Yesterday, while going through one of the mid sized papers in this part of the country, The Pioneer and another larger paper, The Indian Express, I came across a picture of Sania Mirza in each of the papers.
These pictures were of her taken during the match against Svetlana Kuznetsova in the second round of Wimbledon. After a brilliant fight, our girl who is on the journey to become a lady, lost to Svetlana. The photo in the first newspaper had her squatting on the ground using the inside of her ankles, in a semi-slumping way. Under the guise of showing a Mirza who is famished after the match, the newspaper was trying to display as much of skin of hers as were visible. The other photo had her upper hand in the dropping motion after one of her first serves. This photo too had her tee moved up due to the serve.
Both these photos only display the sheer commercialization of media that has happened of late. This kind of stuff was a common occurence during the early to mid nineties during women's tennis matches, on TV. Then there came a rule from one of the Grand Slams ( I don't remember which one! ) which prevented TV cameras and if I'm not mistaken, even ball boys, from placing themselves below a certain height to shoot. The ball boys were not allowed to be in a bending position during serves. (Someone correct me if this is still so! ).
The phenomenon has started to move to the print media now. And as is the case in all such crass commercializations, the esteemed Times of India stays at the top. Today they published an almost half page picture of Sania again obviously caught in a position that makes her look more like a two piece model on some sunscreen's ad campaign.
Claiming that the players are fine with clothes like that on court, is hardly an argument. Whether its for higher endorsement fees or for comfort, the media has no right in commoditizing these players. That doesn't give newspapers or other media channels to exploit them. I hope TOI and the other papers realize this sooner or later and focus more on the sport and the sportsperson and less on glam. After all, a majority of them are already heading up on the skin-display factors, what with upto 4 sheets of pictures dedicated in the form of Bombay Times, Lucknow Times, Delhi Times, Bangalore Times...