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Playboy’s Tennis Bunny?

ashley-harkWhether Ashley Harkleroad becomes the Number 1 player in the world, or wins the 2009 Australian Open, (neither is likely to happen), she will always be remembered as the Tennis player who posed in the nude for Playboy magazine in the August 2008 edition.
She said about her decision to pose, “Posing for Playboy was doing something different. I enjoy being in front of the cameras, and I wanted to see where it would take me. It was important for me to showcase my body as the body of an athlete.” She went on to say that she hadn’t received any negative vibes from her fellow players, “They understand what I’m doing,” she added.
Ashley has always been known for her tendency to shock her fans. She wore scandalous outfits at the US Open, that would have banished her from Wimbledon had she decided to wear them there, and she has cultivated her reputation as the ‘American Anna’. A reference to her similarity to the sexy Anna Kournakovia, the famous Russian player whose natural beauty and sex appeal made her a fan favourite wherever she played. Neither player has won a Major event of placed higher than the 3rd. round.
As a talented Junior player Ashley was touted to be the next American star of the WTA tour, so far she has fallen short. A winner of multiple junior singles and doubles events she turned pro in 2000, and rose to an all time high of 39th. in the rankings. She has had a couple of victories over top ten players, but has never been able to string together a series of victories. She is more famous for the buzz she causes around the courts than for her performance on the courts. She is coached by her boy friend Chuck Adams, who John McEnroe reported is the father of her baby. If the report is confirmed it would eliminate her from appearing in the 2009 Australian Open.
For a while Ashley lived in the town of Flintstone Georgia, a town with one stop light and two stores, and she was naturally nicknamed ‘Pebbles’. The name has stuck and her friends use the name constantly when talking about her. She recently underwent surgery for an ovarian cyst, and when Roger Federer took his time to seek her out and ask her how she was, she became his instant fan saying, “He’s such a nice Guy, I’m surprised he even knew who I was. I also think he’s so much better looking than Nadal, a classy man, more my type!”
If Ashley decides to get serious about playing tennis she could easily become a member of the US Fed Cup team along with the Williams sisters, and she has the talent to win a tour event. So far without a win she has earned about $1 million in prize money, and as she herself commented, “Playing tennis is better than having a ‘real’ job!”

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