As frustrating as her recent struggles have been, Eugenie Bouchard is not shying away from competition, targeting a clay court revival.
WTA Staff

Following up last season was never going to be easy for Eugenie Bouchard. And so it has proved.

The opening stanza of the 2015 campaign has seen Bouchard hit the first bump in the road in a hitherto serene journey up the tennis ranks.

A stellar junior career was followed by immediate success in the seniors, bringing semifinals at the Australian and French Opens, a headline-grabbing run to the final of Wimbledon and then qualification for the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global. Bouchard took it all in her stride. In fact, rather than get carried away, the self-assured young Canadian seemed unsurprised at her early breakthrough.

After a strong performance - which included victory over World No.1 Serena Williams - at the Hopman Cup and a quarterfinal at the Australian Open, suggested that more was to follow. However, since then, it has been one setback after another, culminating in shock losses to qualifiers Lesia Tsurenko and Tatjana Maria at Indian Wells and Miami.

Now firmly ensconced in the Top 10, this fall from grace has been played out under the media spotlight. Bouchard, though, has not shirked any question, fronting up to the inevitable media grilling following another early exit, this time at the clay court curtain raiser in Charleston, with remarkable honesty.

"I know it won't all come overnight and it's not like as soon as you make a Slam final everything is easy after that and you're going to make the finals every week," Bouchard said. "It just doesn't work that way. So you gotta take the lows with the highs. So I'm just going to keep working hard and way till this low turns into a high.

"But really, I try to learn in the process and be patient, because I know I won't win every tournament. So I think patience is really important to me since I'm not very patient!"

Rather than shy away from competing while she acclimatizes to new coach Sam Sumyk, Bouchard, who is due to play at next week's Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, knows that matches are key.

"I have struggled a little bit physically lately. So everything is kind of just healing, but even if something doesn't hurt anymore, you know, you've had that lack of training, you've had that lack of match play," she said. "You've had that lack of, you know, just the feelings on the court is so off.

"So I think that's more where it's at, you know. Nothing is hurting, but it's more about getting back on court and getting used to match play."

As frustrating as it has been, Bouchard has adopted a philosophical outlook to these recent travails.

"I do expect big things, but I'm going to try to not put as much pressure on myself as I think I did at the end of last year, and I realize that you can't be perfect," Bouchard said in an interview with the Guardian. "That's something that Sam has been saying to me. And you will probably lose every week of the year, besides a couple weeks, hopefully. So I just need to realize that, and make sure I learn, and always try to get better.

"I'm going to expect great things, but also not put too much pressure on myself so that I don't enjoy it, because then it's not worth it. And I want to enjoy every little step. If I win a match, I want to enjoy that match, and not just think it's normal, you know? I actually won a match, and that's a really great thing. I'll try to enjoy the little things."