Elliot Benchetrit has explained why he asked a girl to peel his banana at the Australian Open, but is it a good enough excuse?
Peeling a banana is hard. It requires having to hold the banana in one hand and peeling away the skin with the other. It takes a few seconds, which could be spent doing something way more productive like stretching it out or swatting away a fly. So it’s totally understandable that tennis player Elliot Benchetrit asked a ball person to peel a banana for him, right?
The answer is no. In fact, it’s not OK at all.
While Benchetrit took a break from his match against Dmitry Popko at the Australian Open last weekend, a ball girl handed him a banana to eat. He looked at her and signalled for her to peel it for him. The girl rightly turned to the umpire with a confused look on her face. Was this tennis player really asking her for peel a banana for him to eat? Yep.
The umpire, John Blom, interjected to tell the tennis player off. Benchetrit then had to take the banana and *shock shock horror horror* peel it himself.
But Benchetrit has now spoken out about the situation, insiting that it was taken out of context on social media. He has also revealed that the umpire told him the girl was “not your slave”.
“At 6-5 in the final set, during the changeover, I asked the ball girl to peel the banana for me as I had put some cream on my hands in order not to sweat,” Benchetrit said, according to a CNN report.
“She had done it once before at the beginning of the match. But the second time the chair umpire stepped in and told me that the ball girl was not my slave and I had to peel the banana myself.
“I could not believe that the umpire said that and I find [it] incredible how this situation got out of control on social media without people knowing what really happened on court.”
He’s right about one thing: the internet had a big reaction to banana gate.
One tennis fan wrote: “Imagine being a ball boy and this tennis player treated you as if you’re their own court personal assistant. The next time they want the ball, throw it in their face to make a point that that’s your job, not giving them water and a towel or peeling their banana or throwing their trash.”
A Twitter user tweeted: “Too right. She’s not a servant. She’s there to do a job. He looked shocked when he was told to do it himself. Whattttt, peel it myself?!”
And another pointed out: “No wonder he wants someone to peel it for him if that’s his banana peeling technique. Poor ball kid, glad the umpire stopped that immediately.”
Whether you agree with the internet’s reaction or not, it certainly prompts much needed questions about the ongoing prevalence of sexism in sports.