Second match too much for ankle as Bouchard exits

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ROLAND GARROS – Genie Bouchard’s first-round match at the French Open was a tough three-setter. The next day, reality set in.

In the end, there just wasn’t enough time to heal the Grade 2 ankle sprain suffered the previous week. So while the Canadian was able to get through one match in Paris, she couldn’t recover in time for Round 2.

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Bouchard went out Thursday to No. 17 seed Anastasia Sevastova of Latvia, 6-3, 6-0, and now will take the time to properly heal the ankle. With another Grand Slam in a month’s time, there’s a slightly better window now.

“I gave everything the last two weeks, but we always knew it would be tough. I’m happy that I gave myself a chance to play, and even won a match. Already, that was more than I’d hoped,” said Bouchard, who had a few opportunities in the first set against Sevastova Thursday before the match got away in a hurry. 

“I took it one day at a time, and you never know, so I still had hope today. But it was tough for me to practice (Wednesday),” she added. “It was tough to follow up (with a second match), with an injury like that. It affected my movement. But I was still going to take the court.”

A source who had a good look at the ankle when she first sprained it said it was not a pretty sight, and that it was amazing Bouchard even played the French Open at all. Diligent work with her team over a hectic 10 days got it to the point where she could compete – for one match, at least. There just wasn’t anything left for more.

Bouchard was fairly resigned to it all afterwards. If her post-match demeanor was at its very worst after her first-round loss in Miami in late March (a three-set defeat to Aussie Ashleigh Barty), her disposition has improved by leaps and bounds since then.

A few good results, and her sense that her tennis is coming around, have much to do with that. But as she wryly noted, she could use a little break here and there, too.

“The ankle could have happened during the period where I was losing every first round. But no – it happened after I played a good tournament in Madrid. And a week before Roland Garros too. So it’s a bit of bad luck. But I think everything happens for a reason, so I’ll just stay positive and continue,” she said. “There’s always highs after the lows. So I’m just waiting for the highs.”

Now that the French Open is over for her, Bouchard will consult with her doctor and take the time to heal the ankle properly – without the urgency of having a Grand Slam right around the corner. “I’ll take my time,” she said.

She has no regrets about making the effort to play, even if she couldn’t make a deep run. “It’s a Grand Slam, so you’ll always try,” she said.

Bouchard hasn’t made a final decision about whether or not to stay in Europe. The Mallorca event begins in 2 1/2 weeks. “I think this time, though, my heart is telling me to go back to North America,” she said. “I hope (to play Mallorca). I’d say more yes than no. I’ll do my rehab seriously, and we’ll see.”

(To see Bouchard’s one-on-one with TSN after her loss, click here. To see her French-language interview with RDS, click here)

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