Australian Open 2012: Maria Sharapova and 10 Women We're Dying to See
With the tennis season quickly approaching, heated competition is right around the corner. Rackets will be swinging and tennis balls will be flying around the court at speeds over 100 MPH.
Of course, when guys view the ladies of the WTA play, most of them will find an entirely other reason to watch. Let's be honest—tennis has some of the world's most beautiful women involved in what is already an excellent sport to watch.
Naturally, Maria Sharapova is one of those faces known worldwide, whether tennis is popular or not. After bursting onto the scene years ago, she began making commercials and photo shoots at a rapid pace.
So, when we think about the women we all can't wait to see, both in terms of play and beauty, here are the top ten.
10. Serena Williams
I have to be honest, Serena makes an appearance on this mostly because I feel obligated to put her on here. Quite a lot of guys find her to be rather irresistible, but I can't say I'm in full agreement. That's not to put the "ugly" mark on her by any stretch, but the muscles are a bit much for me.
Still, that's what usually is one of her attracting points! Plus, you know—she's had quite an illustrious career since her pro debut in 1998.
She's won 13 grand slams, including the last two Australian Opens that she's played in. It must be noted that Williams missed the 2011 Aussie Open. That said, she did win in 2009 and 2010.
The younger of the Williams sisters still has some gas left in the tank and a lot of eyes will certainly be watching to see if she can make one last run towards a grand slam.
9. Victoria Azarenka
Victoria Azarenka has been one of the lesser known names in the tennis world, mostly due to some of the women that will follow on this list.
However, Azarenka is the third-ranked woman in the tennis world and is on the verge of breaking out. She had a quarterfinal finish last year at the French Open and a semifinal appearance at Wimbledon, hinting that she's this close to her first grand slam.
If you want any sort of hint to her beauty, take a look at her pictures from FHM—she looks amazing.
8. Flavia Pennetta
Flavia Pennetta is one of the more rare finds in the WTA—she's ranked in the top 20 in the singles world, but is a top ten team in doubles. She's had substantially more success as a doubles competitor.
One of the more attractive things about Pennetta is that she seems to have some sort of innocence to her beauty. Looking at the photo, she just has the look of a small town girl you wouldn't mind bringing home to your folks.
That aside, Pennetta has never won a grand slam, and that comes after a nearly 10-year career. The door is beginning to close on the 29-year old from Italy.
She shows a lot of talent with the racket but a lot of her struggles have come in terms of her speed. That's what makes her a better doubles competitor—she's got help covering the court.
7. Sabine Lisicki
As one of the younger women going to the Australian Open, Sabine Lisicki is a potential dark horse to win the tournament.
She certainly seemed poised to breakout during the 2011 edition of Wimbledon, where she made it to the semi-final round. Lisicki has a very impressive backhand and serve. When her game is on, the young German can have one of the more accurate shots in the game.
Her problem has always been the forehand, where she tends to commit a lot of her errors.
Lisicki will enter the tournament as the 15th seed and she awaits for a qualifier to determine her first round opponent. No matter who it is, I can't wait to see the gorgeous Lisicki take the court and begin what could be an improbable run towards an Aussie Open championship.
6. Daniela Hantuchova
The 21st-ranked player in the world, Daniela Hantuchova is one of the names that isn't quite so known. Her biggest claim to fame most likely lies within her appearance in a swimsuit edition of Sports Illustrated.
Unfortunately, her personal beauty far outweighs her record in grand slam tournaments. Her first pro tournament was in 2001. A grand slam title is still not on her resume.
The Australian Open has been where she's seen the majority of her already minimal success, so maybe this is the year that she will finally turn things around. There's no doubt that there's potential for Hantuchova but most people aren't putting confidence in that.
Either way, she'll be one of the more sought out sights in Melbourne.
5. Jelena Jankovic
Jelena Jankovic has long been one of the most sought after women in the world of tennis. I mean—look at the picture, it's got to be understood just by that.
Jankovic, since making her pro debut in 2003, has had quite a career as her wins far outweigh her losses. Unfortunately, she's fallen short of a grand slam. In fact, her only appearance in a championship game was the 2008 U.S. Open.
Historically, Jankovic's powerful shot hasn't been great for her at the Australian Open. Her best finish in Melbourne is making it to the semi-final round in 2008. Actually, it's worth noting that since 2008, where Jankovic made the semi-finals of the Aussie Open and French Open and the finals of the U.S. Open, she's only made it past the fourth round of a grand slam once.
With time potentially running out for the Serbian beauty there will be quite an audience tuning in to check out her first match.
4. Caroline Wozniacki
The world's top-ranked lady is certainly going to be playing under severe pressure over the coming weeks throughout the Australian Open. That top seed has been coming under fire recently, seeing as Wozniacki has not won a grand slam in her career.
Straight from Denmark, the gorgeous 21-year old has more passion for the sport than most women. She wears her heart on her sleeve during her matches and that just makes her even more attractive. I always love to see a woman who enjoys winning and hates losing!
Wozniacki's game is going to have to improve, however. She recently lost in the Sydney International, which does not bode well for her in the Australian Open. In fact, her appearance itself is in doubt after suffering a wrist injury.
From a personal standpoint, I'll be pulling for the beautiful Wozniacki in Melbourne (hey, she's only a month older than me!).
3. Maria Kirilenko
Russian bombshell Maria Kirilenko has been one of the most gorgeous faces on the WTA for years. She debuted as a pro back when she was only 17, and though her tennis career hasn't really taken off, her modeling career certainly has.
She's got a beautiful face, long blonde hair and one of the most desired bodies in the world.
Past that, her on-court performances haven't quite measured up to her success off of it. Since debuting in the 2003 U.S. Open, she's made it to the quarterfinals only once—that one time was in the 2010 Australian Open.
Like Flavia Pennetta, Kirilenko has a better tennis name on the doubles courts. Despite never having won a grand slam as a double, she's reached the quarterfinals and onward numerous times.
Still, as the 28th-ranked singles player in the world, guys worldwide will be watching intently as the beautiful Maria Kirilenko takes the court on Monday.
2. Maria Sharapova
The Russian bombshell is without a doubt one of the most beautiful women walking this earth, and she's got plenty of tennis skill to go along with it.
Sharapova will come into the tournament as the fourth-ranked player in the world. She's looking to win her first grand slam title since the 2008 Australian Open.
One of the best things about watching her play is how she uses her height to get around the court quicker. Naturally, one of the most irresistible things about Sharapova is her long legs, but they are also one of her greatest assets.
Her opening matchup against Gisela Dulko is approaching and it will be one of the more popular first round games.
1. Ana Ivanovic
Coming in as the top woman we're all dying to see, Ana Ivanovic has quickly become tennis' primetime bombshell.
She's got a gorgeous face, tight body, and stands over six feet tall—quite the beautiful arsenal. In fact, if you Google her, most of what you're going to see will be articles or photos of her incredible Sports Illustrated Swimsuit appearance.
However, when it comes to the courts, Ivanovic has had a rough go over the last few years. Her last (and only) grand slam win came in the 2008 French Open. Since that time, she has not been able to get even to the quarterfinals of any such tournament.
Since late 2008 she's been very error-prone and seems to have a lost a step since devoting some time to modeling.
Hey, win or lose, we guys can't wait to see the Serbian beauty play her first match on Monday against Lourdes Dominguez Lino.