The New York Times ogles the “Women Who Hit Hard” in tennis

Have you ever wondered what muscles dream about when they dream? Well, let the New York Times show you. The national newspaper of record saw fit to print an extensive multimedia project on the heavy hitters of female tennis this week. And when I say heavy hitters, I mean women who hit very hard. It comes complete with a long feature story, beautiful photo essay and slo-mo video gallery. Yes, you read that right, slo-mo video gallery. Hello, muscle porn.

Serena Williams

I really cannot overstate how gorgeous the slo-mo videos are to behold. Watching them back-to-back a couple (dozen) times, I found myself longing for a hi-def Blu-Ray version I could play back in 1080p on a very big screen in a very private place. What? So I could study their tennis form — naturally.

Jelena Jankovic

Though, there is a bit of a disconnect between the article — which is a rather standard, if exhaustive, overview of where the women’s game is now — and the accompanying photo and video features. And, yes, I realize most of you right now are tearing your eyes away from the smoking hot images to look at me blankly and say, “Um, what? There’s an article?”

Vera Zvonareva

Yes, there’s an article, and it includes a look at how the Williams sisters, Venus and Serena, have changed the sport permanently with their power game. But it also talks about the frequent lament that the game isn’t as competitive and there aren’t as many superstars as there used to be. Sample insight:

Women have certainly never hit harder and not just on account of improved equipment. They’re stronger, bigger, faster, better trained and pushed above all by the example of the Williams sisters. Serena, glorious and musclebound, and Venus, long-limbed and tall, have redefined the sport around power. Years ago, tennis writers used to call Martina Navratilova, listed at 5-foot-8 and lean, a giantess with popping veins because other women seemed weaklings by comparison. Now most tour players would dwarf her.

Fair enough, but then how exactly do the slo-mo videos of these top athletes in spangly outfits, flowing hair and full makeup come into the equation again? Not that I’m complaining about their presence — at all. Seriously, watching them on a loop is better than anything I’ve ever seen on Cinemax After Dark. (See them all here — you will not regret it.)

Kim Clijsters

But instead of hearing about the jewelry so-and-so was wearing or the white satin bolero such-and-such had on, I’d actually like to know more about, as the headline reads, these “Women Who Hit Hard.” How do they train to get that strong? Why they play that hard? What makes them tick? How can an article about the power of women tennis players not detail even one of their complete workout routines? You have to believe if they did a similar story on the strength of male athletes somewhere in the piece the writer would mention how much weight they lift in the gym, right? Right.

Samantha Stosur

But there I go again, reading the New York Times for the articles instead of just enjoying the pretty, pretty pictures. Please excuse me while I go press play again. I know you’ll understand.

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