Maria Sharapova Failed A Drug Test, Should We Judge Her?

“I made a huge mistake. I have let my fans down, and let the sport down.”

11 Things You Need To Know About The Australian Open

It’s time to whet your appetite for the most anticipated tennis tournament of the year…

Serve Him Up: Djokovic Voted US Open’s Sexiest Player

With the US Open in its third day of play, the temperature is rising on the sticky, humid courts of Flushing Meadows, New York City. However, it’s not just the thermometer that’s making the stadiums steamy. Victoria Milan, a dating website for married/attached people looking to cheat (move over, Ashley Madison), has taken a very interesting US Open poll. According to the ladies on the website, Serbia’s Novak Djokovic is not just #1 in the rankings, he’s also been voted the #1 most desirable player at the 2015 tournament.

RELATED: Rafael Nadal, Tommy Hilfiger, And That Underwear Campaign

In order to discover this staggering statistic, the website asked 8,364 of its female members whether tennis players feature in their sexual fantasies. A colossal 79 per cent of these women admitted that the heaving, lunging forehands, backhands and aces made them a little hot under the collar, with a few clear favourites. Novak Djokovic led the pack at 28 per cent, the Spaniard Rafael Nadal (of Tommy Hilfiger fame) came in a close second at 24 per cent and the Swiss maestro Roger Federer rolled in at third with 16 per cent.

Here are the Victoria Milan data specifics, to give you an idea of who to save your smile for:

1. Novak Djokovic – 28%
2. Rafael Nadal – 24%
3. Roger Federer – 16%
4. Fabio Fognini – 9%
5. Gilles Simon – 7%
6. David Ferrer – 5%
7. Benoît Paire – 5%
8. Andy Murray – 3%
9. Feliciano Lopez – 2%
10. Grigor Dimitrov – 1%

Personally, I think Rafael Nadal should be a resounding number 1, but, like, whatever…

This isn’t the first time that tennis players have been acknowledged as the best celebrity crushes. InStyle and Elle magazine have each recently released a list of the sexiest male tennis stars, citing (along with the top three) players such as the Czech Tomas Berdych, Italy’s Fabio Fognini (Google him, you’ll thank me later), and the smoldering Spaniard Feliciano Lopez (who was recently described by commentators as “genetically modified”).

And they’re not the only ones jumping on the bandwagon. Sugarscape.com capitalized on the terrific tennista trend circa Wimbledon, compiling their own top 14 list. Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov (ex-boyfriend of Russian beauty Maria Sharapova) got the biggest mention, because let’s face it, he’s magnificent. And don’t forget the 6 foot 10 American John Isner, the boyish good looks of Canada’s Milos Raonic, and Spain’s David Ferrer, whose Disney-esque face and princely physique will leave you breathless (again, please, PLEASE Google him).

So what is it about tennis players that makes them so incredibly crushable? CEO and Founder of Victoria Milan, Sigurd Vedal, stated that the fact that tennis players do it for the ladies is not surprising. “Muscles flexing, sweat dripping, determination and strength are all showcased during the US Open, and once a bit of imagination kicks in, it’s no wonder the female members of the audience are the most avid viewers. Everyone has a fantasy – and it’s easy to see how US Open tennis players just make it so easy for women,” he explained.

But it’s not just all that sweaty, gladiatorial action on court that makes us gleefully giggle. Think about it; these guys are not only in peak physical condition, plus super tall (no need to sacrifice the stilettos), they’re just inherently dateable. They’re disciplined as hell (none of that egomaniacal superstar actor crap), conditioned to keep their heads in high pressure situations, and all that practice at good-sportsmanship gives them a gentlemanly core. Add to that the fact that they get flown around the world by sponsors for 10 months of the year with their entourage of coaches, family, and partners, and you’ve got the perfect boyfriend!

I am unashamed to say that on my bucket list, along with skydiving, meeting Meryl Streep, and hunting for sexy vampires in New Orleans (they all apparently live in the South), is spending a period of time as a tennis WAG. Seriously, I can think of nothing better than running around the world with my gorgeous, disciplined, gentlemanly boyfriend, and watching tennis from the exclusive players’ box all day, every day. Admit it; 2015 is a VERY attractive year for tennis. So gentleman, if your wife or girlfriend has developed a sudden interest in the sport, be warned; she’s probably (in fact, definitely) in awe of more than the fabulous tennis skills on display.

I’ll leave you now with a serve of my top 10 US Open tennis hotties. You’re welcome.

Images via The Guardian, Tommyhilfiger.com, Dailymail, Harpers Bazaar, Tennis View, Aircelchennaiopen.org, Express, Ksiazkizbojeckie.blox.pl, Sexpornimages.com, Zimbio, Tennisworldusa.org

The Kyrgios Case Of Nick: Are We Too Quick To Judge?

It’s safe to assume that by now, you will have heard of Nick Kyrgios. The 20-year-old tennis star caused a stir at this year’s Wimbledon – throwing racquets, back-chatting umpires and the infamous ‘tanking’ incident. He even hugged a ball-boy (really a ball-teenager) during a match. Add to that the outrageously awkward comments made by swimming legend Dawn Fraser and you have a melting pot for drama.

At face value, Kyrgios’ recent behaviour seems deplorable. It’s presumptuous to refuse to play because you disagree with an umpire’s call. It’s rude to mutter, “do you feel strong up there?” to another umpire because he reprimands you for swearing. Nobody is denying that this is unacceptable. However, what is also unacceptable is vilifying and dismissing a person as a “tennis brat” (thank you, Dawn), before thoroughly examining why such behaviour is manifesting.

I was a complete headcase when I was 20. So were my 20-year-old friends. We had no self-awareness, self-discipline, or self-respect, which was glaringly obvious in everything we did. However, we had the luxury of working through our post-adolescence in the privacy of our own homes, where our misguided meltdowns (mine were often toddler-esque) were witnessed only by our unfortunate parents.

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Kyrgios is not afforded the same privilege. Every bump in the emotional rollercoaster of leaving his teens is captured, magnified, and displayed for the world to see, right when he is at his most vulnerable…on the court. Facing the kind of anxiety that poor Bridget Jones felt when Mark Darcy discovered her horrendously misleading diary.

Don’t get me wrong, after hearing about a few of his on-court shenanigans, I was more than ready to jump on the Judge-y Train. However, that was before I watched his fourth round match against the world number 20 – Frenchman (and sensational babe) Richard Gasquet. What I saw was something quite different to the erratic youth the media has been yelling about. Honestly, the guy looked terrified, and seemed extremely distracted by soul-crushing anxiety. Unsurprising, given the gargantuan task of maintaining his reputation, his sponsors, and his dignity on the most public of stages. Behind the apparent petulance I saw only genuine distress… and I felt sorry for him.

Of course, there are many 20-year-olds who manage this pressure flawlessly. Former world number 1 Rafael Nadal was beyond reproach from the age of 16. However, not everybody is cut from that exquisite cookie dough. Like many young people, Nick Kyrgios, with his flair for the dramatic and obsessive drive to better himself, is not yet equipped to cope with extreme stress. I sure as hell wasn’t. It’s simple, and above all, normal.

At the core of the issue, this isn’t a spoilt brat who cares nothing for tennis. This isn’t an attention whore. This is a paranoid kid, whose worst fear is not living up to his own incredibly high expectations of himself. It’s borne of the fact that he cares so very, very deeply about what he does. Patting away a couple of balls isn’t tanking the match. The keen focus and sheer determination Kyrgios displayed when he won the third set should eliminate that assumption.

My advice for Kyrgios is to sit down, take a deep breath, and work out a more productive way to handle his frayed nerves. For his own sake, he needs to do it quickly. However, nagging, belittling, and patronising him isn’t going to help. So leave the guy alone. His behaviour really is none of our business. If Kyrgios ever needs a hug on court again, I’ll happily give him one; the ball-kids are usually busy.

Image via Jockington.com