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61st Ranked Tennis Nobody Displays Her Body for Playboy

PARIS – Ashley Harkleroad, the 61st-ranked American who lost to Serena Williams 6-2, 6-1 on Sunday in the first round of the French Open, said she posed for the August edition of Playboy magazine.

“I thought about it, and it was something that I did,” Harkleroad said. “I’m proud of my body. I was representing a female athlete’s body.”

The 23-year-old noted other athletes who have appeared in the magazine, including Olympic swimmer Amanda Beard and former volleyball player Gabrielle Reese.

“I’ll be the first tennis player ever. That’s kind of cool,” Harkleroad said.

“There’s a few reasons why I did it, but I can’t really go into it right now,” she added. “But like I said, I really didn’t think it was that big of a deal. I’m proud of my body. I stay in shape and try to stay fit.”

Williams, an eight-time Grand Slam champion, said she respected Harkleroad’s decision to pose for the men’s magazine, but ruled out her own pictorial.

Here’s other athletes who have posed for Playboy:

> Swimmer Amanda Beard was the July 2007 Playboy cover girl. In 2003, she became the world champion and record holder in the 200-meter breaststroke.

> Two-time Olympic champion Katarina posed nude in an issue for Playboy in December 1988.

> Professional boxer and Tae Kwon Do champion Mia St. John appeared on the cover of Playboy in November 1999 and in an 11-page pictorial. The display earned her the nickname “Bunny Boxer” by many boxing critics.

> Professional volleyball player and sports presenter Gabrielle Reece has appeared on the cover of several magazines, including the January 2001 issue of Playboy with an accompanying nude pictorial.

> Three-time Olympian Amy Acuff appeared on the cover of the magazine for the 2004 edition dubbed “The Women of the Olympics.” The former high jump champion is also known for her career as a model, including other cover appearances.

> Former professional wrestler and bodybuilder Joanie Laurer, also known as Chyna, has posed nude for Playboy twice. Her pictorial in November 2000 was reportedly part of the ten best-selling issues in the magazine’s history.

> Chyna isn’t the only wrestling star to pose for the magazine. In April 2006, former World Wrestling Entertainment Women’s Champion Candice Michelle was also featured on the cover.


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