Too Hot for Sports?

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(Time) — How you feel about Kim Clijsters doing a split in a frilly orange skirt probably depends on your reaction to a well-oiled Caroline Wozniacki serving a tennis ball into a wind machine. Then again, these provocative scenarios, which form part of the Women’s Tennis Association’s new “Strong is Beautiful” advertising campaign, seem tame compared to the spot starring Belarusian tennis ace Victoria Azarenka. “I like to hit the ball hard. Crush it,” the 2011 Wimbledon semi-finalist says in a voiceover, as the camera pans from crotch to chest to face. “If the ball comes back then it’s trying to tell me something. How about a little harder?”  Some call them racy, others call them inspiring. Either way, the series of photos and commercials that will roll out in 80 countries over the next two years certainly make a statement. Hoping to raise the profile of the women’s game, the WTA filmed 38 of its players — from Serena Williams to Li Na to Petra Kvitova — slugging away at balls that release glitter and colored powder on impact.

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