Caroline Woziniacki’s impersonation of Serena Williams, has been scrutinized in the press over the last few days. Which begs the question, where does the line stop between making a statement on the court, just for fun, and being offensive?
While tennis at one point, may have been traditionally seen as a more conservative sport, that image has been long gone for quite some time. Tennis players for the last two decades have consistently year, by year pushed the envelope by making statements with the types of clothing they have worn to tournaments. Players such as Roger Federer and Tommy Haas recently had a little fun with Brazilian tennis fans by showing up to a tennis match in Brazilian soccer uniforms and proceeded to play tennis-football with an oversized tennis ball. And it’s not uncommon for tennis players to impersonate or poke fun at other players.
So what is different this time? Wozniacki’s joke, while it may not have offended Serena, as evident from her twitter postings, definitely offended other people around the globe. At the end of the day, I think the issue lies deeper. Serena Williams has been criticized by the media in the past for her body, and had this not happened, perhaps this joke wouldn’t have offended so many people.
That being said, we are all willing to take jokes from some people we are close to and not accept as funny the same joke from another person. Had Wozniacki never played a prank on any other tennis player or been in a different forum, something more serious than the Gillette Federer Tour, it could reasonably be seen as offensive. However, one of the things tennis fans love to see is bantering, pranks and silliness between tennis players. Where is the line between having fun and just going too far? Let us know your thoughts, we want to hear from you.