Getting To Know... Eugenie Bouchard
Published November 30, 2012 07:55
Martina Hingis, Amélie Mauresmo and Caroline Wozniacki are just a few of the players to have lifted the dainty trophy over the past few decades, and Bouchard's early forays on the senior circuit suggest she is more than capable of following in the footsteps of the aforementioned trio.
Having started the year down at No.305 in the rankings, 46 wins, four ITF titles and a handful of encouraging displays at full WTA level have helped catapult the 18-year-old to within touching distance of the Top 100.
In January, she will head to Australia for her first tilt at a senior Grand Slam, although before then she has more pressing engagements to attend to, like pre-season training and a date with wtatennis.com.
How did you get into tennis?
EB: I started when I was six and my mom took me and my twin sister to a local tennis club. I didn't really like it, though, as it was all games with balloons and hoops and I just wanted to play actual tennis. So my Mom took me to start having group lessons and a few years later I started entering tournaments. I began to take it seriously quite quickly and when I was nine I qualified for a tournament in France.
Can you tell us a little bit about your family?
EB: My dad's name is Mike and he works in finance and my mom, Julie, is a housewife. As I mentioned earlier, I have a twin sister, Beatrice - she's six minutes older, but I'm taller! I also have a younger sister, Charlotte, who's 17 and a brother called William who is 13. They are all into sport and tennis, but mostly just for fun; my brother was playing quite a lot of tennis, but then, like everyone in Canada, caught the hockey bug and now is playing that all the time!
Tell us about your current coaching setup?
EB: I'm working with Nathalie Tauziat at the moment and I'm based at the National Tennis Centre in Montréal. In the past, I was playing in Florida a lot of the time, working at Nick Saviano's center. I was there from about 12 to 15 and it really helped my game; Nick is very good on the technical parts of the game and there are so many really good players down there, it brings your level up. I also benefited from playing outdoors - it snows so much in Canada that we're playing indoors most of the year
What are the strengths in your game?
EB: I have a very aggressive baseline game and like to take the ball early. I've got a strong serve and I really like to dominate behind that. There are lots of areas I still need to improve and at the moment I'm really working on my consistency, strength and movement.
Did you have a tennis idol growing up?
EB: One of my first tennis memories was watching Maria Sharapova win Wimbledon. That match really sticks in my mind and it's kind of cool to now be playing alongside her. At the same time, I wouldn't really call her an idol, because she's also a rival and I don't want to go on court in awe of any opponent.
Do you have any friends on tour?
EB: I'm friendly with a few players, but I wouldn't say I'm really close to anyone, because, like with my previous answer, they are all rivals. But I get on well with most of the girls - all the Canadians, who I know from Fed Cup, Laura Robson and Heather Watson too. I actually stayed with Laura during Wimbledon, which was a lot better than previous years where I was in dorms in Roehampton. It definitely brought me luck, so maybe I'll ask her if I can do it again next summer!
Who is the toughest opponent you've faced?
EB: Li Na at the Rogers Cup this year was extremely tough. It was a good experience to play against a top player in the night match in front of a big crowd. What I really took from that match was how the best players don't give you anything and you have to work for every point.
What is the best memory of your career?
EB: Winning junior Wimbledon in the summer. It was a great experience to be on Court 1. I didn't expect there to be a very big crowd, but there were, I think, 8,000 people, and I was really shocked by the noise they made when we came out. I was the first Canadian to win a Slam in singles at any level, which was pretty cool, and there was a lot of media attention when I got home.
What are your short-term and long-term goals?
EB: I'd like to get into the Top 100 as soon as I can and hopefully by French Open time I'll qualify automatically. Long-term, when I was younger I always wanted to win every Grand Slam. It's ambitious, but you've got to aim high!
Which surface do you prefer?
EB: I grew up on indoor hardcourts in Canada and then played a lot on it outdoors in Florida, so that's probably my favorite and the one that I feel most comfortable on. Obviously, I've done well on grass in the past and I think it suits my game. I also like clay too and won a couple of tournaments on it this year, it's just that I'm not so experienced on it yet.
How about your favorite tournament?
EB: Australian Open, for sure. It's the best tournament, the best weather, the people are amazing and so friendly, and it's just so relaxed and such a great atmosphere.
Away from the court, what do you like to do to relax?
EB: I like to read a lot, which is good because I spend a lot of time at airports and on planes and just hanging around! My favorite author is Agatha Christie, but I also read lots of more modern books - recently I finished the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I just bought the new Kindle and I'm looking to download some of the classics, like A Tale of Two Cities and Anna Karenina.
How far did you go in your education?
EB: I'm finishing high school at the moment. I have to study by correspondence. I try to do most of it when I'm back home in Canada, but sometimes this isn't possible and it's very tough to juggle my school work with matches and practice - after playing a long match I don't really feel like opening a math book!
What would you have done if you hadn't been a tennis player?
EB: I'm really interested in science and math, so maybe I would have studied something like that at university. I would have liked to become a doctor.
If you had to describe yourself in one word, what would it be?
Finally, are there any plans for a follow up to your Gangnam video with Laura?
EB: Oh, definitely! Discussions are already underway! The first one was actually a lot of work, so we need to find a tournament where we have some time on our hands - like in Beijing - but we are definitely hoping to make Gangnam Part II.