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Strong Is Beautiful

May 26, 2011
WTA's "Strong Is Beautiful" campaign

The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) recently rolled out  its new “Strong is Beautiful” advertising campaign, focusing on the personal stories, pressures and dreams of WTA stars to illustrate that being physically and mentally strong is beautiful.

WTA's "Strong Is Beautiful" campaign

The campaign highlights “athleticism and grace — a unique combination that has turned the stars of the WTA into the most recognizable and followed female athletes on the planet,” according to a WTA statement.

The ads, which feature dozens of stars including Wozniacki, Serena Williams, Kim Clijsters, Ana Ivanovic and Li Na, were shot by filmmaker Dewey Nicks, who produced a similar series for The New York Times Magazine last year.

Sugar and Spice, the first in the “Strong is Beautiful” series, focuses on all of the characteristics necessary to become a successful professional tennis player. World No.1 Caroline Wozniacki described the video this way: “It takes so many elements to reach the top of such a competitive sport as tennis – strength of character, discipline, and will power. All of these things define who we are as people and as athletes. For me the new campaign is able to capture the inner strength of players in a beautiful way.”

Shot by famed Los Angeles photographer and filmmaker Dewey Nicks, the stunning imagery portrays the players in a unique way with an ultimate focus on their inner strength.  The players featured in this clip are Sam Stosur, Ana Ivanovic, Li Na, Caroline Wozniacki, Vera Zvonareva, Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka & Kim Clijsters.

Each 30-second shot in the series features a star tennis player delivering not just a ball but also a voice-over storyline.

In her clip, Kim Clijsters, whose pregnancy and brief retirement from tennis several years ago generated considerable buzz, rejects the idea she had to compromise now that she is a mother.

"Before I had a baby, I devoted all my time to tennis," she says as she returns a forehand crouched in a near split. Afterwards, I had to compromise. Now I devote 100 percent of my time to the baby--and 100 percent to tennis."

Li Na, who recently became the first Asian player to reach the finals in the Australian Open, speaks about the feeling of playing for a nation with 1.3 billion people that has never had a No. 1 ranked player or Grand Slam winner. “No pressure,” she says at the end of the video as the follow-through of a backhand carries both her and her slinky white dress into the air.

Like numerous other players, Serbia's Ana Ivanovic has had to overcome hardships, growing up in war-torn Serbia. Growing up in war-torn Belgrade made tennis practice difficult but it didn't deter her from striving to be the best.

Serena Williams’ ubiquitous self confidence comes through while assuring the viewer that the only reason she brings seven tennis outfits to each Grand Slam is because she intends on wearing them all, for each match she plans on winning.

Victoria Azarenka is known for her power game, using every inch of her body to crush the ball. However, it's not physical strength alone that has propelled the Belarusian up the rankings, but mental prowess too.

Watch what happened behind the scenes of “Strong is Beautiful.” The featured players are Kim Clijsters, Victoria Azarenka, Vera Zvonareva, Serena Williams, Caroline Wozniacki, Li Na, Aravane Rezai, Flavia Pennetta, Rebecca Marino, Francesca Schiavone, Ana Ivanovic, Heather Watson, Sabine Lisicki, Yanina Wickmayer, Andrea Petkovic, Alisa Kleybanova, Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Daniela Hantuchova, Zheng Jie, Gisela Dulko. Billie Jean King, founder of the WTA, lends the campaign her indelible stamp of approval with an appearance at the end of the video.

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