Venus Williams of the U.S. makes a forehand return to compatriot Lauren Davis during their second round match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
Lee Jin-man
January 21, 2015

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) To twirl or not to twirl? This is now a question at the Australian Open.

Social media erupted overnight with reaction to Eugenie Bouchard being asked by an on-court interviewer to ''give us a twirl'' and show off her tennis dress after winning her second-round match.

Some called the request by a male presenter sexist. Many on Twitter wondered if 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.''

Anyway, Williams said she always twirls. After winning matches, she walks back to court and twirls with a wave to thank the crowd. She's taking dance class, too.

''I twirl all the time in dance class,'' she said. ''I really have to work on my spotting. My coach tells me to whip my head around.''

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,'' said Bouchard.

By Jocelyn Gecker --


THE WILLIAMS DOUBLES MYSTERY: Venus and Serena Williams prefer not to say why they pulled out of the doubles competition at the Australian Open.

''According to the rules you don't have to give a reason. I think we'll stick with that,'' Venus said Thursday after winning her second-round singles match.

The Williams sisters have won 13 Grand Slam doubles titles together, including four at the Australian Open. They were scheduled to play their first-round match Wednesday but withdrew before it started without explaining why.

The mystery continued Thursday, with Venus saying she was allowed to be coy, which naturally prompted a string of questions.

Was it the heat?

''It was warm,'' the 34-year-old American said. ''I don' think it was as warm as it could have been. But, no, that wasn't it.''

Was there a medical reason? Were doctors consulted?

''No further questions on that,'' Venus said. ''I object. Sustained. Thank you.''

But the questions continued at Serena's post-match news conference.

''I don't think we have to give a reason,'' reiterated Serena, who also advanced to the third round. ''I think Venus answered that already.''

By Jocelyn Gecker --


Australian Open Scene follows tennis' Grand Slam tournament in Melbourne as seen by journalists from The Associated Press. It will be updated throughout the day.

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