Genie Bouchard looking to find herself - UBITENNIS
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Genie Bouchard looking to find herself

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Eugenie Bouchard (image via sportingnews.com)

Sometimes it is difficult to understand how things happens, what takes you to the top and what, instead, brings you down. You’re always the same person, you do the same old things, it’s the same you who were able to be among the best in your field and yet suddenly results stop to come. What has changed? What is going wrong?

 

These must be the questions that have been popping in Eugenie Bouchard’s head during this year in which everything has seemed to go in the wrong direction. After last year’s successes she was expected to have the ultimate breakthrough, competing for Grand Slam titles and giving new life, new fans and new endorsements to WTA. She had both the game and the look to be the new face of women’s tennis, but things are not evolving the way she, and most fans, were expecting. This year has been a free fall for the young Canadian, who managed to win only nine matches in the twenty-six she played. The season had even started on the right track, with the quarter-finals reached at the Australian Open. From then on, however, it was just losses and vague attempts at explaining what was going on, with the comparisons with Maria Sharapova shifting to comparisons with another tall blonde Russian, Anna Kournikova, who had more success in the entertainment world than in tennis.

The problems of Genie don’t have only one root, probably. Game-wise she has a high-risk, spectacular style that is often prone to errors and blackouts. She lacks variety, but that is a common trait of the prototype of the modern player, who has only a plan A: hitting strong. Additionally, after last year’s results, her opponents have started studying and figuring out her game and they know exactly what it takes to put her in a bad position. Looking, for example, at last week’s match against Roberta Vinci, when Bouchard made only one game and couldn’t understand how to respond to all the different variations coming off the Italian’s racquet. It is evident how Bouchard’s game is one based on confidence, and when losses start to accumulate it is difficult to continue believing in how you play. One solution could therefore be studying a plan B, adding variations and adopting a more patient attitude on court.

However, her frequent coach changes are not helping things go in that direction. Since December she has already changed three coaches, first leaving her 8-year guide Nick Saviano and working with Victoria Azarenka’s former-coach, Sam Sumyk. Still, this switch did not help her bring the expected outcomes, and recently she parted ways with Sumyk too. At the Open she’s been hitting with Jimmy Connors, who said he’s more a help than a real full-time coach. These continuous changes are the epitome of what is not working: there is a clear shortage of ideas from her entourage on how to handle her talent. It is not a matter of Bouchard lacking the game, because a girl who makes three consecutive Slam semifinals at 20 cannot suddenly stop knowing how to play. It is a matter of taking the right decisions, and the fault can’t be addressed entirely on the girl.

Then there is the off-court aspect. Her look has granted her popularity and constant attention by the media; she has signed with numerous sponsors, and she’s often host of various TV shows and entertainment events. This has given the impression to many that the priority of Genie is shifting from tennis to something else. Her conduct is not helping either, often assuming a diva-like attitude that could easily irritate fellow tour players and fans. She has often said that she’s not on tour to make friends, and that she has no intention of doing so, and she also refused to shake hands with her Fed Cup opponent from Romania Alexandra Dulgheru, saying that the gesture is “lame”. Lately she even took instance on Nick Kyrgios’ case, sustaining that tennis needs someone “charismatic and energetic” like him. These remarks have brought a part of the media and of fans to seeing her as a brat, as her hacked Wikipedia page shows.
Bouchard Wikipedia page
However, many other stars before her have had their share of hostility from other players and fans, from Hingis to Sharapova, from Capriati to Serena. All of them have then slightly changed their attitudes, becoming more media savvy and experienced, which is exactly what we expect from the Canadian.

This tournament, anyway, seems to have given us back the old Eugenie, the one who managed to climb to number six in the rankings. She has been playing a great, aggressive game, often anticipating the ball and coming to the net more. She will face Roberta Vinci on Sunday, in an attempt at doing better than last week, although yesterday she fell in the locker room, sustaining an head injury that forced her to withdraw from the doubles events.

Whatever the outcome of the match will be, Eugenie seemed to have regained this week that confidence and that calm she was missing. Whether it will be an isolated event or a climb back to the top, it’s up to her to decide.

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Wimbledon Cancelled And Roland Garros Punished For Its Decision

German Tennis Federation president Dirk Hordoff confirms Wimbledon will not take place in 2020. The decision by the FFT to postpone Paris will not stand: the other organizations are committed to fight. FFT’s president Giudicelli may have overplayed his hand

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A bombshell interview by French sports newspaper l’Equipe to the President of the German Tennis Federation Dirk Hordoff has released some new details about the discussions taking place behind the scenes among top tennis executive to try and sort out the chaos created by the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

According to Hordoff, the grass-court season will be a write-off in 2020, with all tournaments waiting for Wimbledon to announce the cancelation of the tournament next Wednesday to make their decision official. “It’s the only decision that makes sense,” said the German executive “it is possible to play on clay later in the year, but it is not possible to have tournaments on grass in October, you can’t play on grass when it is moist”.

But the juiciest bits of the interview described with an abundance of details the reactions to the French Federation’s decision to unilaterally postpone the Roland Garros to late September (20 September – 4 October) without waiting to reach a consensus among the ATP, the WTA and the other Grand Slam tournament. “This is not the French way of doing things, it’s Bernard Giudicelli’s way of doing things”, said Hordoff.  The FFT President Giudicelli reportedly forced the decision upon the other tournaments, uploading the press release to announce the decision while he was on a conference call with other tennis executives. “I believe he panicked because of the elections coming up [in February 2021] and wanted to score some points on his opponent” reported Hordoff. His decision to also cancel the qualifying tournament was intended to be a “biscuit” for the ITF President David Haggerty, since it would make the Davis Cup Finals in Madrid in November even more financially attractive to all the players who did not have the opportunity to earn money with the Roland Garros qualifying tournament. “He hoped to have the ITF on his side, but now he is alone against the rest of the world,” said Hordoff, adding that the ATP is threatening to remove the ranking points assigned to Roland Garros for both 2020 and 2021.

One manager at the FFT allegedly told Hardoff: “This decision will be his Waterloo”, alluding to Giudicelli’s birth region of Corisca, the island in the Mediterranean that also was Napoleon’s birthplace.

The idea for the remainder of the season would be to have Roland Garros some time between September and October, depending on when it is possible to start playing again and have a short clay-court season before then. The situation in New York is quite dire at the moment, so the US Open is still a question mark for the time being, explained Hordoff. “But the most important thing right now is people’s health. I believe that until we have a vaccine or a cure it will be difficult to start again. Can you imagine all the people travelling from tournament to tournament, all the players, the fans, the coaches, the physios, the referees? There are more important things than tennis to think about”.

“Financially tennis will be all right – concluded Hordoff – I don’t see any of the Top 100 having problems to survive even without tennis. Of course, there may be some sponsors that will pull back their support to some tournaments, but tennis will survive. It will be different, but it will survive”.

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(VIDEO) EXCLUSIVE: Jon Wertheim On The Current Status Of Tennis And What Could Happen Next

The prestigious American journalist has spoken to Ubitennis about how the sport is coping during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Should the money designated for the season-ending ATP Finals be redistributed to a fund supporting playing during the tour suspension? Will any player seriously consider boycotting the French Open in September?

 

These are just some of the questions Ubitennis founder Ubaldo Scanagatta discussed with fellow journalist Jon Wertheim. The Sports Illustrated executive editor has spoken with Ubitennis about the current situation both media professionals and athletes find themselves in due to the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic. Wertheim is the voice behind the popular tennis podcast Beyond The Baseline and is also known for his work with The Tennis Channel.

The two tennis experts also look ahead to the emergency meeting taking place on Wednesday concerning the fate of this year’s Wimbledon Championships and what they think the outcome will be.

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The Corona Impasse: What Effect Will It Have On The Careers Of Federer, Williams, The Bryans, Nadal, and Djokovic?

We’ve witnessed the retirement of several players over the last two years (Berdych, Ferrer, Almagro, Baghdatis, …). Many thought that the same would have happened in 2020, but that might not be the case any more.

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Roger Federer e Rafa Nadal - Wimbledon 2019 (foto via Twitter, @wimbledon)
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Caveat lector. All those who, after reading the title, are about to accuse me, to accuse us of click-baiting, those are invited to refrain from reading.

 

We are simply trying to discuss themes that we notice to be in the minds of the fans, and we are trying to relieve them from the more or less catastrophic updates they are bombarded with on a daily basis, at a time when actual tennis will be off limits for God knows how long.

I also warn those who are still reading, out of intellectual honesty, that I have no evidence to support the hypotheses I’m going to make in the few lines – however, I’m relying on predictions coming from inside the tennis microcosm. Most of these were made very recently, I might add, up until the cancellation of Indian Wells (feels like a century ago already!), and they appeared extremely reliable. Said predictions obviously don’t apply anymore, but I still think that some friendly and useful debate might spring, starting from a few considerations floating in my brain.

I’d like to begin by reminding the readers that, between 2019 and the dawn of the 2020 season, the unexpected Kim Clijsters comeback was counterpointed by many retirements of noted players, starting with a pair of perennial Top Tenners, David Ferrer and Tomas Berdych, joined in tennis Benidorm by Nicolas Almagro, Marcos Baghdatis (all former Top 10 players), but also Victor Estrella Burgos and Max Mirnyi, and that’s just on the men’s side.

As for females, the obvious star is Maria Sharapova, but also Sweet Caroline Wozniacki and Dominika Cibulkova. In 2018, we said goodbye to Tommy Haas, Francesca Schiavone, Roberta Vince, Karin Knapp, Nadia Petrova, Gilles Muller, Florian Mayer, Mikhail Youzhny, and I’m probably forgetting more and more.

But what was going to happen over the rest of the 2020 season and beyond? How many would have ridden off into the sunset this year?

Well, the twin rulers of doubles, Bob and Mike Bryan (119 and 124 titles, respectively) announced that they would stop after the US Open, after spending 438 weeks, as joint leaders of the ATP Rankings (although Mike actually spent 506 weeks at the top), with a streak of 139 consecutive weeks – record on record. Bonus one: they also concluded ten seasons as the world’s best. We know what’s going on in New York, and so the US Open might not take place, even if postponed.

Pedalling backwards, after the 41 years of age of the Bryans (they’ll turn 42 on April 29) we find Venus Ebony Williams, who turns 40 on June 17.

Despite winning 7 Slams out of 16 finals (5 at Wimbledon), Venus reached the N.1 spot on three different occasions but for a meagre total of 11 weeks, a chasm between her and Serena, who’s been on the throne for 319 weeks (nine more than Federer!) and has surely prevented her from doing it herself on more than one occasion.

A year ago, Venus implied to me that her goal was to play in the Olympics once more. Having already bagged four gold medals (like her sister), once in singles and thrice as a pair (with a mixed doubles silver medal on the side), Venus is the only tennis player who can boast a medal at four different Olympics (from Sydney onwards), and if she’d gotten one in Tokyo her record would have probably become even more unbreakable – let’s remember that she and Serena never lost a Slam final in the doubles.

Her spirit wasn’t broken by two defeats she suffered against a girl who might be her daughter (Coco Gauff beat her at the Championships and in Australia), at least not to the point of declaring herself ready to hang her racquet. However, even if the rankings are frozen by the virus, she’s now stuck at the 67th spot, and I’d be extremely surprised if the postponement of the Tokyo Games hasn’t made her call it a career.

Speaking of Tokyo, we know that the Olympics are now delayed till 2021 (even though the Japanese don’t want the 2020 branding to end up in a waste-bin), but we don’t know exactly when they’ll take place. Some think they might happen in June (when the UEFA Euros will also be played); some say March, when the simultaneous progress of the Sunshine Double would effectively behead the tennis event in Japan or spell a second doom for at least one event; some say they will happen in the same dates that were slated this year.

PAGE 2: WILL ROGER FEDERER AND SERENA STILL BE PLAYING IN 2021?

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