Eugenie Bouchard: “She played, you know, unbelievable and didn't give me many opportunities to stay in the rally” - UBITENNIS
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Eugenie Bouchard: “She played, you know, unbelievable and didn't give me many opportunities to stay in the rally”

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TENNIS WIMBLEDON 2014 – 5th of July. P. Kvitova d. E. Bouchard 6-3, 6-0. An interview with Eugenie Bouchard

 

Q. I imagine you got a sense of what Petra Kvitova did right to win that match. I wonder whether you have a sense of what you did wrong?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: Well, I first of all have to give full credit to my opponent. I think she played, you know, unbelievable and didn’t give me many opportunities, you know, to stay in the rally or, you know, do what I do.

So, you know, I think she’s been playing well all tournament and was really going for it today.

 

Q. It’s really hard to look at it from this standpoint at your age, but part of the growing pains of becoming a champ, it’s really hard for a lot of people at a younger age. Do you see it at all that way or is it too soon?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: I think it’s a tough road to try to become, you know, as good as I want to be no matter what. I’m not going to win every single time. I think this was a good experience for me, my first slam final.

I’m going to learn a lot from this match and hopefully use it to get much better.

 

Q. About your level of play, how did you feel you played?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: I felt like I started well, and, you know, was in there. But, you know, I didn’t feel like I was able to play my game. She really took the chances away from me and was really putting a lot of pressure on me. I didn’t have that many opportunities.

But, you know, sometimes your opponent just plays better than you, and that’s what happened today.

 

Q. You said you learned some lessons out of this. Any particular lessons at this stage you will pick up on?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: You know, it was a big moment walking out onto Centre Court for a final. You know, I have that experience now. I know what it feels like. You know, I hope I can walk out to many more finals. That’s the goal.

But, you know, I’m going to go back, work on my game, try to get better, because you always need to get better.

 

Q. How would you describe your hunger to win a major?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: I am very motivated to win a Grand Slam. It’s been, you know, a lifelong dream of mine. I feel like I’ve taken steps in the right direction to achieve that.

This year I’ve been close in every slam, so I’m just going to keep going.

 

Q. You said yesterday that you would like to have the princess you’re named after in the Royal Box and she was there.

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: I know, that was crazy. I did see her in the box. I’m very happy that she came out. Disappointed I couldn’t put on a better show for her, but I’d love to meet her, of course.

It’s the only person I’m named after. She’s the only one in the world.

 

Q. Before this you’ve had some big moments. Walking out on Centre Court for the final is a whole different thing. What was the experience like?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: It was very special. It was different. We were holding flowers instead of our tennis bags. The applause was really loud when we walked out. That’s the main thing that registered in my mind.

I just felt so grateful to be able to walk out on a stage and, you know, have a chance to perform and do what I love. You know, I hope to experience that feeling many more times.

 

Q. In any way did you feel overwhelmed by the moment or not?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: I don’t think I felt overwhelmed. As soon as we started hitting and the match started, you know, I felt a bit more in my element. You know, I felt, okay, it’s just a match. It’s starting. I’ll try to do my best.

Things didn’t go my way, but I enjoyed being on the court today.

 

Q. You said on the court when you were talking to the crowd that you don’t really deserve their love. How do you think you’re going to react to this? Are you going to be too hard on yourself or will you be able to take the positives?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: I’m always hard on myself. Maybe a bit too much. But that’s what motivates me to do better. You know, I never want to be satisfied.

Of course I’m disappointed with a loss today, but I will, you know, realize how far I’ve come this year already and appreciate the hard work I’ve put in and really believe that I can be at the top level of the game. That will give me motivation.

So, you know, I think I’ll look back and I’ll be okay.

 

Q. Can you give us an idea of what you did during that very brief break when the roof was closing?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: Yeah, it was a little odd. I sat down. I put my jacket on. Just reflected. I was in the engraver’s room, so I was watching them work, wishing one day, dreaming that he’ll write my name somewhere.

 

Q. You were quite composed during your performances on the court, and off the court you’ve been composed during your time here, even after the result today. As that match slipped away from you, at the end that must have been pretty gutb#wrenching, wasn’t it?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: It was pretty disappointing. I’m never satisfied to lose. I always expect myself to do well.

But, you know, if I try my best, you know, try to make things work, even if my game is not feeling great on court, that’s all I can do.

You know, my opponent played better than me today.

 

Q. In retrospect, do you think you could have done anything different during the match to turn the tide? Of course, Kvitova played out of her mind. Could you have done anything different?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: I feel like a few times, you know, when she was a bit off balance and I had a few chances I was a bit hesitant.

I think in the first set I started okay, but the second set I was a bit hesitant sometimes. Maybe I would just try to go for those a little bit more.

You know, I didn’t have many answers on the court today. I think that’s the bottom line.

 

Q. Nick is one of the best coaches in the game. Have you spoken to him and what did he say to you?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: Of course I’ve spoken to him. Yeah, he said he was very proud of me. You know, even today and of course the whole tournament. I’ll watch the tape and we’ll learn, work, and try to get better.

But, you know, we’re going to take a minute and look back, you know, realize that we’ve done a lot this year and appreciate that. Then when it’s time to get back to work, we’ll do that.

 

Q. Was there a turning point to the match, when you felt like that was it, I’m not getting back into this?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: I never think that’s it. Tennis is not a timed sport. You can always come back, no matter what.

But, you know, it was hard for me to feel like I had, you know, my game going for me. It really was one of those days. But, like I said, all credit to her, because she definitely put the pressure on me and took away my chances.

But, you know, I was still trying no matter what the score was.

 

Q. What do you think the reaction will be like when you get back home to Montréal? A lot different profile than you had 12 months ago.

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: Yeah, well, I don’t know what it’s going to be like. I’m just, you know, excited to spend a little time off, you know, with my family back home. I’m going to spend a lot of time on my couch. That’s the first goal.

Besides that, yeah, I mean, also the tournament is also in Montréal once every two years, so the last time I played I just came off winning the juniors here, which was good for me at the time. Of course, you know, it should be very exciting.

I don’t get to play often in front of my home crowd, so I hope people will want to come out and watch.

 

Q. You said winning that junior title was the best moment of your career. At this point as you sit here, a finalist of Wimbledon, making this run, does this surpass that or is still being a champion number one?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: That’s a tough question. But I still think my junior title was better than this. I think, yeah, you know, winning a tournament without losing a match is always something special. That was a big moment for me. I appreciate what I’ve done these past few weeks, though.

You know, I’m definitely proud of myself for these past two weeks and this whole year. I think it comes close. I don’t know if I can pinpoint one exactly, but, you know, I like Wimbledon.

 

Q. You’re going to be in the top 10 next week. Does it mean much to you or is it just a number?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: It means something to me. It’s definitely been one of my goals. When I made top 20, in the back of my mind I was like, Okay, the next step is top 10. I’m happy to accomplish that.

But there’s still a lot more to do. I still have a long road ahead of me to improve as a tennis player. If I do that well, hopefully the number will, you know, go up and the results will still come.

Interviews

Travelling across tennis, relationships and life with John Lloyd

Ubaldo Scanagatta spoke to John Lloyd about a series of topics on his professional and personal life.

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In an exclusive talk with Ubitennis founder Ubaldo Scanagatta, John Lloyd, former British No.1 and Davis Cup Captain provides insights on tennis, a changing world and his personal history

 

Edited by Kingsley Elliot Kaye

Wimbledon and the recent publication of “Dear John”, John Lloyd’s autobiography, set up the occasion for Ubitennis to meet up with John Lloyd and have a long talk which embraced four decades of tennis and personal anecdotes.

“Friend” is the word which most often recurs in John’s tales and unveils his unique empathy in his relating to people, to life. Always eager to embrace new experiences, yet loyal to his past.

Indeed, John Lloyds’ best run in a major was halted by a friend. In 1977, in fact, he reached the final at the Australian Open, which he lost in five sets to Vitas Gerulatis:

The Slam in Australia wasn’t like it is now. It was still a big tournament, but some of the big players didn’t come over because it was over Christmas. I got to the final. I should have won that match. I lost in five sets to my friend Vitas, which was a big disappointment although if I was going to lose with someone, he’s the guy because, you know, he was a great guy. It was one of the saddest days when he passed away at 40 years old with that tragedy with the carbon dioxide poisoning.

John is not a person who allows rear-view perspective to indulge in regrets, yet in terms of tennis he admits he regrets never managing to make a breakthrough at Wimbledon, where he says he always suffered from a self-inflicted pressure:

For some reason at Wimbledon I never played my best tennis. I won two mixed doubles, which was great [in 1983 and in 1984 with Wendy Turnbull] but in singles I was always very disappointed with my performances. I had a couple of big wins.  I beat my friend Roscoe Tanner when he was seeded number 3 and a lot of people thought he was going to win the title that year. I beat him on court number 1 but it was typical of my Wimbledon performances that I lost the next day to a German player called Karl Meiler who I should have beaten [after comfortably winning the first two sets he ended up losing in 9 7 in the fifth]. I let myself down after having one of the best wins of my career. And that was my Wimbledon story.

“Dear John” was written with Phil Jones, BBC journalist, while the foreword is by a tennis great, and friend, Bjorn Borg:

Bjorn is a good friend of mine. We’ve had many good times together when we played and also when we played on the senior tour. Bjorn is a lovely man and I called him up and asked him and he said no problem, I’d love to do it.  We’ve had so many good stories. I’ve always thought he is one of the greatest champions of all time. I beat him once in Monte Carlo on clay [1975, 60 57 64, in the quarterfinals]. It was probably my best ever win although there are rumours he was out until four in the morning with some ladies…but that’s not my fault!

When we mention how there was a moment when he became very popular also outside the world of tennis, owing to his romance with Chris Evert, John opens up about the difficulties in getting married so young and to a worldwide tennis star:

We had some good times. We were married for 8 years but we were too young, both 24, on the tennis circuit, going to different places.  If we had been married 10 years later we could have had a chance. We had some good times and some bad times, but we are still friends. I married into someone who was a huge legend. It was fortunate I was well known in Britain so I was used to having press around and that kind of stuff, but it was nothing like until I got married with Chris. It opened a lot of doors to me, to be honest. I met people I wouldn’t have met before. We went to wonderful places, met amazing people.

As well as broadcasting for BBC, John Lloyd’s working life spans from selling real estate for Sotheby’s in Western Palm Beach, where he is currently living, to some coaching, and some tennis lessons in Mar-a-Lago club run by Donald Trump, former US president and a man who built a financial empire with real estate. Mr Trump’s knack for business is well proved by a story John recalls:

I’ve known Mr Trump for 40 years. I saw him about three months ago at the golf club and had a chat with him. He said “John, how about you doing some celebrity lessons at Mar-a-Lago?” I said “Mr President, that could be good”. He said “This is what we will do: I’ll tell the director of the club and you’ll charge 500 $ an hour. So that’s good and I’ll take half.” “That’s a good deal” I said. So that was the president. He knows how to do business. There was no negotiation. It was like I’ll take 250, but 250 is not bad so I’ll do that.

Donald Trump is only one of the celebrities John Lloyd met in his journeying around the world and that he writes about:

I do a lot of name dropping. I’m very good at that. I’ve been around with a lot of celebrities. I’ve had some funny stories about celebrities that people would like to hear, I hope. I’ve been fortunate. I’ve met presidents, the queen, the royal family, I’ve met billionaires, amazing businessmen.

I’m a boy from a place called Leigh-on-Sea in Essex, a small town. From a family below middle class. And I’ve seen every country in the world I’ve wanted to be. I’ve been very very fortunate.

We can infer that John Lloyd’s autobiography is not just an album of tennis memories:

I think that the word “great” in tennis is a very overused word. I think great players are players that have won slams in singles. I was a good player and a good player cannot write a book on just what he did on the court. But I’ve been very fortunate in my life. I’ve lived in four decades of professional tennis. I came in at the end of the Rod Laver era, and then came in with my era which was Borg, Connors and McEnroe. Then I went into the next era where I was Davis Cup captain with Henman, Rusedski, and Agassi, Sampras. Then the TV puts me into another one. So this book is really stories more than anything and I’m proud of it. But there’s also some serious stuff. I do a chapter about when six years ago I had prostate cancer and I’m very honest about that.

I also talk about my family and my son, who I’m very proud of. He had an addictive problem and he’s been clean now for thirteen years. When I wrote the book he asked me if I was going to mention it and I said no. And he said I want you to, because maybe it will help someone. So that was a very emotional and difficult chapter to write, about that period in my life which was without doubt the worst period, but then it became the most wonderful period to see my son turn out to be this amazing person.

Venturing back to tennis, since John has just spoken about players who were and still are good friends of his, we ask him if there were players he actually didn’t get along with. We learn that the toughest times came as a Davis Cup Captain:

I struggled a little bit with Andy Murray at times. I put in the book how much I admire him as a player, but I struggled a bit with his behaviour with coaches, the way he would say things to them. To be honest, it was one of my fears when I took the Davis Cup job that he was going to be on the court with me. I always thought to myself that if someone behaved like that and I was coaching them, I would just walk out, no matter how much they paid me. But as a Davis Cup captain, you can’t do that. I got really nervous about it. Then I came up with a good idea. At the time when I was captain he was being coached by Brad Gilbert. So I asked Brad to give me some instructions when Andy was playing, and he agreed to. And when Andy was coming up to me  and I could see he was mad, I told Andy, for instance, “Andy you need to come in to the net on the forehand more.” And he was about to say something, and I said, pointing at Brad, “He told me to tell you! It was him!” So Brad got all the shouting and I just gave him [Andy] the towel.

I struggled with Greg Rusedski a little bit too. He was fine on my team but, after he left, he was then trying to get my job and made a few remarks about me on TV, that I was picking the wrong players, the wrong chords, that kind of stuff that I wouldn’t do, sure.

This is the prompt that leads up to a comparison between tennis of different eras and John has a few prickly ideas.

Most players were good in my era. There were some guys that I struggled with a little bit, but, you know, we didn’t have entourages around us the way they do now. We had a group and we’d play matches, we’d be in the locker room and the guy who lost, it was like “Let’s go out tonight.” Now they’ve got managers and physiotherapists and parents, they are in all these groups… I always say to people I’m envious of how much money the players of today make, of course I would love that, but they don’t have as good a time as we had. I have friends that I still see. And I’m lucky I wasn’t in the era with cell phones and Ipads. I would probably have got locked up about twenty times for the things I did, but nobody could catch me.

As John has sailed through so many tennis eras and is well docked in the current harbours, we ask him if he expected players to be able to win twenty and more slams, and three players to win 62 [63, after Wimbledon 2022]. We also cannot but be curious to hear his say on the GOAT debate:

It’s a remarkable feat that these three players have done. I also wrote a chapter on this, called records. I like all those players but one of the things I like about Djokovic is that he is not scared to tell you that he wants to win the most titles, that’s his goal. Rafa and Roger come up with all this rubbish where they say “Oh no, that’s not my concern.” That’s just lies, of course it is. It’s in your DNA. Records are records, that’s what you live for if you are a player. And for them to say that is nonsense.

Who is the greatest of all time? It’s a fun conversation. I thought for sure that Novak was going to win more and then Nadal does what he does. I still think Novak is going to win more in the end, but for me when I talk about the greatest and all this, I switch it a little bit to say that what Rafa has done at the French Open, the 14 there, is the greatest sports achievement in any sport in history. So for me, whether he finishes second or third in terms of slams is not important. It’s a miracle he played 16 French Opens and won 14. It’s impossible what he did. That to me is the greatest achievement anyone has ever done.

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(EXCLUSIVE) Anne Keothavong Reacts To British Success At Wimbledon

The captain of the British Billie Jean king Cup team tells Ubitennis she believes her players can keep the momentum going beyond the grass swing.

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Image via https://www.twitter.com/tennisexplorer

This year’s Wimbledon Championships have without a doubt been a success for British tennis.

 

It all began during the first week when 10 Brits secured a place in the second round of the tournament – six in the men’s draw and four in the women’s. Making it the most successful start to the Grand Slam by British players since 1984. Continuing the momentum Liam Broady and Katie Boulter secured a place in the third round. Meanwhile, Heather Watson made it to the last 16 for the first time on her 12th attempt.

The stand-out Brit this year though has been Cameron Norrie who is only the fourth man from his country to reach the last four of Wimbledon in the Open Era. The breakthrough by the 26-year-old has been one in the making following a series of successes he has achieved on the ATP Tour. Norrie, who has featured in nine ATP finals since May 2021, will take on top seed Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals on Friday.

Watching the success from the sidelines is Anne Keothavong who is the current captain of the British Billie Jean King Cup team. As a player, she cracked the world’s top 50 in 2009 and was the first female player from her country to do so for 16 years. She played in 24 Grand Slam main draws during a 13-year period.

As it is with every Wimbledon, the task for the LTA is to continue the momentum generated by their players beyond the grass season. Something Keothavong thinks will be certainly possible.

“That’s the challenge. All the British players – men and women – have had an unbelievable grass-court season, not just Wimbledon,” she tells Ubitennis.
“Naturally there is a kind of a break to regroup after everything that has gone on but they will be back in training in no time and getting ready for the hardcourt season.”

Due to the ban on Russian and Belarussian players playing at British events this year, no ranking points have been issued. Undoubtedly an annoyance for the likes of Watson and Norrie but they have made peace with the situation already.

Keothavong is one of those nurturing the best female players in her country and providing any possible help if asked to. The British women have been thriving in recent months, especially Emma Raduanu who became the first qualifier in history to win a major title at the US Open. In total there are six Brits in the WTA top 200 and a further two younger players just outside. 21-year-old Francesca Jones is 219th and 20-year-old Sonay Kartal is 226th.

“On the women’s side, all of those players have so much confidence,” said Keothavong. “Their ranking is going in the right direction, they are able to enter tournaments which they might not have been able to do at the start of the grass-court season. It’s a good place to be but they need to remain focused and keep doing what they can do.”

The tennis community is described by some as a family. An analogy Keothavong can certainly relate to as she describes herself as a ‘big sister’ to the other girls. Throughout Wimbledon, the home players have spoken out in support of each other with Norrie mentioning their participation in the Battle Of The Brits exhibition helped them form a closer bond.

“If you ask them (the players) they probably say I am like a big sister to them,” she said. “In my role as Billie jean king cup captain, I guess it is important that I do maintain a good relationship with all of the players. I follow their progress and if they need extra support they know I’m there.”
“It’s really important to have that relationship with them as captain and we need to be open with each other. I don’t invade their privacy but they know if they need anything I’m there.”

Under Keothavong’s guidance, the British Billie Jean King Cup team has won six out of their last eight ties since 2019. Their only losses were to the formidable Czech Republic (2-3) earlier this year and Slovakia (1-3) in February 2021.

The team will return to action later this year in the Finals which will be held in Glasgow. Britain has been drawn in the same group as Spain and Kazakhstan.

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(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) Brad Gilbert Makes A Bold prediction on Sinner, Backs Kyrgios To Trouble Nadal

Ubitennis has an exclusive interview with the legendary coach of Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick and Andy Murray.

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When it comes to looking at the current status of men’s tennis Brad Gilbert is perhaps one of the best people to speak to. 

 

The American reached a high of world No.4 as a player, as well as winning 20 ATP Tour titles. After retiring from the sport in the mid-1990s he has become one of the most well-known coaches in the sport after working with an array of top names. Besides that, he is also an author and commentator on the sport. 

Ubitennis caught up with Gilbert at The All England Club where he spoke highly of Italy’s Jannik Sinner who led Novak Djokovic by two sets before losing in the quarter-finals. He also looks ahead to Nick Kyrgios’ semi-final clash with an injured Rafael Nadal. 

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