The Australian Open has had a few issues over the years, but they've mostly been limited to players complaining about late night matches. This time around though, it's different.
Canadian tennis star Eugenie Bouchard was asked for a twirl by Channel 7 presenter Ian Cohen in an interview following her second round 6-0, 6-3 demolition of her Dutch opponent Kiki Bertens.
"Can you give us a twirl?" was his request, to which a surprised Bouchard replied: "A twirl?" Intent at making the young tennis star show-off her pink dress to the crowd, the gray-haired interviewer explained: "A twirl, like a pirouette, here you go!"
Bouchard, somewhat embarrassingly, obliged to the strange request, which was later deemed sexist world over. Twitter soon flooded up with fans upset at Cohen, who according to them, had coaxed the 20-year-old into twirling.
Eugenie Bouchard is a world class athlete with world class earning power. Not a toddler or a beauty pageant contestant. (2/2) #twirl— Henk van Leeuwen (@HenkvanL) January 21, 2015
Of course, there were some who thought it was just a lighthearted request and had nothing to do with sexism.
FFS, it was qstn related to Serena Williams, not sexism. This is why pro sports is so white bread these days. Too many clicktivists #twirl— Llama Farma (@llamafarma1) January 21, 2015
Sexist or not, tennis fans have a reason to be upset that the post-game interview of such a rising star didn't have many tennis-related questions. Last year too, the Quebec native was asked about whom she would like to go on a date with, moments after she had reached her first career Grand Slam semi-final.
Instead of focusing on her sporting achievements, it seems that interviewers often deem it appropriate to ask about her personal affairs. But the good-natured Bouchard was a good sport back then just as she was this time around. Later in the press conference today, when she was asked about the "twirl" request, she admitted that it was unusual but didn't seem to be bothered by it. "I don't know, an old guy asking you to twirl. It was funny," she said.
Hence, while the dating question or the twirling request aren't appropriate, if the bubbly Bouchard doesn't have a problem with it, the rest of the world shouldn't blow it out of proportion either.
Meanwhile, Cohen – the twirl interviewer – has swiftly been disowned by Channel 7, who are claiming that he is the employee of Tennis Australia. This is despite the fact that the microphone he was holding clearly had a Channel 7 logo on it.