With this post, and the news that American tennis star Andy Roddick just got engaged to model Brooklyn Decker, we're going to begin what we hope will be a regular feature here at The Life of Kings: The Big Five.
Every few days, we'll pick a subject, sometimes random, and rank it accordingly. It might be as important as The Five Greatest Orioles of All Time, or as trivial as The Five Best Villains in a Sports Movie. Today, we begin with the trivial in honor of Mr. Roddick and the beautiful game of tennis. For whatever reason, tennis wives always seem to have an extra dash in visibility that the devoted spouses of athletes in other sports don't seem to get. You can't watch a men's tennis tournament without the camera panning to a player's wife or girlfriend, and she always seems to be biting her lip, furiously clapping her hands between points. It's awesome. It's what makes tennis equal parts soap opera and sporting event. There is no place to hide in the stands of Centre Court. In the spirit of 40-Love, we give you: The Five Most Beautiful Tennis Wives or Girlfriends 5. Camille Neviere, former girlfriend of Marco Baghdatis: Neviere, apparently a French model, burst onto the scene during Baghdatis' run to the final of the 2006 Australian Open. The cameras were showing her so much, we practically saw more of her than we did Marco. The two are supposedly no longer together, but as these pictures (which appear to be all safe for work) suggest, they'll always have Melbourne. 4. Jennifer Scholle, former girlfriend of James Blake: Most of the pictures of Ms. Scholle, who posed for Maxim a few years ago, are a bit too randy for me to link to, but pop her name into a Google Image search and you'll understand what I'm talking about. Ms. Scholle is some kind of model/actress, and seems to feel fairly comfortable being interviewed in a skimpy swimsuit, according to this YouTube clip. Sadly, it didn't work out between she and Blake, but he moved on to another babe, soccer star Heather Mitts, until they recently broke up as well. Seriously, much respect, Mr. Blake. 3. Steffi Graf, wife of Andre Agassi: You might consider this ranking too high, but I do not care one bit. Mrs. Agassi is classy and classical, and had more game than Maria Sharapova or Anna Kournikova can ever dream of. In addition to having the most Grand Slams in history, she also has the best legs in the history of tennis. Graf was also one of the first female athletes to pose for Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit issue, and proof that muscles were incredibly sexy -- way sexier than stick figure models eating celery and boiled carrots to stay thin. 2. Brooklyn Decker/Mandy Moore: Out of respect to Roddick, we'll give him a dual entry here, one for his future wife (Decker) and one for his former girlfriend (Moore). Ms. Decker may be one of the most beautiful women on the planet, but Moore gets extra points for her comedic turn on Scrubs, one of the most underrated comedies in TV history. Moore managed to make awkwardness seem sexy on Scrubs, and gets extra points for never going the Britney Spears route. Decker gets extra points, though, for her appearances on SI.com this season, where she picked football games against the magazine's venerable handicapper Paul Zimmerman, a favorite scribe of Life of Kings. Roddick may never match Roger Federer's game, but it's clear he's got plenty of game in the romance department. 1. Bridget Wilson (Sampras): Admittedly, this ranking is based, in part, on the unconditional love I have for the Adam Sandler movie Billy Madison ("How 'bout you Sideburns? You want some of this milk?"), but Mrs. Sampras is a study in class, grace, humor and beauty. She performed credibly in the movie Higher Learning, and even did a nice job playing Matthew McConaughey's fiancee in The Wedding Planner. That's right, I sat through The Wedding Planner. I'm not (totally) ashamed to admit it. Plus, who could ever forget the scene where she climbed into Billy Madison's pool and smacked him around until he broke out in song. Sampras never really got his due for being as good as he was during his career. It seems like people have already decided Federer is the Greatest of All Time, forgetting all those years when Pete dominated. Unfortunately, it seemed like the only time the public truly seemed in awe of him were the multiple occasions when he thumped Agassi in Grand Slam finals. I guess Sampras' reward is that, despite the fact that he's nerdy and balding, he's married to someone this stunning. Game. Set. Match. Honorable Mention: Marat Safin's harem of blonds that sits court side at most of his matches; Brooke Shields; Boris Becker's ex-wife Barbara Feltus; Tommy Haas' actress girlfriend Sara Foster; Miss Universe Natalie Glebova, wife of Paradorn Srichaphan. Because we at least pretend to care more about words here at Life of Kings than we do pictures of half-naked ladies, here is some recommended reading: David Foster Wallace's incredible profile of Roger Federer from the New York Times PLAY Magazine. Possibly one of the best sports features of the last few years.