Bouchard: Twirl ask 'unexpected'

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

MELBOURNE, Australia -- To twirl or not to twirl? That is now the question at the Australian Open.

Eugenie Bouchard's jaw dropped a little and her eyes went wide when the male presenter conducting her on-court interview at the Australian Open on Wednesday made an unusual request: "Can you give us a twirl?"

"A twirl?" the 20-year-old Canadian asked.

"A twirl, like a pirouette, here you go," coaxed her white-haired interviewer on Margaret Court Arena, urging the Wimbledon runner-up to show the crowd her outfit, a pink skirt and top with bright yellow straps.

Somewhat uncomfortably, the No. 7-ranked player twirled. Then she laughed and buried her face in her hands.

Social media erupted with reaction, some calling the request by the male presenter sexist and many wondering whether a man would be asked to twirl after winning a match.

Serena Williams suspects not.

"I wouldn't ask Rafa or Roger to twirl," Williams said Thursday, referring to Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

Williams was asked to twirl, too, by the same presenter a day earlier.

"I didn't really want to twirl because I was just like, you know, I don't need all the extra attention," said the No. 1-ranked player, who is aiming to win her 19th Grand Slam singles title.

She preferred not to enter the debate of whether the request was sexist.

"Life is far too short to focus on that," she said. "Whether I twirl or not, it's not the end of the world."

In any case, Williams said she always twirls. After winning matches, she walks back to the court and twirls with a wave to thank the crowd.

On Wednesday, Bouchard told her post-match news conference the twirl request was "very unexpected."

"I don't know, an old guy asking you to twirl. It was funny," Bouchard said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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