Apart from talent, women tennis players also flaunted style, chic and at times not quite, on the circuit this year

Maria Sharapova is to 2012 fans what Gabriela Sabatini was to 1992 and Mary Pierce only a couple of years later! Each one of them a head turner! Unlike Anna Kournikova, for long the resident pin-up girl of the tennis circuit without ever winning a WTA singles title, these girls have married flamboyance of their dresses with their potent strokes, making for a lethal combination. Each one of them won at least a Slam. Each one of them enjoyed a second spring. Sabatini did it in doubles following her lone singles victory, Pierce after splitting from her father. And Sharapova, yes, this year. It has been a year of second coming for Sharapova, her drubbing at the hands of Serena Williams in the London Olympics notwithstanding. In fact, it has been that kind of a year on the circuit, with so many girls expressing themselves on the court with their tennis and glamour.

Yes Sharapova is not the only head-turner of this year — the tennis calendar has all but runs its course with the last of the majors over. We have Caroline Wozniacki, the girl who was ranked number one for a good part of the past year, and just slipped out of top ten. She notched up all the points on the fashion front though when she was seen in Stella McCartney’s designs. She even wore sheer black. More often though she was seen in cobalt blues with horizontal stripes. For her night matches, Wozniacki expressed herself with delicate pleats and fine bust detailing. Her pink base shirts offset against steel grey and black hues. She wore her hair in plaits, giving her that perfect combo of school girl innocence with a young lady’s seduction.

Then we have had Maria Kirilenko, who rose to be world number 12 this year. This was, of course, besides being voted among the most glamorous girls on the circuit. Incidentally, before Wozniacki, she was the Adidas face of tennis apparel. There have been other girls, notably, Bethanie Mattek Sands, who made waves with her tube socks, eye-liners and painted cheeks. She continued to dabble in fashion on court though mercifully left her cheetah collection behind in her trunk. A known admirer of the fashion collection of Venus and Serena Williams, she wore candy colours, even sheer back, single strap tops. Once she was seen in one-piece golden attire with a matching cap! Her neckline did its bit to keep the attention firmly on her in a women’s doubles match — considering her partner was Sania MIrza, it was a no mean achievement. Usually Sands’ socks were longer than her skirts and at times the tattoos on her body were more noticeable than her serve! She played doubles well enough to be ranked just outside the top ten last year. This year though has been all about playing catch-up.

Then there was Elena Vesnina, the girl who Indian tennis fans would remember for her successful partnership with Sania Mirza and Leander Paes over the past year. Not to forget Dominica Cilbulkova, the diminutive girl nobody gave a chance to. Svelte, loose limbed, plaits and all, she caught attention: her swirling ground strokes matching her dangles, her dark coloured skirts contrasting well with her short Ts.

The year might go down as the Year of Serena Williams who won two majors and an Olympic singles besides two doubles crowns with her sister. But on the fashion front, Sharapova was the winner. Her tennis spoke for her but louder were the points scored by her dresses. Side splits, jumpsuits, knitwear, each gave her a distinct aesthetic edge. She added to that drop-dead bobs, and occasionally made bold to let her lustrous locks fall loose.

Not too far behind was Romania’s Sorana Cirstea, voted one of the most beautiful women in sports by MSN. She happily expressed herself in long Ts with short skirts with little furls. Her hair was long, loose and usually straight. Her ground strokes deceptively fast.

Yes, women’s tennis with its pool of talented players and glamorous girls was a sight to behold this year!

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