January 23, 2011
Continuing a recent run of tour de force press conferences at the Australian Open, world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki told reporters a made-up story about getting into a scrap with a kangaroo at a Melbourne park earlier in the week. Some members of the media fell for the gag and reported it as fact before Wozniacki later clarified she was kidding.
The 20-year-old Dane has been fighting back against allegations that she's a boring interview. Two days earlier, she held her own press conference in which she asked the usual, mundane post-match questions to herself and then held court answering "interesting" queries including ones about her love-life, favorite football team and childhood.
Wozniacki continued to keep the press on her toes after her fourth-round win on Sunday when she opened by telling a story about a kangaroo cutting her in the park. Despite a half-dozen follow-up questions, nobody in the press corps decided to ask whether Wozniacki was serious or not.
Q. What is the most exciting thing you've ever done? If it's illegal, we promise not to tell anyone [...]
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: [...] Well, the other day I went to the park and I saw this kangaroo lying there. If you've seen, I'm playing with the thing on my shin here. It was lying there. So I wanted to go over and help it out. As I went over to it, it just started to be aggressive and it actually cut me. So I think that's pretty exciting. But I learned my lesson and I just started running away. [...]
Q. It was a baby?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: It wasn't big. It was a baby. I just wanted to help it out. I found out that I shouldn't do that.
Q. Scratch you pretty good?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Yeah, it scratched me pretty well. That's why I'm playing with this tape on my shin.
Q. Did you go to the doctor?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Yeah, I went to the doctor. They cleaned it and everything. They wanted to do a few stitches. I said, There's no way you're going to do stitches. I just told them to glue it together. I'm playing with the Steri Strips. It's looking fine. So everyone is happy.
Q. You've done a lot of boxing. Did you think about boxing the kangaroo as it took a swing at you?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I'm sure that was ready for some boxing. I like boxing.
It looked so cute. But once it started scratching me, I was a coward and I run away.
The press conference continued with tennis talk and Wozniacki eventually left without cluing in reporters that she actually got cut while walking on a treadmill. When some outlets reported the kangaroo story as fact, Wozniacki had to return to clarify that it was all a gag.
I'm sorry if I caused an inconvenience. I really didn't mean to. I didn't think you would believe it because I already told the Danish press and they know. I thought it was out there already. So I just wanted to apologize and that's why I'm here. I'm hoping that the press conferences in the future will still be funny. I promise if I make a joke like this, I'll make sure to clarify it before I leave.
In three days, Wozniacki has managed to transform her off-court image from aloof and snobby to entertaining and mischievous. Normally, one can only kill their reputations in such a short period of time. For her to change the narrative so quickly is a public relations triumph.