Tennis star Bouchard downplays ‘sexist’ question
Melbourne, Australia–Eugenie Bouchard on Friday attempted to play down controversy over a courtside interviewer who asked her to ‘give us a twirl’ after it was widely blasted as sexist on social media and by legend Billie Jean King.
Most on-court interviews at the Australian Open deal with the match and form before getting into some lighter questions, but with rising star Bouchard, 20, it was more about what she was wearing.
“Can you give us a twirl and tell us about your outfit?” asked Channel Seven’s male on-court interviewer after her second round clash late Wednesday.
In her post match press conference Bouchard, who reluctantly did as asked, said the request had been “very unexpected”.
“I mean, yeah, I don’t know. An old guy asking you to twirl, it was funny,” she said.
On Friday, she attempted to take some heat out of the controversy after it was dubbed “twirlgate” by Australian media and widely reported around the world.
The Canadian said her friends had been texting her “saying I dance and twirl well and stuff as jokes”.
“I think it was just kind of funny. You know, I’m fine with being asked to twirl if they ask the guys to flex their muscles and stuff.”
King took to Twitter to blast the line of on-court questioning.
Bouchard last year was asked who her ideal date would be, to which she replied Justin Bieber.
“The Australian Open interviewer asking the women ‘to twirl’ on court is out of line,” said King.
“This is truly sexist. If you ask the women, you have to ask the guys.
“Let’s focus on accomplishments of both genders and not our looks,” she added.
Asked about King’s comments calling the courtside questioning sexist, Bouchard said: “Personally I’m not offended.
“No, I think it was an in-the-moment thing and it was funny. But, yeah, I mean, it’s just funny how it’s taken a life of its own.
“I’m just going to try to focus on my tennis.”
Earlier this week Serena Williams, who had unveiled a new backless playing dress, had also been asked to do a twirl, and also reluctantly obliged.
Asked after her match on Thursday whether it was sexist, Williams replied: “Well, a commentator asked me to twirl. I wouldn’t ask Rafa (Nadal) or Roger (Federer) to twirl.
“Whether it’s sexist or not, I don’t know. I don’t know. I can’t answer that.”