Serena Williams was reluctant to discuss suggestions of sexism at the Australian Open after a male on-court interviewer sparked outrage by asking some female players to ’give a twirl’.
However, the world number one acknowledged that leading men’s players would never be asked to do the same in post-match TV interviews.
Both Williams and Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard were asked to spin around to show off their outfits during on-court interviews in Melbourne, prompting an angry response on social media and accusations of sexism levelled at Tennis Australia commentator Ian Cohen, who made the request.
Bouchard looked slightly bemused by the request, which followed her straight-sets win over Kiki Bertens on Wednesday, admitting in her post-match press conference the question had taken her by surprise.
“It was very unexpected. I mean, yeah, I don’t know. An old guy asking you to twirl, it was funny,” said the seventh seed.
Williams, a second-round winner over Vera Zvonareva on Thursday, revealed she had also had the same request and not enjoyed the experience, but would not be drawn on whether it was sexist or not.
The American said: “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 can’t answer that.
“I didn’t really want to twirl because I was just like, you know, I don’t need all the extra attention. But, yeah, it was fine.
“I don’t think and look that deep into it. Life is far too short to focus on that. We have so many other problems we want to deal with that we should focus on. Whether I twirl or not, it’s not the end of the world. It’s about being positive and just moving forward.”