Women’s tennis is going through a transition. The players are stronger, bigger, prettier and richer. The top players are all millionaires, their incomes from tennis and endorsements reach staggering amounts for any athletes in any sport. They dress up for their matches, and what they wear, how they look and sometimes not how they play is often front page news. White conservative tennis dresses are a thing of the past, the distant past. Even the refined dress code at Wimbledon has finally been relaxed and has given way to colours, skimpy shorts and revealing tops. Much of this change can be attributed to one tennis reactionary, who in 1949 came to Wimbledon to play in the women’s doubles with partner Patricia Todd, wearing a short white tennis dress and a pair of frilly lacy panties. The tennis world went into shock, members at Wimbledon threatened to cancel their memberships, a special discussion was convened in the British Houses of Parliament, such was the outrage caused by American Gertrude Moran. The fans loved her, the newspapers couldn’t get enough close ups of the frilly knickers to satisfy their readers, and ‘Gorgeous Gussie’ as she quickly became known as, was the toast of the town and the greatest ambassador the women’s tennis tour has ever had. The term Gussied-up is directly attributable to Gertrude Moran who left her imprint on tennis and the English language. Some years later another American woman by the name of Anne White showed up to play on one of Wimbledon’s outside courts wearing nothing but a white body stocking. She was hustled off the court and banned from ever playing again at Wimbledon’s hallowed halls.
Gabriella Sabitini, the great Hall of Fame player from Argentine, didn’t need any saucy clothes, or eye catching knickers to make her mark on the tennis courts. She possessed the natural Latin beauty that movie stars and fashion models are made of, and she could play tennis. Still considered by many as the sexiest player of all time, she maintains her S. American grace and charm when appearing as a celebrity, and was one of the featured old-timers at the 2008 US Open. She is a successful business woman with a very popular line of Gabriel perfume.
The next young lady to set the tennis world on its ear was Anna Kournikova. Anna is sex personified, a quality that is impossible to define yet is instantly recognized by all red bloodied males. She was junior world champion, and left her native Russia when she was 14 to pursue a professional tennis career. She won the Aussie Open doubles twice, and was ranked as the number 1 doubles player. Her singles matches were world class but she could never string together enough wins to win a title. She is still playing tennis, just last week she played in the WTT event with Elton John and Billy Jean King, and she still looks just as sexy as ever!