Lawn tennis star Caroline Wozniacki has been accused of racism after stuffing her top and skirt with towels to impersonate fellow tennis player Serena Williams during a match in Brazil on Tuesday.
The 22-year-old Dane pranced around the court to laughter and whistles from the crowd as she played a point against Maria Sharapova in the exhibition match in Sao Paulo.
But the former world No.1 has now attracted criticism on social media for impersonating the Grand Slam champion, who is also her friend.
An article on the website feministing.com said: “…given the history and current-day context of racialised standards of beauty, and the hyper-sexualisation of people of colour, when a white woman makes fun of a black woman’s body, especially in a way that hyper-sexualises her and draws on the stereotype of black women’s big butts, it’s racist.”
Hass Dellal, the executive director of the Australian Multicultural Foundation, said Wozniacki probably did not intend her actions to be racist, but they could be interpreted as such.
“It’s quite inappropriate to be mocking or making jest of people’s physical shape or image, especially when it’s such an issue with young people today,” he said.
“I can see how some people could interpret that, simply because of stereotyping, as being racist.
It’s not the first time Wozniacki has imitated her friend Williams during an exhibition match.
She performed a similar stunt in December last year, when she also danced around the court to a Rihanna song.
And Andy Roddick has also impersonated Williams by stuffing towels down his pants on court.
A commenter on YouTube also posted about the incident, offering Woznaicki some advice: “Maybe if? she imitated Serena’s actual tennis, she’d win a little more.”
Wozniacki is yet to win a grand slam title.
Williams declined to comment on the incident.
Williams and Wozniacki played each other in an exhibition match at the Barbados Invitational Tennis Exhibition’s “Tennis Pon de Rock” in November 2009. (ESPN)