MONTRÉAL, Canada - Fans, businesspeople and media gathered at the Ile-des-Soeurs Tennis Club on Saturday for the Eugenie Bouchard Challenge, an event that not only gave the public a chance to hit against Canada's newest Top 100 player, but also raised funds for the Cancer Research Society.
A number of the attendees had participated in a silent auction, winning a chance to play against Bouchard, including some bids as high as $2500 and $5000 - there was also a donation of $1000 made so a young 12-year-old girl could play against her idol, the now-retired Valérie Tétreault, who is now an analyst at TVA Sports and proudly represented the Ile-des-Soeurs Tennis Club at the event.
Québecois television and radio personalities Michel-Olivier Girard, Justine Boutet and Paul Rivard were also among the noteworthy attendees coming out to the Ile-des-Soeurs Tennis Club for the event.
Bouchard had just finished playing the Family Circle Cup in Charleston the day before, where she reached her first Premier-level quarterfinal before falling to Jelena Jankovic - but she wasn't even thinking about missing the event back home. "I lost two grandparents to cancer and despite a little fatigue and a busy schedule, I was not about to miss the event. It was really fun," she said.
Bouchard subsequently made her debut in the Top 100 this Monday, rising from No.114 to No.95.
Her father, Mike Bouchard, organized the event and is a member of the board of directors of the Cancer Research Society; her sister, Charlotte, originally came up with the idea for the event.
"This project came to life thanks to Charlotte, who came up with the idea while at school," Mike Bouchard said of his youngest daughter. "I'm so happy to see that her idea became a reality today.
"A big thank you to all those who believed in it."
Thanks to the generous contribution of the public present at the Eugenie Bouchard Challenge, coupled with the bids of the silent auction's eight finalists who fought hard to face Eugenie Bouchard, a total of $14,000 was raised during the event and will be dedicated to funding cancer research.
The Cancer Research Society extended its gratitude to Eugenie Bouchard, organizing committee members like Charlotte Bouchard, Mike Bouchard, Marius Brisson and Paul Cadieux, as well as all the participants and volunteers. "Just like our researchers who have invested themselves tirelessly for many years in hundreds of cancer research projects across Canada, I want to pay tribute to all the participants and all members of the team who have valiantly worked in making this Eugenie Bouchard Challenge a true success," said Andy Chabot, Executive Director of the Cancer Research Society.