When you’re constantly under the microscope like female tennis star Caroline Wozniacki is, no move goes unnoticed or under scrutinized.
The 22-year-old Dane has come under fire recently for impersonating fellow female tennis player Serena Williams during a match against Maria Sharapova in Sao Paolo. What some, including 17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer saw as funny, others perceived to be racist.
Although only Wozniacki understands her true intentions, I don’t believe her imitation was racist, but instead just another enjoyable tennis gag.
In case you haven’t seen the polarizing impression, here it is.
But how much can we make of Wozniacki’s impersonation? After all, tennis superstars on the men’s side have been poking fun at other players through imitation for years now. Andy Roddick and Novak Djokovic are both well known for their on-court entertainment.
This was retired tennis star Andy Roddick doing his best tennis impersonations at a tournament in 2011.
And here’s a look at some of the Djoker’s best efforts over the years.
In both cases their intentions were never brought into question. Most likely because tennis players have become accustomed to this sort of humor over the years. Players watch each other for three or four straight hours sometimes during matches, and obviously they pick up on each other’s mannerisms and traits.
Perhaps Wozniacki crossed the line in the eyes of many when she began accentuating Williams’ figure.
But she wasn’t the first to use props in an attempt at humor on the tennis court, and she won’t be the last. Djokovic used a blonde wig during one of his Maria Sharapova impersonations, and Roddick stuffed towels down the back of his shorts just last year when he imitated Williams.
What makes Wozniacki’s impersonation so much more divisive?
Regardless of the reason, it’s more than fair to be offended by Caroline Wozniacki’s Serena Williams impersonation. Just as it is fair to have been offended by Roddick’s and Djokovic’s impressions.
Sure, some will call it harmless fun, some will label it distasteful and others will even find it racist.
But if you ask me, Wozniacki was just doing what so many other tennis stars had done before her, and what many more will do in the future: aiming to ignite some laughter from the crowd in the midst of a lighthearted match.
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