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Stan Wawrinka and the court of Mercury

French Open champ Stan Wawrinka is among those going au natural for ESPN’s 2015 Body Issue.

  Sam Wawrinka at the Aegon Championships, Queen's Club, England, before Wimbledon this year.

Sam Wawrinka at the Aegon Championships, Queen's Club, England, before Wimbledon this year.

“My body is for my tennis, it's for my sport,” the man they call “Stanimal” told the mag. “I'm not a model at all. I don't work out to go to the beach, I work out to play well and to do well on the court.

Precisely. We each have the body we need for our work. That doesn’t mean we should abuse it. But that idea should disabuse of the need for a cookie-cutter look. We can’t all be models, nor do we all want to be.

That said, Stan the Man looks better with his clothes off than on. Some people just do. ESPN has caught him in flight – body torqued, arms flung back. In shorts – particularly the plaid numbers he wore at the French – he looks stocky, dumpy almost. Devoid of the baggy wear, he is like Renaissance artist Giambologna’s fleet-footed Mercury, forever free.

  Giambologna’s Renaissance sculpture “Flying Mercury,” photographed by William Henry Goodyear (before 1923). Brooklyn Museum Archives.

Giambologna’s Renaissance sculpture “Flying Mercury,” photographed by William Henry Goodyear (before 1923). Brooklyn Museum Archives.

Stan notwithstanding, the Body Issue was a bit meh this year. It just didn’t sing as it did in 2013.

But then it had Colin Kaepernick – a man with a body to rival anything Giambologna ever created.