Danish tennis player Caroline Wozniacki has been blasted over what many perceived to be a racist impersonation of Grand Slam champion Serena Williams during a tennis match in Brazil.
The 22-year-old stunned the crowd during an exhibition match against Slovak tennis-pro Maria Sharapova when she bizarrely began stuffing her bra and skirt with towels. The Sao Paulo crowd, which included tennis star Roger Federer, appeared to be bewildered by Wozniacki's antics.
During a press conference, the Dane, who eventually lost the match 6-2, 7-6, confirmed that she was mocking Williams, 33. The pair is said to be friends.
"I really love the crowd here, they're open and they have a lot of fun," Wozniacki told reporters.
Fans of Williams flocked to social networking site Twitter after video footage of Wozniacki went viral, with an overwhelming majority slamming the impersonation as inappropriate.
"Caroline wozniacki imitates Serena Williams in a #racist way. I guess imitating her by being overwhelmingly successful was too hard," Lila Probably tweeted.
"Making fun of black women and Serena's body type shows that you are either a racist or plain stupid," Patrick Rech tweeted.
"Caroline wozniacki did an impression of serena williams by padding her chest and bum, she shud have impersonated how 2 win 15 grand slams," Funmbi comedian tweeted.
While some critics dismissed the racist claims by brushing off the incident as a harmless joke, one writer offered a deep rooted explanation for the public's outrage.
"Given the history and current-day context of racialized standards of beauty, and the hypersexualization of people of color, when a white woman makes fun of a black women's body, especially in a way that hypersexualizes her and draws on the stereotype of black women's big butts, it's racist," feministing.com wrote.
Williams, who was also in Brazil at the time, was likely unfazed by Wozniacki's impersonation as the tennis star often jokes about her own physique. She recently expressed her concerns about finding a bikini.
"In Brazil trying to buy a Brazilian bikini," one tweet read. "Hummmmm do they make Brazilian bikinis for ummm well..... Me???"