of cash, she’ll be willing to let everyone see what’s covered by that red top.

Then there’s Serbian native Ana Ivanovic who’s currently the number-one ranked player and the current French Open champ. But of more importance, she’s the August cover girl for FHM magazine. So we know she likes to flaunt her looks. Once again, you’ll probably get to see lots of her in action at the U.S. Open, but you’ll probably want to see her in another kind of publication.

Then comes Jelena Jankovic, who is currently ranked number two in the world. She’s currently suffering from an injury, but if we’re lucky, she’ll play in the U.S. Open, and if we’re even luckier, she’ll change out of her underwear on live television.

This is just a small sample size of course. If her career keeps slumping, maybe Daniela Hantuchova will take the Ashley Harkleroad route. Or maybe Jelena Dokic. And the Williams sisters always like to try different things.

So after you give Ms. Harkleroad a good viewing, why not try taking a peek at the rest of the women on the tour. – John Royal


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