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The Iconic Maria Sharapova Swimsuit Photoshoot – Controversial Or Empowering?

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Maria Sharapova undies

Russian tennis sensation Maria Sharapova has to be one of the most attractive women in sports. However, this is also something that has been a point of many controversies in the past. The overt sexualization of the athlete has often crossed the border into misogyny and objectification.

Maria Sharapova

In fact, Maria’s first-round match at Wimbledon 2003 against Ashley Harkleroad was dubbed as “the battle of the babes”. The 16-year-old Maria also had to face the borderline grotesque questions of the reporters in the post-match presser.

However, another very contestable part of Maria’s life was a photoshoot she did in the year 2006. This was done with Sports Illustrated, a magazine that was infamous at the time for its revealing photoshoots of female athletes.

Maria Sharapova swimming suit

At the time, it reached 64 million adults in the US alone. Clad in a swimsuit, Maria was one of the key attractions of that edition. The magazine had already featured the likes of Steffi Graf and Serena Williams. A young Maria was about to get her own moment that would make her the next biggest attraction in the world of sports.

Let’s find out some more details and look at some pictures from the iconic photoshoot.

The Maria Sharapova Swimsuit Edition of Sports Illustrated 2006
Maria Sharapova came to New York City for the photoshoot. It was Valentine’s Day launch of the 2006 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition. Maria, who was just 19 years old at the time, was photographed at the Grace Bay Club in Turks and Caicos. In fact, she was photographed by Sports Illustrated’s legendary photographer Walter Looss Jr.

Maria Sharapova swim

Maria also gave her opinions on the photoshoot and how she was feeling –

“I love doing new things. Being in a bikini is very different, you don`t have a lot to work with, just your body and sand and water. But I got used to it,” Sharapova said of her shoot.”

The Russian beauty said the launch was an entertaining diversion, but she was as focused as ever on her tennis game.

`I love to compete, that`s what I do best. These are just things that I love to do for fun,` she said.

Maria Sharapova

The Controversies
Closer observation will make you observe the caution in her words. In fact, it was almost like she had judged the nature of the controversy that will come up. There were people who blamed her in the aftermath of not being focused on tennis. There was always this criticism of SI for glamourizing sports and objectifying the bodies of female athletes. Sharapova became the object of all that pent up anger.
Maria sharapova smilling

Maria Sharapova won’t play for Orange County Breakers but World Team Tennis team plans to keep playing
Maria Sharapova cap

The Orange County Breakers announced Wednesday that they lost Maria Sharapova as a franchise player.

As for the Breakers’ World Team Tennis season this summer, it hasn’t been lost because of the coronavirus.

The Newport Beach-based team plans to have its opener on July 12 against the San Diego Aviators at Omni La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, said Breakers general manager Allen Hardison.

“We are closely monitoring the [coronavirus] situation,” Hardison said in a text message, “but as of right now, we still plan on playing as scheduled.”

The Breakers’ home opener is set for July 13 at Palisades Tennis Club. The team almost had to find another venue to play its home matches because of a land-lease agreement issue, which was resolved last week.

Maria Sharapova

The rest of the eight teams in the WTT also plan to start the season on July 12, Carlos Silva, the league’s CEO, said on Twitter. The three-week league is scheduled to end on Aug. 1.

“We continue to monitor the #COVID19 situation and will post an update on Apr. 6,” Silva tweeted. “Please stay safe & members of the #WTTFamily should not hesitate to reach out to me directly with questions or concerns.”

Hardison said Sharapova’s decision to not play her scheduled matches for the Breakers on July 28-29 were not due to concerns over the coronavirus. Sharapova, a five-time Grand Slam champion and a former No. 1, retired from professional tennis in February.

Maria Sharapova sit

“Strictly tennis related,” said Hardison, whose team is looking to fill Sharapova’s franchise spot. “The message we got from her team is that for now, and potentially long-term, she will no longer be playing tennis in the public eye.”







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