Throughout the years, women's tennis has featured a number of beauties who've gained massive popularity on and off the court. Former World #1's Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic, and Martina Hingis -- just to name a few -- have proven that exquisite beauty and electrifying tennis can go hand in hand. And then there's the case of Anna Kournikova who enthralled the world with her glamorous looks but failed to win a single tournament throughout her entire career.
Will this new batch of tennis beauties prove to be serious tennis contenders or will they remain mere pretty faces? At the moment, the rankings of some of these women indicate that they could very well be on their way to tennis superstardom. And the others who aren't as highly ranked? Well hopefully, it's only a matter of time before they begin proving that they deserve a place among tennis's elite ladies.
Here are ten of the most beautiful women aged 21-and-under currently on the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) tour:
10 Elina Svitolina / Ukraine / Age: 19 / WTA Rank: #42
Ukraine's Elina Svitolina has been creating a lot of buzz lately as she had a superb 2013 and is continuing her meteoric rise up the rankings in 2014. Already, she has one WTA title to her name, the 2013 Baktu Cup. In that tournament, she beat Shahar Pe'er in the final and thus became the first teenager (at 18 years old) in over a year to win a WTA tournament. That victory also saw her jump 32 slots in the rankings.
Asked about what spurs her to continually improve her game, Elina points to her older brother, who used to be a professional tennis player. "I was always watching him and how he was playing, and because he was playing, he always got more attention from my parents. I wanted some of that attention, so that's why I started to play tennis - to be better than him!" explains the 5-foot-8 teenager.
9 Sloane Stephens / United States / Age: 21 / WTA Rank: #16
The USA's Sloane Stephens currently has the highest profile among women aged 21 and under currently playing on the WTA tour. Part of it is because she's achieved some terrific results that have propelled her to as high as #11 in the world. Another undeniable reason is that she made waves when she beat World #1 Serena Williams at the 2013 Australian Open quarterfinals and soon after that went public with their squabble.
The feud began when in an interview with ESPN, Stephens claimed that after her 2013 Australian Open upset victory, Williams un-followed her on Twitter and tried to avoid her. Sloane then proceeded to bring up being ignored by the Williams sisters multiple times when, as a twelve-year-old, she tried to get their autographs.
Well, that feud has since been resolved by the two, and hopefully, that will give Stephens more time to focus on her tennis; despite Sloane's enormous talent and impressive ranking, she has yet to reach a WTA tournament final.
8 Laura Robson / United Kingdom / Age: 20 / WTA Rank: #53
WTA Newcomer of the Year for 2012 Laura Robson has yet to win a WTA singles title, but her performance has been good enough for her to be ranked Britain's #1 women's player. One of her best results has been at the 2010 Hopman Cup, where she partnered with compatriot Andy Murray to reach the final. In fact, they paired up again for the 2012 London Olympics and won a silver medal in the mixed doubles tennis event. In terms of Grand Slams, Robson has reached the fourth round of a major twice: the 2012 US Open and the 2013 Wimbledon Championships.
At the moment, Laura is sidelined with a wrist injury that has prevented her from competing for ranking points. Hopefully, she'll recover soon so that she can continue her ascent in the WTA rankings.
7 Jovana Jaksic / Serbia / Age: 20 / WTA Rank: #133
Currently ranked outside the top 100 and with no WTA titles to her credit, Serbia's Jovana Jakšić doesn't often see her name featured in tennis news stories. However, in late February of 2014, the tennis world buzzed about Jovana's unbelievable feat of saving fourteen match points en route to winning an ITF title in Arizona. She beat Austria's Tamira Paszek 4-6, 7-6(13), 7-5 to take her fourteenth title on the ITF tour.
After the match, Jakšić beamed,
I still can't believe I saved 14 match points. I have no idea how I did it. I have to say that each time I faced a match point, I played an amazing shot and managed to hit winners on most of them. And I was thinking, "If I can save one, I can save the second and the third." But I stopped counting after the sixth match point! I didn't even know the score in the tiebreak until the end of the match; I was just fighting and fighting. These kinds of matches are a huge experience for me. I definitely learned that I should never give up because anything is possible!
6 Garbine Muguruza / Spain / Age: 20 / WTA Rank: #34
Garbiñe Muguruza is certainly a name (and a face) to watch on the WTA tour. To start off 2014, she won her maiden WTA title as a qualifier at the Moorilla Hobart International in Australia, defeating veteran Klára Zakopalová 6-4, 6-0. Then, at the 2014 Australian Open, she shocked former World #1 and tenth seeded Caroline Wozniacki to make it to the fourth round.
Actually, the dimpled Spaniard almost won her second WTA title in March at the Brasil Tennis Cup, where she once again faced Zakopalová in the final. Garbiñe was leading 6-4, 5-2, but Klára made an amazing comeback in the final to win 4-6, 7-5, 6-0. Nevertheless, things are certainly looking up for the twenty-year-old beauty.
5 Monica Puig / Puerto Rico / Age: 20 / WTA Rank: #58
Puerto Rico's Monica Puig has yet to reach her first WTA tournament final, but she's won six singles titles on the ITF tour and the gold medal in the women's tennis singles event at the 2010 Central American and Caribbean Games. Meanwhile, in the Grand Slams, it's worth noting that Monica made it as far as the fourth round of the 2013 Wimbledon Championships.
Asked about her tennis idol, Puig mentions World #1 Serena Williams. "She was so dominant, so powerful. I was like, 'Man, I wanna be like that one day,'" Monica shared. Well, already having been ranked as high as #44 in the world and being just twenty years young, Puig might just find herself as dominant as Serena one day.
4 Petra Uberalova / Slovak Republic / Age: 19 / WTA Rank: #354
Slovak Republic's Petra Uberalova may be ranked a lowly #354 in the world at the moment, but she's certainly attracting a lot of attention because of her stunning beauty. However, when she's asked about her movie-star good looks and her male admirers who aggressively pursue her, she's quick to divert the topic by saying, "I think I have some very beautiful namesakes. You're probably talking about someone else." Petra resorts to similar tactics when she's asked about whom she inherited her beauty from. "I still don't know what you're talking about!" she playfully replies.
Well, with Uberalova's rapid rise in the rankings after completing just her first year as a professional, she's likely going to have to deal with many more similar questions about her beauty.
3 Amandine Hesse / France / Age: 21 / WTA Rank: #231
French tennis player Amandine Hesse has a lot to live up to given that her nation has produced several Grand Slam champions -- some of them, like Mary Pierce, being known for their beauty as well their great tennis. But the 21-year-old native of Montauban seems to be doing just fine for now despite her ranking being outside the top 200.
Amandine, who lists music, surfing the net, and shopping as her personal interests, has already won three singles and two doubles titles on the ITF tour. She's also looking forward to competing full time on the WTA tour and competing with the top ladies in Grand Slam tournaments.
2 Ani Vangelova / Bulgaria / Age: 20 / WTA Rank: #974
Bulgaria's Ani Vangelova looks more like a model than a tennis player, and truth be told, she might have to consider modeling instead of playing tennis if her results don't pick up soon. So far, in 2014, she's lost the opening matches of all three ITF tournaments she's entered. In fact, Ani didn't even win a single set in those matches.
Vangelova's results from previous years haven't been much better either. Her career win-loss record currently sits at 8-41, and her career prize money totals less than $10,000. But Ani is still only just 20, and hopefully, her best tennis is yet to come.
1 Eugenie Bouchard / Canada / Age: 20 WTA Rank: #19
Canada's Eugenie Bouchard certainly made heads turn at the 2014 Australian Open where she made a surprising run to the semifinals before losing to eventual tournament champion Li Na. As a result, from starting the year ranked 32nd, Eugenie jumped in rank to a career-high #19.
Aside from making waves with her strong brand of tennis, Bouchard also won a considerable number of male fans because of her good looks. In fact, a cheering section, dubbed "the Genie Army", slowly grew in number with each match that Eugenie won at the 2014 Australian Open.
Unfortunately, the 20-year-old may have lost quite a number of admirers after this post-match interview: