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LaRosa's Sweet Spot: Oct 5, 2011

10/5/2011 1:00:00 PM

LaRosa's Sweet Spot Archive |




This past weekend, after nine years on tour, Janko Tipsarevic finally won his first ATP singles title. What finally put him over the hump? Was it maturity? The confidence that comes from achieving a career-high No 13 ranking? Or perhaps membership in the Davis Cup-winning, No 1 player-producing Serbian squad?  Pish posh. What finally freed Janko from his titleless existence was freeing himself from his clothes. A week before he lost his virginity at the Malaysian Open (his words, not mine), he lost his pants as the newest model for Extreme Intimo underwear.  

Are you looking at my titles?


Okay so what, it happened in the same week you say. That doesn’t mean it’s connected!

I thought the same. But then, like Veronica Mars or the To Catch a Predator guy, I started putting the pieces together.  Wait a minute, over the summer, Jo Wilfried Tsonga posed nude in Cosmo UK (tushy nude, not Fully Monty nude, so it was totally tasteful). Immediately he beat both Rafael Nadal at Queen’s Club and Roger Federer at WIMBLEDON.

Could dropping trou really help you get the drop on the competition? I needed to research more.  Friends, I was shocked by what I found.

* Before Tsonga, Tommy Robredo poses in his cumpleaños suit for Cosmo UK (July of ’07). Two weeks later he wins Sopot.

* A month later in Montreal, Novak Djokovic makes waves when he rips the runway in his undies at an ATP fashion show. Days later he goes on to beat Rafael Nadal in the semis and score his first win over Roger Federer in the final.  

* Rafa is papped full-tushy as he changes on a boat in September of ’08. He goes on to win the next major, the Australian Open - his first hard court Slam title. He follows that up with an Indian Wells chaser. Greedily going to the semi-nudie well a second time, Rafa launches his Armani underwear campaign in early 2011 and again wins the next major, the French Open.

* Serena Williams poses nude for the cover of ESPN’s Body Issue in Oct 2009. She goes on to win the YEC and two of the next three majors. 

* Dominika Cibulkova whips off her top for a Dunlop racquet ad (when you think of tennis racquets, who doesn’t think of a young women looking come hither over her bare back? In the woods? Surrounded by butterflies?). She downs world No 1 Caroline Wozniacki at Wimbledon. 

Well blow me down. Flesh peddling isn’t some dirty shameful act reserved for hookers or Ashton Kutcher – turns out it’s the latest and greatest performance enhancer!

It makes perfect sense. Freeing yourself from the constraints of those pesky clothes allows you to get to the core of who you are as a person.  It removes all inhibitions on the court, empowers you and allows you to swing freely!

And it’s legal! HGH will get you banned for two years (or a week and a half depending on who you rat out), but people will actually PAY you to take off your clothes. Not only does it win you titles, that’s also just good business.

I bet you the Bollettieri Academy even coaches their players on how best to take it off. (note: the Bollettieri Academy didn’t reply to a request for this information, mostly because I never submitted one.)

Come on players. Do it for yourselves. Do it for the sport!  You’re athletes. And yet people make fun of tennis players like they have golfer bodies. You’re ripped, show it off!  When I pitch projects in my job as a screenwriter, all I need to say is “the character is an athlete” and everyone knows that’s code for “nude scenes!” You have a power. Wield it. You think people streak at Wimbledon because they want to be seen? They’re just trying to start a conga line for YOU. Because they want you to succeed!  You know who else wants you to succeed? Only EVERYONE on the internet! I was told by a friend who runs a very reputable tennis site that no matter what important news of the day is going on, the biggest volume of hits they get on any link is anything with “shirtless” or “nude” in the title. How’s that for fans selflessly supporting your on-court success?!

So what if Ashley Harkleroad posed nude in Playboy and never won another match, the reason she didn’t take home that Wimbledon trophy that was hers by right was because she got pregnant and left the tour. And even though Fernando Verdasco’s Cosmo UK spread surfaced during a not entirely impressive period of his career, I’m pretty sure he was semi-naked somewhere immediately before that epic Aussie semi v. Nadal. And any other notable result he’s had.

Why spend thousands on a sports psychiatrist? In a slump? Show your rump!  What an easy but foolproof way to regain your edge on the field, win that elusive first major or retire with a bang! Got your listening ears on Fed, Woz, Murray and Nalby?

Now you may think I’m a dirty old man. I’m only 37. And I care too much about this sport to try to derive any filthy pleasure from objectifying anyone or offering anyone up in a shameless attempt to lure fans to a struggling sport.  I’m simply pointing out a phenomenon, something tried and true. That also coincidentally happens to be kind of hot. But it’s all for you! Like my mother told me when I was a little boy, “baby, if you got it, flaunt it.” She was arrested soon after, but my point is this: if you want to show flashes of brilliance, you might want to think about flashing your goodies. Your fans are begging you.

How sure am I that skin = win? I’m writing this semi-nude right now! Pulitzer come to papa.

Who’s appearing in some form of undress in the next issue of ESPN’s Body Issue, on newsstands Friday? Ladies and gentlemen, I give you your 2012 Australian Open champion, Vera Zvonareva. 

Shake it like a Polaroid picture, Vera. And don’t forget to thank the sponsors.

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Follow James at twitter.com/JamesLaRosa