Responding to media claims that she's too boring, world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki opened her press conference on Friday by mocking the repetitive questions of the tennis press and then taking all queries about her love life, favorite soccer team and piano-playing prowess. It was a fun, calculated and savvy move on Wozniacki's part and intended to change the attitude of a media that can be as snobbish to her as she often can appear to be to them.
Her opening monologue was funnier than any you'll see on late-night television tonight. In it, Wozniacki responded to all the questions she hears after every match without having reporters go through the motions of asking them. How did you feel out there? Are you happy to make it to the fourth round? What do you need to do to win the tournament? Do you deserve to be No. 1? What does your new racquet feel like? She ran through them all and gave the usual trite answers.
Then she asked the press to ask some interesting questions and they responded with some solid queries that lightened the mood and earned Wozniacki some favorable press. On another post, Busted Racquet looked at the seven best questions asked.
I'm not criticizing the tennis media for always asking repetitive questions; there's only so many ways to frame queries about a straight-set, first-round victory. But so many of these press conferences run on auto-pilot and I don't blame Wozniacki for getting bored with the process. But she needs to learn that there's a give-and-take sometimes. These aren't sit-downs with Barbara Walters. Reporters are on a deadline and are looking to get two quotes to add to their articles. Feed them some good ones occasionally and nobody's complaining.
It's a lose-lose battle for players sometimes. If you're engaging like Andy Roddick or Roger Federer, you run the risk of saying something too interesting and getting ripped for being a jerk or having statements taken out of context. If you're boring, nobody shows up and then calls you on it. There's a fine-line to walk.
After Friday's performance, expect a packed house for Wozniacki's next chat with the press. They'll need to bring their A-game. So will she.