Who cares that Eugenie Bouchard became the first Canadian to advance to the semi-finals of the Australian Open last night? Apparently the most important thing is that she would like to date Justin Bieber.
Moments after knocking out Ana Ivanovic in a hard-fought three-set upset, Bouchard faced the double standard of the sports world head-on as the courtside interviewer Samantha Smith pointed up at a clutch of men in the stadium known as the Genie Army.
"You're getting a lot of fans here," noted Smith, a former British tennis champ. "A lot of them are male, and they want to know: If you could date anyone in the world of sport, of movies – I'm sorry, they asked me to say this – who would you date?"
Blushing like the teenager she is, Bouchard giggled and replied: "Justin Bieber." As members of the Genie Army booed their displeasure, Bouchard looked at the camera and added: "Justin, if you're watching … um: Hey!"
While Bouchard took the question good-naturedly, plenty of fans were offended on her behalf, venting their displeasure over Twitter.
"RIDICULOUS," declared Katarina Williams, a sports reporter based in New Zealand. "Was there nothing tennis-related she could've actually asked instead?" Rick VanSickle, an Ontario wine writer declared: "Bizarre question to ask an athlete after historic tennis win."
(Meanwhile, plenty of fans – primarily men – also took to Twitter to criticize Bouchard for her choice in men.)
If Bouchard was offended by the question, she didn't show it. In a postmatch interview with the New York Times on Tuesday, she elaborated on her desire to meet Bieber.
"Don't worry, it's going to happen," she told reporter Ben Rothenberg. "Yes. But I think I need to do something bigger to get his attention, like win a Slam, something like that. I won't even have to do anything, and maybe he'll just reach out, and we'll tweet or something like that."