Outrage After Female Tennis Star Asked to 'Twirl' on Court

"Can you give us a twirl and tell us about your outfit?" commentator asked.

ByABC News
January 23, 2015, 9:12 AM

— -- It's a twirl that now has some heads spinning.

Just moments after seventh-ranked Canadian tennis star Eugenie Bouchard crushed her opponent in 54 minutes to advance to the third round of the Australian Open on Wednesday, Australian commentator, Ian Cohen, asked her to “twirl” to show off her hot-pink outfit.

The interviewer’s request has now sparked a flood of criticism and cries of sexism.

In a video of the incident, Bouchard can be seen on the tennis court following her easy defeat of Kiki Bertens in the second round of the competition.

Cohen then tells the 20-year-old: “Now yesterday, or last night, you tweeted that you loved Serena [Williams]’ outfit. ... She was kind enough to give us a twirl. Can you give us a twirl and tell us about your outfit?”

Bouchard, who had been beaming at the beginning of the presenter’s remarks, appeared slightly taken aback by the request but she gamely complied.

“A twirl? Like?--” she asked.

“A twirl, a pirouette, here we go,” the presenter replied. The crowd cheered.

Bouchard performed a spin, covered her face, then said: “I mean I have to say, I honestly think Serena’s outfit is the best, even better than mine. I’m going to give her that.”

In a post-match interview, Bouchard called Cohen’s request “very unexpected.”

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

There was strong criticism of Cohen on Twitter, even sparking the hashtag #twirlgate, with some people asking whether male tennis stars could be asked to do twirls on the court.

Tennis legend Billie Jean King, a 12-time grand slam champion, tweeted, "The Australian Open interviewer asking the women to 'twirl' on court is out of line. This is truly sexist. If you ask the women you have to ask the guys to twirl as well. Let's focus on competition and accomplishments of both genders and not our looks.'"

But some felt too much was being made of the incident.

On YouTube, one commenter wrote: “She could've easily said no if she felt uncomfortable.“

Bouchard seems to be taking "twirl gate" in stride however, saying, "I'm not offended. I'm fine with being asked to twirl if they ask the guys to flex."