The All England Rack-it Club
Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others
Martinez Sanchez: Top Heavy Topspin
Caroline Wozniacki's Big Sweet Spot
After a week of watching the great tennis on display at this year's Wimbledon championships in London, I've noticed two most unusual sights at the All England Club: breasts.
I noticed them on the 25-year-old world No. 101-ranked Spaniard Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez and "Sweet Caroline" Wozniacki, the 17-year-old Danish Lolita-wunderkid and 2006 Wimbledon Juniors champ with the Polish name and polished game who's already attained a WTA world ranking of No. 30 (and this just two weeks away from her 18th birthday!). And, like Morrissey, I could not help but notice that "Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others." They simply stood out like, well, breasts. Needless to say, I am smitten with this year's models of grace and beauty at Wimbledon; I have discovered new obscure objects of desire, ones whose careers I must now follow dutifully.
Nordic Lolita Wozniacki
Barcelona Babe Martinez Sanchez
What's unusual about about this occurence is that with the obvious exception of Serena Williams, Poland's No. 65-ranked Marta Domachowska, India's No. 32-ranked Sania Mirza and the Czech Republic's No. 22-ranked Nicole Vaidisova, sizeable breasts are few-and-far-between on the bodies of today's long, tall and mostly flat-chested athletes whose games are build for aerodynamic speed, not comfort.
Warsaw Packed: Marta Domachowska
Nicole Vaidosova's Rack-and-Pinion Design
Sania Mirza is known for her big toss
Fact is, big breasts tend to be a hindrance to female athletes - other than world No. 6 Serena, none of the top-heavy C- and D-cup players have attained Top 10 A-list status. If you don't believe me, check out this MSNBC report, "Exercise unleashes a bounce bras can't handle," which suggests that the bigger a woman's breasts are, the more pain and discomfort she's likely to experience during physical activities.
Feel her pain: Woz struggles to keep her form under wraps
The study cites the fact that because breasts tend to bounce up and down a distance of up to eight inches during "physical activity" (and tennis is pretty damned physical!), and with some breasts weighing 20 pounds or more (a pair of D-cups weighs roughly 15 to 23 pounds), more bounce-to-the-ounce can prove painful and damaging to the limited natural support system.
More ounces mean more bounces
Case in point...In days of lore, I remember marveling at how French star Sandrine Testud (pictured right) kept her massive breasts from getting in her way enroute to her No. 9 world ranking in 2001. They seemed to get even bigger after she had a child in 2002. And I think they held her back from ever going further than the quarterfinals at Grand Slam events (1997 QF at U.S. Open and 1998 QF at the Australian Open) and achieving more than her three singles and four doubles titles on the WTA tour.
And then there's the case of India's Sania Mirza who, on top of having to keep her bosoms under wraps to maximize her on-court play, has to deal with the moral concerns of Muslim groups in her native India. Mirza has been chastised by Muslim groups that claim her attire - wearing a sleeveless top and a mini-skirt during matches - degrades Islam. (She's even had to cancel doubles matches with her good friend Shahar Pe'er because Pe'er is an Israeli - and that incenses Islamic groups as well!)
Muslim groups approved Mirza's "Active Wear Hajib" ensemble for outdoor play
Woz and M.J.
But I digress...
In all seriousness, what truly attracts me to Caroline Wozniacki and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez is their play. The long-legged, long-named 5-9 1/2, 150-pound Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez - sorry, I just gotta call her M. J. from now on as my fingers are getting tired from all that typing - delighted me with her serve-and-volley game in her loss to Venus Williams. What touch, what volleys at the net! The serve out wide, the rush to the net and the perfect cross-court put-away volley: pure, beautiful geometry at work! Sure, she got passed, but this was against the early-hitting Venus Williams who, on grass, is pretty unbeatable. No wonder Venus has four Wimbledon titles in six finals appearances there.
And the 5-10, 128-pound Caroline Wozniacki took a set off Jelena Jokovic before her inexperience kicked in, losing 2-6, 6-4, 6-4. Wozniacki used deep groundstrokes to take the first set, but seemed to lose steam after blowing two break chances at 3-4 in the second set. Still, she was right in the match in the third set, forcing an injured Jankovic (hyper-extended knee) into a host of errors before succumbing 6-4. Obviously her game, like her physique, is still developing.
In short, these two attractive, well-built players are ones to look out for - especially Wozniacki, a bust-out talent whose power is right on par with today's heavy hitting, baseline-hugging players.
Eurocentric Sexist Disclaimer: In light of former pro and current Tennis Channel commentator Justin Gimelstob's oafish, egregious and sexist comments on the Washington, D.C. morning radio show "The Junkies" about female tennis players in general - and Anna Kournikova in particular - I hope my comments about breasts don't come off in any way as sexist or chauvinist. I'm a fan of women and tennis and merely a courtside observer of breasts.