MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — 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 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.
During her post-match news conference Bouchard spoke first about her dominating 6-0, 6-3 win over Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands in just 54 minutes. Then she addressed the twirl.
“It was very unexpected,” said Bouchard, who is known for a steely determination, drive and ambition that propelled her from relative obscurity to stardom last year. She reached the semifinals at last year’s Australian and French Opens and the final at Wimbledon, becoming the first Canadian to appear in a Grand Slam final.
“I don’t know, an old guy asking you to twirl. It was funny,” she said.
The 1.78-meter (5 foot-10) blonde is considered the next big star of the women’s game. She broke into the top 10 for the first time last year after her success at Wimbledon where she lost in the final to Petra Kvitova. Her current ranking is the highest ever for a Canadian player.
“I try to get into an aggressive position as much as possible,” she told a television interviewer after her match. Asked to reflect on her breakthroughs last year and her future goals, Bouchard replied, “I don’t think I’ve achieved that much.”
“I’m proud, of course, of what I did last year,” she said, but added, “I want to win a Grand Slam. I want to get to No. 1 in the world. I did good last year but I want to do so much better.”
Bouchard is one of several players sporting this season’s color theme of neon pink and yellow tennis outfits.
No. 1 Serena Williams is wearing a somewhat similar dress, in yellow with pink straps but with a large chunk cut out of the back that she says is meant to draw attention to “the beauty and the shape of the back.”
After Williams’ first-round win Tuesday on Margaret Court Arena, the Australian Open’s second show court, the same presenter asked her to twirl for the crowd, which she often does anyway to thank the crowd after winning.
“Serena is good at her twirl. She does them all the time,” Bouchard told the presenter after her awkward twirl and then added: “Maybe I should cut a hole in my top tonight and show off my back like Serena.”
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