There’s this tennis player, see, and she’s playing at the Australian Open this week. She made the final four in the first three Grand Slam tournaments last year, truly a breakout season for the 20-year-old. She even made the final at Wimbledon, where she had previously become the first Canadian to win the junior singles title. Nowadays, she’s ranked number seven in the world, so she’s pretty good at this tennis thing.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could talk about how she overcame a rough first half of her third round match to dominate the #36-ranked French right-hander Caroline Garcia in the second set? We could discuss her steely on-court focus. Let’s break down her solid form on return. Or extoll the fact that she’s parlayed a strong all-around game into five consecutive Grand Slam fourth-round appearances.
Sadly, we can’t. Eugenie Bouchard also happens to be an attractive blonde with a gigawatt smile and a sense of humour. She’s on magazine covers and she tweets about fashion, so Ian Cohen just had to ask her to do a pirouette after her R2 win the other day. The justifiable shit storm to follow has both Channel 7 and Tennis Australia scrambling to deny association with Cohen — if neither the broadcaster nor the athletic body own this guy, why the hell was he doing on-court presentation in the first place? Tourism Australia is livid — they issued a press release stating “It’s completely inappropriate for a Bruce to ask a Shiela to twirl on a tennis court; the correct form is to shout ‘show us your teats’ at the beach.”
It could have been worse guys
Bouchard, for her part, is handling this whole thing better than most, suggesting she’s got that pretty little head of hers screwed on right. When the post-match questions on Friday turned to issues of ‘Twirl-gate’, she sighed, smiled and said, “I was waiting for this.” She followed up by voicing calmly what so many others have been screaming the past few days: “It’s funny…. I’m fine with being asked to twirl, if they ask the guys to… flex their muscles and stuff.”
Last year, after becoming the first Canadian to reach a Grand Slam semi in singles play, Bouchard was asked who her dream date would be. Sam Smith, herself a former pro tennis player — and one might observe, a woman — said “I’m sorry but they asked me to say this” — should have refused to ask. Even the preamble was awkwardly sexist. “You’ve got a lot of fans here, most of them male, and they want to know.”
I’d love for someone to come at a male pro athlete post-game, as he’s sweaty and revelling in a win: “Russell Wilson, you’ve just won the Super Bowl — who would you like to snog?”
Is Genie a good-looking woman? You’re darn tootin’ she is. But I’ve shot tennis tournaments before — they’re all Greek gods, every single one of them. Does that make it okay for crotchety old dudes to plant creepy questions about ‘dream dates’, or make borderline crude suggestions that she dance for the nice people? Absolutely fucking not. Bouchard would be justified to go full primal scream on the next idiot who goes that way in a post-match interview.