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Here’s What Not to Ask a Female Tennis Player Who Just Made it to the Australian Open Semis

Here’s What Not to Ask a Female Tennis Player Who Just Made it to the Australian Open Semis

Written by Travis Waldron

You’re a tennis reporter covering the Australian Open. Right in front of you, a 19-year-old beats 14th-ranked Ana Ivanovic in the quarterfinals, putting her within two wins of her first Grand Slam title. Now you get to interview her. What should you ask?

Maybe you ask her how she feels about going farther than Serena Williams or Maria Sharapova. Maybe you ask her why she seems to have Ivanovic’s number, given that she also beat the former world number one at Wimbledon last year. Or how it feels to be a 19-year-old in the semifinals of her first Australian Open. Maybe you lean on your knowledge of tennis history and ask her if she knows that she’s the first Canadian woman ever to reach the Aussie semis and the first to reach any Grand Slam semifinal since 1984. You’ve got plenty of options, most of them involving tennis, which is logical, because that is the sport she’s playing — and playing quite well.

Instead, you — intrepid tennis observer that you are — ask 19-year-old Eugenie Bouchard, the story of the 2014 Australian Open thus far, who she would date if she could date any man out there. Then, when an embarrassed Bouchard answers, “Justin Bieber” (she’s Canadian, after all), you ask her to send a personal message to the Biebs, just in case he’s watching (via SB Nation):

Many will be outraged by this, which you seem to realize when you make it clear that “they asked me to say this,” but your logic is impeccable. You’re Samantha Smith, a woman who used to play professional tennis and who now commentates on the game for a living. So you know better than anyone else that there’s no reason to ask serious questions about wonderful athletic achievements here, because as a woman, Eugenie Bouchard is not a serious athlete capable of answering serious questions about wonderful athletic achievements. It’s better off to stick to who she’d like to date, a topic her wandering teenage mind was certainly contemplating throughout the Australian Open quarterfinals. When they criticize you, remind them that this is tennis, and there’s never been any sexism here.

Of course, you’d never ask this sort of question of Rafael Nadal or anyone else in the men’s draw, especially not on the court after a big win. Those guys, they’re serious tennis players. They can talk all day about backhands and forehands and long rallies and artful volleys, about how special it is to be deep in another Aussie Open draw, about what it would mean to win a Grand Slam title. About serious tennis topics. But Eugenie Bouchard? She’s just a woman. No need to care what she thinks.

This post was originally published in ThinkProgress

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Photo Credit: Australian Open

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60 comments

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5:44AM PST on Jan 30, 2014

Sadly in the media one has to kiss ass regardless of being male or female if one wishes to survive let alone get ahead.

5:39AM PST on Jan 30, 2014

Hmmm so this is the level of intelligence being exibited by a women reporter who should have shown her sister (fellow woman)more courtesy. Just imagine the behaviour to women if this reporter was the CEO of the network.

8:01PM PST on Jan 28, 2014

well, that was awkward.

9:14AM PST on Jan 25, 2014

Yes I heard this news before and I too was disgusted. You're absolutely right, they would not have asked a man this question so it is totally anti-feminist. Its true that the problem isn't that she said Justin Bieber its the fact that the presenter asked such a question. Very poor, its only respectful to ask her serious athletic questions.

9:12AM PST on Jan 24, 2014

Crickey! That's awful - on sooooooo many levels. Of course, the journalist needs her wages, but she could have tried something, out of solidarity for a young sister, who's perhaps too young, but who was most certainly knackered at the time and couldn't spot the trap. The journalist could have said 'I was instructed to ask you who you'd like to date, but actually, I'm not going to, as that's none of our business.'. It take a lot of courage to stand up to bullies at work, but being a doormat shouldn't be an option!
Thanks for the post.

5:14AM PST on Jan 24, 2014

Noted, thanks.

4:46AM PST on Jan 24, 2014

Thank you for sharing

3:06AM PST on Jan 24, 2014

It's just not cricket...LOL

2:44AM PST on Jan 24, 2014

Thank you for sharing.

1:11AM PST on Jan 24, 2014

thank you

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Kristina Chew Kristina Chew teaches ancient Greek, Latin and Classics at Saint Peter's University in New Jersey.... more
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