Sports SECTION REDIRECT: tennis

Agnieszka Radwanska on naked photo shoot: 'It was great, really fun'

Agnieszka Radwanska, ranked fourth in the world and seeded second at this week's Southern California Open in Carlsbad, was recently featured in ESPN The Magazine body issue, which shows athletes tastefully unclothed.

Radwanska's photo shoot had her sitting naked by a swimming pool filled with tennis balls. She had her arms covering her front and she was smiling.

But the 24-year-old Radwanska comes from Poland, a heavily Roman Catholic country, and her naked posing caused an uproar. She had been an ambassador for a campaign called, "I'm not ashamed of Jesus," which is run by a group called the Youth Crusade. The group took away her ambassadorship, it said in a statement, because of "immoral behavior."

It was a relaxed and smiling Radwanska who spoke Monday in Carlsbad in advance of her first match later in the week.

Radwanska said she didn't have a second thought about doing the photo shoot when ESPN approached her and never expected the reaction it received back in Poland.

"It was a great thing to do, I thought," she said. "I had never done that kind of photo shooting before and it was great, really fun. And it was for a sports magazine and the whole interview inside was about my tennis, so why would anyone mind? That's what I thought."

She isn't the first tennis player to have appeared in that issue. Serena Williams, Daniela Hantuchova and Vera Zvonareva have done the photo shoots in the past and this year's issue included pregnant beach volleyball star Kerri Walsh Jennings and 77-year-old golfer Gary Player.

Radwanska comes here after what she called "a pleasing" start to the summer hard-court season. She lost Sunday in the final of the event at Stanford, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, to Dominika Cibulkova.

Etc.

Fifth-seeded Samantha Stosur, who won the U.S. Open in 2011, received a wild card into the main draw here and quickly advanced to the second round with a 7-5, 6-1 win over American Varvara Lepchenko.

CoCo Vandeweghe, a 21-year-old from nearby Rancho Santa Fe, beat Olga Savchuk of Ukraine, 7-6 (3), 6-3, Monday to qualify for the main draw. Vandeweghe is ranked No. 199 in the world and has won only four WTA tournament main draw matches this season.

Her biggest win came in Monterrey, Mexico, where she upset eventual Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli. Savchuk is ranked No. 180 in the world.

Vandeweghe said she has been concentrating hard this summer on fitness work and thinks that by being in better shape she can avoid all the injuries that plagued her last season and early this season. In 2010, Vandeweghe had made it to the quarterfinals here.

In an all-Italian marathon, Flavia Pennetta lost 11 of the last 13 points to Francesca Schiavone and a match that ended about a minute shy of three hours. The final score was 7-6 (4), 6-7 (6), 6-4.

diane.pucin@latimes.com

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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