Froyo, a botched Kiss Cam and the delicious details of the Eugenie Bouchard date
Tennis player Eugenie Bouchard and fan John Goehrke had a plan: When the Kiss Cam focused on them on Wednesday night during the third quarter of the Brooklyn Nets game, they'd be ready.
The only problem? The two overstayed their halftime visit to the VIP buffet, loading up on beef sliders and froyo.
"We were supposed to be on the Kiss Cam, but I guess we missed our opportunity," Goehrke said in a phone interview on Thursday with espnW, declining to reveal the specifics of their plan.
That bummer was barely a blip for the 20-year-old University of Missouri student on a night of bizarre reality. The 22-year-old Bouchard had agreed to a bet with him on Twitter, saying the Atlanta Falcons wouldn't blow their gargantuan lead against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI and that she would go on a date with Goehrke should the Patriots win.
As we all know, they did. And Bouchard agreed to stay true to her tweet.
"When I agreed to go on the date with him, I didn't even look at his Twitter profile," said Bouchard in a separate call on Thursday. "I answered 'Sure.' ... And his profile picture was of Tiger Woods, so I thought, 'Oh my gosh, this is one of those crazy fans on Twitter.' I had no idea what to expect. I didn't know what he looked like. He could have been anyone. We talked about how funny that was [last night]."
He turned out to be Goehrke, who is a massive LeBron James fan and has since switched his Twitter photo to one of him in a James Cavaliers jersey. After Bouchard's agent reached out to Goehrke following the Super Bowl, the plan was set for Bouchard to fly him to New York. Then, the two of them would meet up and take in the Nets game from courtside seats.
"I was pretty nervous leading up to the actual meeting," Goehrke said. "After I met Genie at the hotel and we got acquainted, I think it all went pretty smooth."
The Internet was abuzz: Would there be a second date?
"For sure," Bouchard told TMZ.com walking out of Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Wednesday night. She followed up on that remark with espnW on Thursday: "You never know. ... I'll keep that option open."
Goehrke said he hopes Bouchard stays true to her TMZ word. "I don't know if she meant that or not, but I hope she did," he said.
Bouchard arrived in New York on Tuesday to promote her debut appearance in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue, along with fellow WTA stars Serena Williams and Caroline Wozniacki. She spent a busy Wednesday doing interviews with a variety of outlets promoting the magazine before getting ready for Goehrke to pick her up at her Manhattan hotel.
"I made a bet. A bet is a bet. I wanted to follow through and stay true to my word," she said. "For sure, I had to do it."
Goehrke said the fact that Bouchard agreed to the date without knowing his identity was "the most amazing part."
"I could have been anyone," he said.
The two said they spent a lot of time talking sports while hanging out on the way to the game and during the Nets' 129-125 loss to the Bucks. Bouchard commended Goerhke for being so cool in the media spotlight, adding that "it wasn't awkward at all."
"We had a camera with us from the NBA the whole time, so maybe it wasn't the most normal date. ... But he was very laid-back about it," she said. "It was cool to meet him."
Goehrke said his phone hasn't quit buzzing since Wednesday.
"I haven't really had a second of downtime to think about it," he said. "My phone has been blowing up with people that I haven't talked to in years and just all of my friends texting me. But it's cool. We had fun."
Bouchard, who reached a career high No. 5 in the world in 2014 with runs to the Australian and French Open semifinals and then a runner-up performance at Wimbledon, has collected fans all over the world. They call themselves the "Genie Army." The Canadian has done her best to foster an open, social-media-connects-us kind of relationship with fans, even as tennis players -- including Bouchard herself -- deal with abuse from online bettors and ever-present trolls.
"With social media it's so easy to interact with your fans," Bouchard said. "I think it's a great tool for fans to get closer to you. In the past, the behind-the-scenes stuff wasn't as accessible. I like to make an effort with that. I'm honored people look up to me or watching me play."
In late January, Bouchard did post a photo to Instagram with a man that appeared to be a love interest. It showed only their legs and was taken near a beach following her loss at the Australian Open.
Regardless, a second "date" -- or meetup or publicity stunt -- could come at Wimbledon, or sooner. Or never.
"Me and my parents have always talked about going to Wimbledon," Goehrke said. "It's something I'd like to do."
Maybe Bouchard can help them get tickets. Maybe this modern fairy tale will move overseas. Maybe -- an ocean away from those beef sliders -- they'll get that kiss.