"Do you have to grunt?" is the new "do you deserve to be No. 1?"
The ascension of Victoria Azarenka to the top of the WTA rankings brings about a number of changes to women's tennis. One of them is that press conferences involving the world No. 1 will now contain at least one thinks-it's-more-clever-than-it-is question about grunting instead of a how-do-you-phrase-this-without-sounding-like-a-condescending-jerk question about deserving to be No. 1 without winning a Grand Slam.
To her credit, Azarenka is still trying to creatively defend herself on the grunting issue rather than speaking in platitudes. Consider this exchange from Doha.
Q. [...] [Is grunting] something you could go on the court and adjust like that, or is this something that will be with us for your entire career?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Well, it will be with me for my entire career. But let me put it that way: Do you snore?
Q. I do, actually.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Can you control that?
Q. Well, there are ways, I guess.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: There are ways? But you still snore, right?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: So it's natural to you, right? So that's natural to me, too, the way I play tennis. That's it.
Q. I mean, when people bring this up or people say...
VICTORIA AZARENKA: Sorry, but it probably distracts your wife, if you have a wife, I don't know, right?
Q. There you go.
VICTORIA AZARENKA: There you go.
The fact that Azarenka's analogy is ridiculous is besides the point. (I drool in my sleep. That doesn't make it socially acceptable to do at the dinner table.) What's important is that she took down that reporter like a Grand Slam qualifier. It was the interview equivalent of a double bagel.
He lobbed up a question with uncertainty and had it smashed back in his face. How do you not fib when asked if you're a snorer? Even if you saw logs like Paul Bunyan, that's a must-lie situation.
- Victoria Azarenka