TORONTO – It was a love fest for Genie Bouchard with the Toronto media Saturday.
The 25-year-old talked about her coaching change, about playing Bianca Andreescu in the first round, and about how much she loves visiting kids in the hospital.
A lot of softballs, which Bouchard hit for doubles and triples.
The representation from the daily newspapers in Toronto was also virtually nonexistent – not only for Bouchard, but for Toronto native Bianca Andreescu as well.
The reality is that the 25-year-old Canadian is really struggling. She definitely could have used a first-round match in Toronto that was more … bereft of baggage and focus.
But she didn’t get it. Instead, she got the highest-profile match she probably could have gotten, except perhaps a first-round encounter with Maria Sharapova.
Here’s how her pre-tournament press conference went.
Battle for the burden
It was two years ago, in this very same room, that Bouchard sat after losing in straight sets to Donna Vekic.
Bouchard said many very good, insightful things during that post-match press conference.
But the sound bite that went all over the place was when she was asked about the potential of Andreescu, who had just turned 17. Bouchard said she was fine with “someone else carrying the burden of Canada.”
In a bubble, it sounded a lot harsher than she meant it. She just sort of spit it out, and probably as she was saying it, she realized it wasn’t going to play well.
Still, she said it.
A year and a half later, Andreescu won Indian Wells.
The two met in January in the quarterfinals of a 125K tournament in Newport Beach, Calif. Bouchard took just two games.
And the 25-year-old Canadian has won just one match since then – at her next tournament in February in Dubai.
She comes into the Rogers Cup having lost in the first round of her last seven tournaments.
On Monday in Washington, D.C., she got just three games against American Lauren Davis.
Didn’t come up, of course. Instead, it was about Lady Gaga in her dreams, and sick kids, and e-gaming, and such.