MELBOURNE, Australia – Since the offseason, with the imminent expiration of her long-term deal with Babolat, Genie Bouchard has been experimenting with various sticks.
For the Australian Open, the 23-year-old Canadian will go with the tried and true. It’s the racket she used when she had her best career moments back in 2014.
Wilson sent several models down to Florida during the offseason for Bouchard to play-test.
So did Head (who sponsors a man whose advice Bouchard greatly respects, Andre Agassi).
Head’s Radical Graphene Touch model didn’t work out too well at the Hopman Cup exhibition.
Nor did it prove effective in Bouchard’s first-round defeat to the harder-hitting Aryna Sabalenka in the first round of the Hobart International.
That was Bouchard’s only official match in the lead up to the first Grand Slam of the season.
On the practice court at Melbourne Park Thursday, Bouchard was back with her trusty Babolat.
Coach Harold Solomon was working on trying to remove the hitches in Bouchard’s backhand, which these days can appear to be three jerky movements one after another rather than one smooth motion.
A good win to help the confidence
Coincidence or not, Bouchard looked impressive against a rather off-form Destanee Aiava in an exhibition match at the Kooyong Classic, scheduled shortly beforehand.
There’s a different sound when Bouchard plays with this Babolat, especially compared with the Head stick she used to start the season. Whether it produces more power or not, only the opponents can truly say. But there’s a more authoritative thwack.
As well, it can take players months, or more, to adjust to a new racket.
Bouchard and her Babolat are kind of like an old couple. Maybe there’s something better out there; you never know. But there’s something to be said about comfort level. And your longtime partner has generally compensated for and adjusted to your flaws for a long time.
“I will play with the Babolat. I tried a lot of racquets in the offseason, and even played matches with different rackets. In the end, for now anyway, I’m going to stay with a racquet that I’m comfortable with,” Bouchard told Tennis.Life. “I have good feelings on my shots with this one, so I’m going to keep it for now.”
Here she is talking to a small gathering of media after the victory over Aiava.
And here’s the crush as Bouchard tried to leave the area.
Bouchard’s first-round opponent will be France’s Océane Dodin.