Translation of this piece from Le Journal de Montréal website by Jessica Lapinski
The short trip back home for Eugenie Bouchard didn’t have the desired result. On the contrary. In search of wins, “Genie” left Montréal with two losses instead. What’s more, two losses mired in controversy.
It was more than disappointing; it was sad. Those two matches, against courageous but beatable Romanians, were supposed to help cure her ailing confidence. Instead, it was a troubled, occasionally irritated Bouchard who showed up for the press conference after her second loss.
Only a little more than two months ago she was in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open. Yes, that wasn’t as good as her semi-final of the year before, but it was a result worthy of her world ranking of seven.
What happened in these last weeks for the future champion to transform into a player satisfied with simply keeping the ball in play? Into a player unable to beat an opponent ranked lower than 60th.?
What happened that caused Bouchard’s aggressive game, which allowed her to beat some of the best, to seemingly reverse itself?
Sunday, even Eugenie herself couldn’t find reasons for her setbacks. “I really have no explanation. I don’t feel like myself on the court,” she declared, lamenting her uncharacteristic lack of aggression.
But as recently as Wednesday, Bouchard affirmed that she felt at ease on the courts despite a start to the season that, all in all, was disappointing. Since Melbourne, she’s won two small matches and has now lost five in a row, all against players ranked lower than 60.
“There are signs, except I don’t think there’s only one solution,” says Sylvain Bruneau, her Fed Cup captain.
“We haven’t talked about it together, but yes, I was hoping this weekend would allow her to regain a bit of confidence. Sometimes it only takes one or two wins to do that.”
Among the signs is the well-known second-year jinx. In her press conference, Bouchard herself talked about this “sophomore slump”, this “evil” that sometimes affects athletes in all sports after a phenomenal first year.
Bruneau agrees: “After her first season, she now needs to learn how to manage the expectations,” he explains.
Then there was the coaching change. Last week Bouchard alluded to a period of adaptation, especially for a girl who had been advised by the same man, Nick Saviano, for eight years.
Several have asked questions about the relationship between Bouchard and Sam Sumyk. Both have a strong temperament, and the Québecker doesn’t seem to be assimilating what the Frenchman is trying to teach her, both tactically and technically.
“It’s a big change and I need to adjust,” she insisted on Wednesday. “I’ve had the same coach since I was 12. Sumyk is more direct. I like the ideas he has about my game. We can improve all aspects of it.”
“In tennis, when you don’t have the feel, when you don’t have your usual reference points, you tend to revert to what you did well with in the past, but that doesn’t always work,” adds Bruneau. He also talks about a period of adaptation.
Patience, patience …
What Bruneau especially advocates is patience. For her fans as much as for Genie.
Bouchard also mentioned the process she’s going through right now. A process during which she’ll lose, that’s certain, but which should eventually bring her back on the right track.
It might be long, and, judging from last weekend, it won’t be free from tears and broken racquets. But at 21, Eugenie Bouchard still has time to renew acquaintance with success.
It will be one match at a time, one win at a time.
Translated by MAN