The hunter becomes the hunted

© Julian Finney/Reuters

Eugenie Bouchard has had an unforgettable 2015. Since reaching the quarter-finals at the Australian Open, she has lost 12 of her last 16 matches and is set to drop out of the world’s top 20 as a result of her first-round loss at Wimbledon. Many tennis pundits and critics summarized the match nicely: “her opponent didn’t win the match, she was just waiting for Bouchard to lose it.” How could it go so wrong for a player who was on an incredible 6-month run at the first three Grand Slams of the year?

Firstly, I would question her decision to part ways with her longtime coach, Nick Saviano. Why would such a change be required when you are doing so well? As explained in Peter Bodo’s article “Bouchard’s stellar, saga-laden season“, something had seemingly changed in the dynamic of their player-coach relationship, causing the split. That would be the only legitimate reason in my mind, otherwise it would of have been foolish to dispose of someone who understands your game so well (they had been together since Bouchard was 12).

Could the media publicity have gotten to her? Possibly. In fact, she was recently named as the world’s most marketable athlete. Media appearances, photo shoots, sponsorship deals start flocking and all of a sudden tennis becomes the furthest thing from your mind. And at 21, I don’t blame her for getting immersed into this world. One would still hope that she would one day replace Maria Sharapova as the commercial face of women’s tennis and not go down the road that Anna Kournikova and so many others have taken.

Many of her fans will be hoping 2016 will be a year of redemption, myself included. She doesn’t have a lot of points to defend for the rest of the year so it would be a great opportunity to sit down and reflect on what needs to be done to improve. At the moment nothing seems to be going right for her, mentally she is a train wreck, not at her best physically (currently nursing an abdominal tear) and even making headlines for what she wears on court.

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