Eugenie Bouchard, the first Canadian player to reach a Grand Slam final at the 2014 Wimbledon, has had a tumultuous time on the WTA Tour since that breakthrough performance.
“Yeah, I feel rusty,” Bouchard said after a two-hour practice session with Alison Riske-Amritraj, ahead of the WTA250 Chennai Open, taking place at the SDAT Stadium in Nungambakkam, Chennai from September 10 to 18.
While Bouchard has not resembled her 2014 self for a long time, the rustiness is also because of a shoulder injury she suffered in 2021 for which she underwent a surgery.
On being asked about how much of her serve and volley game was affected due to the shoulder injury, the Canadian who practised her serves for at least half an hour on centre court, said, “Serve was when my shoulder hurt the most, that’s why practicing that before the tournament is so important.”
While Bouchard was trying to hit the perfect serve, her strokes didn’t look as clean as they should, “I’m still getting used to the ball coming at me so fast, after sitting out for so long.”
Speaking about the need to play this tournament she says, “WTA250s are exactly the right tournaments for me right now and they gave me wildcard here at the Chennai Open so it makes it a lot better.”
“It’s tough to make the switch” she said while speaking about changing gears from focusing on Grand Slams to WTA250s again. “Though I have played 250s my entire tennis career, so I’m just looking at getting in the groove again and play as many matches and tournaments as I can.”
To make more sense of why Bouchard needs to play tournaments like the Chennai Open, one just needs to glance at the ‘968’ that reflects on the WTA rankings site in front of her name.
This will be Bouchard’s third tournament this year and with players like Tatjana Maria and Alison Riske-Amritraj slated to play she says, “I can’t take anyone lightly. There are some very good players in the mix here.”
On playing Riske-Amritraj (top seed) specifically, she quips, “Of course she’s a great player. I hope I get to play her but not in the first round hopefully.”