How Eugenie Bouchard's Dismal Season Just Got Even Worse
PARIS -- The SportsPro media company recently ranked Eugenie Bouchard as the world's most marketable athlete -- in any sport, male or female. She is the first woman to top the list in the company's six years of rankings. Yes, they have her ahead of LeBron James, Tom Brady, Roger Federer, Maria Sharapova and any other athlete you want to name.
It's not hard to understand the appeal. In addition to her athleticism, Bouchard has the looks of Grace Kelly. She has a worldwide fan group called the Genie Army. She reached the semifinals or better in three Grand Slams last year and became the first Canadian to play in the finals at Wimbledon. She's No. 6 in the world.
But if Bouchard is going to sell more Rolex watches, swooshed-shoes or Genie-Pova candy, she might want to start winning again.
The 2015 season has been dreadful for Bouchard. She had a decent start by winning four matches at the Australian Open to reach the quarterfinals but has won only three matches combined since then. Two of those were at Indian Wells, and since then, she has won just one match in six tournaments the past two months.
The latest loss was Tuesday's first-round whipping at the French Open by Kristina Mladenovic that wasn't really as close as the 6-4, 6-4 score indicated. Bouchard was down 5-0 in the second set before closing the gap, only to lose anyway. She double-faulted four times and made 24 unforced errors. It was the first time she's lost in the first round of a Slam.
"Honestly I don't know what to say,'' Bouchard said quietly in front of a room of reporters. "It's been kind of the same as how I have been feeling recently on the court. Just not like myself.''
Bouchard changed coaches over the winter, dumping Nick Saviano for Sam Sumyk, and the results haven't been good.
Even when the match was even at 3-3 in the first set, Bouchard said, she knew she was far off from how well she could play.
"I feel like I have been trying to work on what's been going wrong, and I feel like I have been making progress,'' she said. "So to still have matches like this is actually disappointing. But, I mean, at the same time it's just a tennis match and, you know, I need to not worry too much. Life is still good. Everyone has highs and lows in their career. This is a little bit of a low point for me.''
Bouchard said she had no expectations coming into Roland Garros and has none for the foreseeable future. "I'm just going to take it one day at time.''
Perhaps some expectations would be good. You can't win -- or sell -- without having a firm goal.
"Last year her season was exceptional. So it is tough for her to have the same results,'' the 44th-ranked Mladenovic said. "People are expecting a lot. And it's true, people say that she's lost some of her confidence. ... But, you know, if you give her freedom on the court, she has a very high level. So I would say, women's tennis is so dense today. All players play well.''