A Heartbreaking Fall From Grace For Eugenie Bouchard

The Canadian women’s tennis team expected their players could bring a Fed Cup trophy home to Canada for the first time since the tournament’s inception in 1963.  Unfortunately the players came up short and were relegated to the qualifiers for the 2016 World Group.  But for Canada’s star Eugenie Bouchard, the collapse was as heartbreaking as much as a form of karmic justice.

Genie, currently seeded 7th on the WTA world rankings, played her first Fed Cup match against Romania’s Alexandria Dulgheru, currently seeded 69th on the rankings.  The game was set on Saturday but the two players greeted each other at the draw ahead of the match on Friday. 

When Dulgheru extended her hand in a means of saying good luck, Genie chose not to shake it.  After recognizing the gesture was controversial, she said afterwards she doesn’t “believe in wishing my opponent good luck before a match.”

That entitled attitude came back to haunt Genie in Saturday’s showdown.  Genie made 42 unforced errors in her match with Dulgheru, and appeared to be going through the motions throughout the entire event.  The Romanian won the match in straight sets with scores of 6-4, 6-4, and Canada quickly fell behind in the competition.

Genie had a chance to redeem her game on Sunday in Round 2 of the competition, this time against Andreea Mitu, who was a late substitute for Romania’s number one bet Irina-Camelia Begu.  But another weak effort and a playing style that appeared to be lost at every turn cost Genie another match, capped off by a dreadful 6-1 loss in the final set.

After the match, it was clear to all spectators that Genie was devastated with her performance.  A towel was thrown over her head and she appeared very defeated, almost as if the pressure – whether from playing at home near Montreal or to carry Canada to the 2016 World Group was unclear.

The weekend emphasized a freefall for Genie that has been in play since her quarterfinal finish at the 2015 Australian Open.  Canada’s hopes for Fed Cup glory may take another backseat for a year, but Genie needs to turn things around if she has any odds of claiming glory at the French Open in May.