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I stripped for Playboy: Harkleroad
Tue, May 27, 2008
The Straits Times
PARIS - MANY people are going to see a lot more of Ashley Harkleroad this year.

The 61st-ranked American has posed for the August edition of Playboy magazine.

As for her main profession, Harkleroad lost to compatriot Serena Williams 2-6, 1-6 last Sunday in the first round of the French Open.

Said Harkleroad: 'I thought about (posing for Playboy). I'm proud of my body. I was representing a female athlete's body.'

She said she did the shoot two months ago, while recovering from having one of her ovaries removed.

'I was just laying there for three weeks, and an offer came,' Harkleroad said. 'I thought, 'Well, I'm not doing anything right now'.''

The 23-year-old noted other athletes who have appeared in the magazine, including Olympic swimmer Amanda Beard and former volleyball player Gabrielle Reese.

'I'll be the first tennis player. That's kind of cool,' she said. 'There are a few reasons why I did it, but I can't go into it right now.

'But, like I said, I really don't think it's that big a deal. I'm proud of my body. I stay in shape and try to stay fit.'

Harkleroad said she did the shoot at several locations in Los Angeles.

'There were pros and cons that I had to deal with, and I took a few days to figure out exactly what I wanted to do and how I wanted to go about it,' she said, before answering a question about whether she was wearing any clothes during the shoot.

'I was,' she said, before pausing. Then she added, with a laugh: 'Sometimes. You know, it's Playboy.'

Williams, an eight-time Grand Slam champion, said she respected Harkleroad's decision, but ruled out her own pictorial.

'I can't say, right now, it's part of any thought in my mind to be in that mag,' Williams said.

'But I'm happy for her, if that's what she wanted to do. It takes a lot of courage.'

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