Wimbledon 2014: Eugenie Bouchard royally beaten but wins over the crowd
The Canadian will enter the world top 10 for the first time (at No 7) when the rankings are announced on Monday
Saturday 05 July 2014
Future Wimbledon finalists must be making a note to themselves: when a princess wants a seat in the Royal Box to support you, tell them it’s full.
Princess Eugenie, after whom Eugenie Bouchard was named by a royals-obsessed mother (her siblings are Beatrice, William and Caroline, as in Monaco) was in the front row of the box, but her presence was not enough to save the Canadian from a drubbing by Petra Kvitova, 6-3, 6-0 in less than an hour.
At 55 minutes, this was the shortest and most one-sided championship match since Martina Navratilova obliterated Andrea Jaeger 6-0, 6-3 in 54 minutes in 1983. But, while it was not the spectacle many expected of two players who have played some glittering tennis in the past fortnight, it was a flawless match by the Czech, who also won here in 2011. As 1997 champion Virginia Wade said, Kvitova “played an absolute blinder and didn’t do anything wrong”.
Bouchard is still an unfamiliar name to casual tennis fans but that will surely change. The first Canadian to reach a Grand Slam final, she has an aggressive game that suits grass, and won Junior Wimbledon in 2012.
She also reached the semi-finals of both the Australian and French Opens, and enters the world top 10 for the first time (at No 7) when the rankings are announced on Monday.
As Kvitova acknowledged on Centre Court after her win, everybody in the sport expects Bouchard to be competing in many finals to come.
Bouchard is confident but without a hint of cockiness, and has a smiley disposition that has already gained her the support of the Wimbledon crowd, as the ovation she received attested.
She said on Centre Court after the match: “I love coming back to Wimbledon, I don’t know if I deserve your love today but I really appreciate it.”
She’s already popular in the press room, too, giving witty and thoughtful responses to questions and is gracious in defeat.
As she said of Kvitova’s dominance: “She played fantastic the two weeks and it was really tough today. She didn’t give me many opportunities to get in the rally and I didn’t get the chance to play my game.”
While the 20-year-old is ambitious and career-focused, the youngster occasionally comes through, as when she revealed she would like to go on a date with fellow Canuck Justin Bieber.
Bouchard is a keen tweeter, and her selfies with the famous have become a running joke with her 266,000 followers; she even posted one of herself with Pope Francis as his popemobile drove past her in Rome earlier this year.
But the day belonged to Kvitova, and how much this tournament means to her was obvious in her on-court interview. Clutching the Venus Rosewater Bowl, she said with a trembling voice: “I really wanted to be here with the trophy again, it means so much.”
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