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Caroline Wozniacki's Sports Illustrated shoot is tacky sexual conformism - would Andy Murray pose nude?

By Fionola Meredith

If you're into optical illusions, then I urge you to check out Caroline Wozniacki's swimsuit in the Sports Illustrated 2016 swimsuit edition. It truly is a marvel of trompe l'oeil, tricking the eye into thinking that she's modelling a lacy red costume when in fact she's wearing... nothing at all. 'Athletes in Body-Paint' is the title of the spread.

It's skilled work and technically complex, but I must admit that the images leave me feeling pretty disappointed.

Wozniacki is one of the world's great tennis stars, a woman of enormous talent in her own field.

It seems a bit demeaning to be posing in the glorified nip under a layer of greasepaint.

To my mind it detracts from her hard-won standing as an athlete and turns her into just another glamour model, lolling suggestively in front of the camera.

There's a desperate, try-hard look to the whole thing that makes me feel a little bit sad. It's as if her tremendous accomplishments count for nothing in comparison with looking tasty for the boys.

Making a decision like this is entirely up to Wozniacki, of course. If she chooses to pose this way it's really nobody's business but her own.

And, of course, it's possible that the public humiliation when she was unceremoniously dumped by Rory McIlroy as their wedding invitations went out may still be lingering in her mind. She wouldn't be the first woman to try to recover personal pride by triumphantly parading her physical assets, painted or not.

There's nothing wrong with women looking and acting sexually if it's a genuine expression of empowerment and desire. I'm just not convinced that posing in your scanties - or less - for Sports Illustrated is either of those things.

The real clincher, of course, which proves the imbalance in this rather invidious situation, is that there's no male equivalent. I mean, could you imagine - even for one fleeting moment - a male tennis star like Andy Murray posing in the nude with only a few delicate strokes covering his modesty?

Can you see him raising his hands above his head and looking suggestively over his shoulder while only a thin coating of grease-paint shields his rear from our eager eyes? No, I didn't think so.

It could never happen and that's why Caroline Wozniacki's act of apparent rebellion - in coyly baring all - is nothing more than a fairly tacky piece of sexual conformism.

But do enjoy it, if that's your thing.

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