Things didn’t go very well for Canadian Genie Bouchard a year ago, when she played her (almost) hometown WTA Tour event in Quebec City.
But although the tournament has yet to announce it – and this is big news in that area – the 23-year-old already has entered the Coupe Banque Nationale again this year.
This doesn’t mean, of course, that there’s a 100 per cent chance she will play – only that she already is officially entered. The entry deadline for the tournament is next Monday, July 31.
The tournament takes place indoors, the week after the conclusion of the U.S. Open.
A year ago, Bouchard was a surprise entry into the tournament – and a very early commitment.
That runs counter to Bouchard’s typical time frame. Usually, she tends to enter tournaments much closer to the deadline.
A year ago, the news was announced with a splash, just before the French Open. That’s four months before the tournament.
And Bouchard went live back home via video hookup from Paris. She also received a hefty appearance fee.
— Tennis Canada (@TennisCanada) May 17, 2016
Bouchard boo birds
After a lightning 30-hour trip to Turks & Caicos to shoot her Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue spread (something that was a closely-guarded secret at the time), Bouchard arrived in Quebec City early to fulfill her promotional obligations.
She found herself having to answer questions about a delicate family matter that had been going on back home in Montreal. That didn’t help a spirit already disheartened by her first-round loss to Katerina Siniakova at the US Open.
It had already been a jam-packed summer. Bouchard went straight from the Citi Open in Washington, D.C. to the Rogers Cup in Montreal, to Rio for the Olympics, to Cincinnati, then New Haven and then the US Open. She played every single week for two solid months.
She didn’t get deep into any of the tournaments. But as she pointed out in a later interview, the stress of going from city to city, the travel and the practice and the pressure (with the long trip to South America in the middle) remained the same. And it had a cumulative effect.
The Canadian got through her first-round match against Mandy Minella of Luxembourg. But she said afterwards she had probably played at about 50 per cent of her ideal level.
— Genie Bouchard (@geniebouchard) September 15, 2016
But then, she fell in the second round to the much lower-ranked Alla Kudryavtseva of Russia amid some drama.
Bouchard heard some booing as she left the court in tears after the 6-2, 6-3 defeat. And – exceptionally for her, because she always has faced the media after some pretty difficult losses over the last few years – she skipped her post-match press conference.
A return engagement
According to La Presse, both Rogers Cup tournament director Eugene Lapierre and then-Quebec City tournament director Pierre-Luc Tessier tried to convince her to return. But she said she would pay the resulting fine.
Earlier, Bouchard had posted on Twitter about the noise at her hotel keeping her up half the night. Which didn’t go over very well.
So it’s interesting that she has decided to go back and try to get it right this time. Perhaps that’s the reason it’s all so low-profile so far. The fact that there has been no announcement is definitely surprising.
(It should be noted, too, that Bouchard is on a similar run of tournaments this year: D.C., Rogers Cup, Cincinnati (where she likely will have to play the qualifying), New Haven and the US Open. The only event missing is the Olympics).
She is prefacing that run with an exhibition against Venus Williams in Atlanta Sunday, followed by appearances with the New York Empire of World Team Tennis Thursday and Friday nights in New York City.)
The tournament’s early promotional poster has some history (with Venus Williams and Maria Sharapova) and features 17-year-old up-and-coming Canadian Bianca Andreescu.