It's a curious quirk of the internet that almost nothing survives of Bill Simmons's pre-ESPN work. After seeing last week's newly unearthed column from Simmons's AOL Digital City days, a reader sent along another Boston Sports Guy entry rescued from the dustbin of history. If you've got any old Simmons columns lying around, please send them to us.
GRADING THE WIMBLEDON BABES
Round Two: Updating last year's grades
HALT!!!! Six immediate disclaimers:
—1. Before you get all riled up, just remember, YOU GUYS voted for this column last year. When I ran the "Vote for Sports Guy's Friday Column Topic" vote on my main page during the final week of July '99, I put "Grading the Wimbledon Babes" as a joke. Little did I know it would receive 40% of the total votes and three times more votes than any other topic. So blame my readers, not me... I'm just here to please.
—2. If you're a female reader, just do yourself a favor and stop reading right now. I'm not kidding. Just stop. You're going to hate this column as much as you hated it last year. If you DO decide to keep reading, remember that a) it's all in good fun and b) you're more than welcome to send me a Reader Rant called "Grading the Wimbledon Hunks."
—3. I asked two of my buddies to help provide off-color comments — they'll be referred to during the grading as "Caveman #1" and "Caveman #2." They represent the common man. If they offend you, I apologize. Consider yourself warned. Again, nobody is putting a gun to your head and making you read Part Two.
—4. For part two, I updated some of the material, added a few jokes and added some players/people who stepped to the forefront this summer. Since this was one of the most popular features in BSG history — I STILL get e-mails about it — it needed to be updated and some pressing matters (like Jelena Dokic's emergence and Dan Shaughnessy's niece playing in Wimbledon) needed to be addressed. And just for the record, I watched a good chunk of Wimbledon this summer looking for little tidbits to throw in.
—5. If you enjoy this column and you want to send it to friends, please forward the URL link and don't copy the text and send it out in e-mail form. As Dr. Evil would say, throw me a frickin' bone here.
—6. Finally, as I wrote last year... when I started this site, I made the decision to address sports topics that my buddies and I discuss — that I wouldn't hold back, not under any circumstances. This whole column fits right into that mantra. Whenever me and my buddies are on the phone around Wimbledon, we always end up talking about the female players. It's a guy thing.
Let's be honest: Women's tennis rocks. Men's tennis has evolved into guys firing 130-mile serves at one another, but women's tennis has evolved into the perfect blend of feminity, grace, style, emotion and athleticism. That's why we like it, that's why it draws higher ratings then men's tennis, and that's why it appeals to male viewers (for the same reason that the WNBA and college softball doesn't appeal to male viewers).
Of course, there's also the "babe" factor.
The mainstream media rarely addressed it until this year, but it's all there. Skimpy outfits. Red cheeks. Loud grunting. Exposed panties. Pouty faces. Tight bodies. You'd have to be Amish, blind or dead not to notice this stuff. It's just entertaining to watch attractive babes play tennis... therefore, I'm writing about it. The fans voted for it, people are talking about it, and it needs to be written about again, dammit. It's time.
Onto the column... proceed at your own risk:
PART TWO (7/7/00)
Grading the Wimbledon Babes
Just for space reasons, we're leaving out many players from this year's tournament, including Karina Habsudova (saucy Russian with major high beams), Elena Likhovtesa (looks a little like Uma Thurman), Olga Barabanschikova (longest last name in the history of mankind), Amy Frazier (generic American), Mary Jo Fernandez (dark-skinned and kinda cute) and many others.
One other note: On behalf of the male race, I'd like to thank Pete Sampras for dating Bridgette Wilson and making her attend all the matches this week. God bless Pete — going from the "Father of the Bride" chick to Bridgette might have been the greatest upgrade of all-time, surely pushing him past Emerson, Laver and Borg and cementing his place as the greatest tennis player of all-time. Can you imagine? The guy didn't go on his first date until he was like 23... now he's dating Bridgette Wilson? I mean, does ANYONE have a better life than Pete Sampras???
Anyway, we're giving Bridgette an honorary A-plus for her achievements in the player's section box over the past two weeks. Onto the rest of the grades, in no particular order...
MARTINA HINGIS — A-minus
One of the top women players on tour, in more ways than one ... has that sexy, pouting sneer (especially when she falls behind or she's angry at an umpire) ... possesses one of those bodies where you know she'll weigh the exact same weight 60 years from now ... bonus points here because she shows "Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction" potential — Hingis is a world-class wacko, as evidenced by her self-destruction at the French and her tank job at Wimbledon last year ... hey, at least she's interesting ... she's rich, she's talented, she's beautiful, she's foreign and she's a little psychotic — sounds like my dream girl! ... can I get fries with that?
**** Caveman #1's comment: "She seems like the type of girl who would start screaming in tongues during sex while the pupils of her eyes turned bright red."
**** Caveman #2's comment: "Snotty, arrogant, short-tempered, and definitely selfish in bed. What's her number?"
ANKE HUBER — B
Leggy German ... has the Anne Heche thing going with the short hair ... Anke's on the "All-Headlights" team... and if you don't know what that means, well, maybe that's a good thing ... best-known on the tour for being Andrei Medvedev's girlfriend ... I think that says it all when you're "best-known on the tour for being Andrei Medvedev's girlfriend."
ALEXANDRIA STEVENSON — C-minus
A disturbing, disorienting cross between Jessie from "Saved By the Bell" and Doctor J ... is this the Island of Dr. Moreau? ... her legs are at least five feet long ... it also looks like she's on the Monica Seles "Sure, I'll have another slice" diet ... penalty points here for having a domineering, conniving shrew as a mother.
****Caveman #1 — Looks too much like Dr. J and you could iron on her chest. Not a good combo.
SYLVIA PLISCHKE — C-minus
Probably the most attractive tall woman on the tour, which isn't saying much... short-haired blonde, painfully skinny... she's about six-foot-three, but she doesn't have that stiff-legged, "women's hoop coach" walk like most other tall tennis players ... on the bright side, I'm convinced she wasn't wearing a bra during her matches last year.
(If I were ever the Commissioner of Tennis, that's the first thing I would outlaw — tennis bras. They're a little selfish, aren't they? What about us? What about the fans?)
ANNE-GAELLE TIDOT — B-plus
Kinda looks like a cross between Bridget Fonda and a non-crazy Hingis... very attractive... seems like she would look great in a dress and high heels ... the breakout "Mmmmmmm" star of 2000 Wimbledon.
MARY PIERCE — B-minus
Captain of the "Beauty is just a lightswitch away" club ... in other words, she's got a Butter Face (everything looks great but her face) ... supposedly better-looking in person ... then again, they said the same thing about Rocky Dennis ... one of the few female tennis players with a legit cleavage... as Frank Drebin said in the first "Naked Gun" movie, "She's got the kinda breasts that say 'Hey, look at these!'"
Two drawbacks here: 1) Pierce dates Robbie Alomar, which speaks for itself, and 2) she had that weird restraining order thing against her domineering father, which means she possesses an inordinate amount of emotional baggage ... there's just a lot to work with here, both positive and negative.
**** Caveman #1: "She's searching for a father figure, which means she's probably extremely attentive to her man's needs. Extremely attentive."
**** Caveman #2: "Remember when Kenny Mayne was doing tennis highlights and said, 'Mary Pierce down a set, although it doesn't appear that way'? Now THAT's comedy!"
JANA NOVOTNA — F
Kinda looks like Steve Lyons in drag.
**** Caveman #1: "Mr. Novotna is a wonderful player, but I do not find him very appealing to the eye and I'm a little afraid he may cause bodily harm."
TATIANA PANOVA — B
Another solid Russian import ... maybe the most unsung member of the Frank Drebin "Hey look at these!" club ... I don't know what's going on in the USSR, but I'm booking a plane ticket and bringing 100 loaves of bread, pronto ... it all comes back to one simple truth: European women are just plain hot.
ARANXTA SANCHEZ-VICARIO — D-plus
Built like a fire hydrant ... not a lot to work with here ... her face finally cleared up, so she actually looks the best she's ever looked.
(Note: That last statement reminds me of something my buddy Worm said in college when we were talking about a chunky girl on our hall — one of her friends had said how this girl had lost 15 pounds and the Worm quickly responded, "Oh good, only 40 more to go." High comedy. You had to be there. By the way, I'm babbling...
**** Caveman #1: "The WTA doesn't let Aranxta raise trophies after she wins tournaments due to her McHale-like armpit-hair."
JELENA DOKIC — A-minus
Arrived this summer in an "MJ during the '84 Olympics" kinda way ... she looks like Kevin's older sister from the "Wonder Years," but with Mary Pierce's body ... yes, please ... a charter member of the "Frank Drebin" team ... also the 1999 "Rookie of the Year," 2000 "Most Improved" and MVP of the "All-Headlights" team ... you have to wonder if Anna Kournikova will order a hit on her from the Russian mafia in the weeks to come ... she gets downgraded from an "A" only because of her domineering father, who might be the Czechoslovakian Jim Pierce.
(Question: When are they re-making "The Great Santini" and giving Santini a tennis daughter? This needs to happen.)
AMANDA COETZER — A-minus
The adorable blonde from South Africa who never gets shown on TV for reasons unknown ... she sends the blood rushing right to my Olga Barabanschikova ... could somebody tell Playboy to open up the checkbook and make this girl an offer, please? ... the Junior Seau or Jason Kidd of female tennis players ... charter founder and captain of the "All-Headlights" team ... even Bud Collins finds her attractive.
**** Caveman #1: "My personal fav as cutest on the tour. Her headlights tend to turn on midway through a tough second set, which means I'm not turning the channel until they go back to Pam Shriver in the announcing booth."
**** Caveman #2: "She might be hotter than Kournikova, and she's legal and closer to my age, so I actually have a shot at hooking up with her. Imagine a chilly rainy day match between her and Anna K, both wearing only tight white tank tops and micro-mini tennis skirts. That match would get better ratings than live footage of Jesus Christ on roller skates."
NATALIE TAUZIAT — D-minus
Yikes ... she kinda looks like the "Crunch & Munch" guy from the Fleet Center ... England should stop asking her to appear in Wimbledon before her face stops Big Ben.
**** Caveman #2: "Camera two!"
STEFFI GRAF — B-minus
Sports fans are split on Graf in a "Should Cal Ripken be on ESPN's Top 50 list?" kinda way ... in other words, people feel really strongly about this one — some say she's the ugliest player in tennis, others think she's cute ... I'm probably more in the cute camp, if only because she has the best set of legs in tennis and seems like one of the genuinely nice/normal players on the tour ... supposedly she's prettier in person ... she'd probably be even prettier if she gave Nomar Garciaparra his nose back ... I always thought Germany should have mated her and Boris Becker and created an Uber-tennis child.
**** Caveman #1: "Das uber famme est mein favorite. Probably likes S&M and being the dominator."
**** Caveman #2: "Steffi is the Anti-Kournikova."
LISA RAYMOND — C
Exceedingly average... sweats a lot... not much else to say.
CONCHITA MARTINEZ — C-minus
Same as above, with a little more body hair.
RITA GRANDE — A-minus
Mmmmm... Rita Grande ... in case you've never heard of her, you're missing out ... she's a saucy, dark-skinned Italian with curly hair who has never met a loose sports bra she didn't like ... ... the best Italian import since Appolonia Corleone ... quite possibly the future Sports Gal if she can cook.
JENNIFER CAPRIATI — C-plus
She should have a tattoo of a suitcase on her right arm, because this gal's got baggage! ... not only did she have a serious drug problem, but you just KNOW she did some bizarre things when she was in her "Sidney from Melrose Place" stage a few years back (I'm still waiting for the secret Capriati porn tape to show up at Tower Records, ala Tonya Harding) ... one of my buddies in the know swears that Capriati had a breast reduction, so we're going to have to dock her grade just on rumor alone ... basically, she's starting off with a C before we even evaluate her ... and I think her features are a little rough ... on the other hand, she's probably the most fun girl on the tour to go out drinking with, so that brings her up to a C-plus.
**** Caveman #2: "Like every drug girl in college, slightly overweight but still cute enough to take advantage of for a one-nighter. Thighs show the effect of many nights with the munchies, but return to the game could work in her favor, as long as she doesn't start sniffing the lines or smoking the grass at Wimbledon."
MEGHAN SHAUGHNESSY — D-minus
Gets downgraded two grades for being Dan Shaughnessy's niece ... she's fairly cute, but you can see just enough of Uncle Dan in her face that it's deeply, hauntingly disturbing ... at least she has a chin ... should consider getting married so she can change her last name.
CHRIS EVERT — B-plus
She's aged extremely well, even if her features hardened a tad over the years ... everybody who grew up in the 80's will always carry a little torch for her, especially because of her little grunts and glares ... always appeared to have impeccable hygeine, even during a three-set match ... her battles against Martina were like Luke vs. Darth ... she's also extremely wealthy, which warrants mentioning... great Sugar Momma potential here.
**** Caveman's #1: "She spent way too much time in the sun — now she looks like an old leather bag."
**** Caveman #2: "The First Lady of Fruit of the Loom. What guy, now aged 28-32, did not have one of his first inexplicable chubbies while watching Chrissy grunt like a monkey in her micro-mini tennis skirts? Mmmm... Soft white cotton-clad camel toes. In the late 70's, I argue that there was no better Saturday afternoon than a Chrissy Evert US Open match, followed by a Charlie's Angels, and then a Bionic Woman. Just thinking about that lineup still makes me woozy."
MARTINA NAVRATILOVA — F
JIM LAMPLEY — D-minus
Seems like she's had the same hairstyle for the past 25 years... probably would be cuter if she wore makeup...
(Hey, wait a second... Jim Lampley's a man??? Seriously? Ummmm... let's just move on.)
CARLING BASSETT — A
Who, you ask? Well, I'll tell you. Back in the early-80's, Bassett burst into the tennis scene as the resident "hot blonde who wasn't very good" — she even made a movie called "Spring Fever" before she disappeared from the scene altogether, presumably to appear in amateur porn films. We'll give her a Hall of Fame nod here, just out of principle.
NATALIE ZVEREVA — C-minus
Russian chick with Princess Leia pigtails who wears weird sunglasses and looks like she might have a pierced belly button ... frankly, I'm a little afraid of her ... she plays doubles with Kournikova, just one more reason why they should make high-tech TV's that allow viewers to decide on camera angles.
THE WILLIAMS SISTERS — B-minus
Call me crazy, but I think they're cute in an Amazon kinda way ... any man who hasn't thought about being in the middle of a Williams sister sandwich is lying, plain and simple ... then again, I also think Chamique Holdsclaw is cute ...then again, I think almost everyone is cute ... one of those cases were the sum is much greater than the parts... and let's be honest, the beads thing is pretty kinky ... Serena's body is right out of a porno movie (she's on the Frank Drebin team) ... they're also a tad surly, which can always be fun after a few drinks ... one drawback: a domineering father.
**** Caveman #1: "Venus is just scary. Anyone that confident, big and strong would reduce any man to a quivering mass of blubbering flesh. Serena's better looking, and since she has the second child thing going on, she'd probably go the extra mile to get the job done for her man
**** Caveman #2: "Both of them make a lotta noise, if you get my drift. Hey now."
LINDSAY DAVENPORT: D-minus
Kinda built like Calvin Schraldi.
**** Caveman's #2: "I loved her on the Addams Family."
GABRIELLE SABATINI: B-plus
Sorely missed ever since she retired a few years ago ... had that beautiful face, but she kinda walked like Gheorghe Muresan ... rumors of batting from the left side ... you always felt conflicted watching her play because of her posture ... and that walk ... I'm giving her high grades here only because I had a crush on her in high school.
ELENA TATARKOVA — B
Lefthanded Russian with killer legs ... also on the Frank Drebin team and the "All-Headlights" team ... her only drawback is that she's kinda built like Sanchez-Vicario in the torso and shoulders ... there's something very "I should be playing on a softball team"-ish about her.
AMELIA MURESMA — F-minus
As Austin Powers once said, "She's a man, baby!" ... in fact, Martina Hingis remarked that the French-born Muresma was "half-man" during the 1998 U.S. Open, which infuriated French fans and caused Hingis to get booed all through last year's French Open ... Amelia's just terrifying ... every time she makes the semifinals of a major, she has a "Latrell Sprewell in the NBA Finals" effect on the ratings ... a "Saturday Night Live" skit waiting to happen, ala Janet Reno.
**** Caveman #1: "AHHHHHH! AHHHHHH! AHHHHHHHH! AHHHHHHH!"
**** Caveman #2: "RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!!!!! AHHHHHH! AHHHHHH! AHHHHHHHH! AHHHHHHH!"
PAM SHRIVER — C-minus
Have you seen her lately? She grew her hair out and it's just plain disorienting — much more bizarre than seeing Genesis' makeover on the "Real World Reunion" show. Let's just move on.
MONICA SELES — D
Always looks like she hasn't showered in about five days ... used to be much cuter a few years ago, before she was stabbed in the back ... lately she looks like she's been hanging around the buffet table with Billie Jean King ... she might want to consider looser clothing (nothing worse than a top-ranked tennis player with a front-butt) ... on the bright side, she makes an astounding amount of noise ... there isn't a man alive who hasn't mulled her over after one of her yelping forehands.
**** Caveman #1: "You get the feeling her breasts hang down like fire hoses when she doesn't have a bra on.
**** Caveman #2: "Not a good potential date because she would probably eat so much you'd go broke."
MARY CARILLO — D
HBO commentator who looks like a cross between the Karate Kid's Mom and Avery Johnson... finally stopped parting her hair in the middle, which is the only thing saving this grade from an "F."
KUTI KIS — C-plus
Chunky southpaw who looks like every chick from college with whom you never wanted to hook up until you had four beers ... attractive in a "the color of my hair doesn't match my eyebrows and my grill" kinda way ... can't you see a drunken Patrick Rafter hooking up with her a few times and then avoiding her at every player's function after that?
****Caveman #2 — Looks like she would give you a case of the Kuti Kis.
ANNA KOURNIKOVA — A-plus
Described by Frank Deford as the adorable girl from your sixth-grade class that everyone had a crush on... only the entire world is the sixth-grade class. That pretty much says it all. It took awhile but the mainstream media finally realized four words: Guys dig the Kournikova. That's why she's the most marketable athlete in the world right now even though she hasn't won a WTA tournament, well, ever. Maybe the WTA should start fixing matches like the WWF does, just to sneak her in some semifinals. No jury would convict them.
The best thing about Anna K? She's hot and she knows it. You can almost smell the conceit and condescension seeping from her body; that's why every female on the earth hates her, including all of her peers and pretty much every female on the planet. Was there anything more entertaining than hearing sourpusses Carillo, Navratilova and King enviously tearing Anna apart during HBO's Wimbledon coverage last year?
(WRRRRRRRRRAHHHHHHH! Catfight!!! Saucer of milk, table two?)
My favorite thing about Anna K? She makes an honest effort to flirt with the crowd and play up her pseudo-slutty image on and off the court (you just get the feeling that she's the captain of the Go Team, even if she denies it). With a little work and some re-tooling, Anna could turn herself into a combination of Chris Evert, Dennis Rodman, Madonna, and Rebecca Romjin-Stamos. A black market porn film would DEFINITELY help the cause here. I'm not suggesting it, I'm demanding it.
**** Caveman #2: "Puts the "b" into bitch, but we all want to go there, even if the Russian National Hockey team has already violated her crease."
**** Caveman #1: "She's got the best body in sports, without a doubt. She's Russian, so she may know secret KGB sex-torture tricks. And she can probably drink like a fish. She's the total package."