Bouchard still feels hometown pressure
Eugenie Bouchard still feels the pressure ahead of her first match at the Rogers Cup, even if the women’s event isn’t in her hometown of Montreal this year.
Bouchard, from Westmount, Que., remains Canada’s top women’s singles tennis player despite dwindling down from a careerhigh No. 5 ranking in 2014 to her current position as No. 73.
And while Toronto isn’t home — “as in the place where I grew up and played tennis at since I was eight years old” — Bouchard is still feeling the nerves before Tuesday’s match against No. 51 Donna Vekic of Croatia.
“Look, Serena (Williams) still says she feels nervous before matches, so I don’t think it’s ever something that any athlete completely masters,” Bouchard said. “I think it’s more about how well you deal with it. And it’s just an ongoing battle, really. Some days I feel like I’m better at dealing with it than others.
“I feel like for sure I’ve learned more and been able to kind of maybe detach it a little bit and, really make it ‘OK, this is my job,’ and it’s not, let’s say, so personal. But it’s an ongoing process. It’s something I’ll always have to deal with for the rest of my career.”
Bouchard, who made a name for herself when she reached the Wimbledon final in 2014 after two straight Grand Slam semifinal appearances, has failed to make it past the second round in five straight tournaments.
A wild-card entry this week, Bouchard will open her Rogers Cup against Vekic during the day session Tuesday instead of the prime-time night session usually given to top Canadians.
Vekic won her spot in the main draw via a two-round qualifying tournament over the weekend.
Still, she knows a victory Tuesday won’t be easy. “She’s a good player,” Bouchard said. “I watched her match at Wimbledon against ( Johanna) Konta. That was a really good match, I thought.”
In an effort to find the level of success that has eluded her over the last three years, Bouchard trained with former No. 1 Andre Agassi and trainer Gil Reyes in Las Vegas this summer.
She even returned to the ITF Pro circuit, a step below the WTA, for a tournament in April, reaching the quarter-finals before losing to 896th-ranked American Victoria Duval.