By Brodie Widdifield
(August 8, 2017) TORONTO, CANADA – It has been a difficult year for Eugenie Bouchard. Canada’s most popular female player has only won three matches at tournament twice this year, in Sydney and Madrid, and saw her singles ranking plummet to 70 in the world heading into the Rogers Cup tournament in Toronto.
Unfortunately, her struggles continued Tuesday as she lost in the first round to Donna Vekic, 6-4, 6-2.
“I think I just made too many unforced errors, you know. I’m obviously a bit low in confidence right now. So it’s tough to get through tough matches when you’re in a moment like that.”
As for how to build her confidence, the Canadian kept her answer short. “Win matches.” Nothing else. Unfortunately, as is often the case in tennis, things go from bad to worse when struggling players drop in ranking and are forced to player tougher opponents early in tournaments. Bouchard was also up front about how she feels about the pressure she faces while playing in Canada, when asked about fellow Canadian 17-year-old Bianca Andreescu. “Yeah, I think she’s a good player. I practiced with her a little bit last week in D.C., and I think she had a good run last week. So, you know, someone else can carry the burden of Canada.”
In reality, Bouchard has turned to playing doubles to keep up her match fitness, and found success later in the day after her singles loss, as her and her partner Karolína Plíšková defeated Dominika Cibulkova and Kirsten Flipkens 6-4, 6-2. “Yeah, Karolina just texted me out of the blue last week and said, Do you want to play? And I said, Sure. I mean, you don’t say no to No. 1 in the world, right? But I’m super grateful she asked. And she’s a very chill person, and it’s cool.”
“Yeah, it’s fun to play with some of the girls. Most of the ones that I have played with have been very kind of relaxed about the doubles on the court. And we more just go for our shots and have fun and try some strategy here and there and just kind of try to improve as players.”
As for how Bouchard feels about her age, just 23, and her chances of getting her career back on track, the Canadian has a mixture of feelings. Yes and no. I mean, I guess I’m relatively young, but I feel old in a way. You know, I’ve been on tour a bunch of years already. And I think it’s important to feel the pressure of time a little bit, to get into action, you know, and not just relax and let years go by. That would be the worst thing I could do. But if the media doesn’t put pressure on me, I mean, that would be nice.”
Bouchard will continue her doubles campaign on Thursday when her and Plíšková will take on Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Kveta Peschke in the second round.