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An Interview With: Eugenie Bouchard

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Q. New York Times. Not bad. A lot of Americans will wake up tomorrow and say, Who is this girl? Is that a surprise to come so quickly? You're not exactly a household name like most Americans. How big was the Times cover? Do you see it leading to more corporate deals in terms of business?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: That's something you'll have to ask my agent.

Q. I'm sure he's thrilled.

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: Definitely an honor to be on the cover of that. I spent a couple of days when I was training in Florida talking to Sue, the writer. She came up to Montreal, too. It was a good few days to talk to her. Yeah, it was just a really interesting piece, I think. Definitely an honor.

Q. There are over 12 or 1,300 players in the draw aged 20 or under. You and Madison Keys. Do you think that's cyclical, or is there something about seeing this crop of players and you all sort of pushing each other and spurring each other on?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: I think it's a natural evolution. As the great champions get a bit older there will be some new ones coming up. I think there is a good group of us coming up. For sure, we probably motivate each other a little bit, as well. I think it's just so interesting to have great champions who are still playing so well but are getting older, to see them play against the young guns who are going out with nothing to lose. I think it makes very interesting tennis.

Q. Is there a little more pressure playing in North America, playing this Grand Slam in North America?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: I don't see more pressure just because it's in North America. But, you know, definitely know there are expectations and pressure, you know, to do well. But that's, you know, something I have to get used to and something I felt since Wimbledon and just part of the process.

Q. Are you expecting more of your Army to come down from Canada?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: I don't think the Australian version of the Genie Army is coming. I don't know if there is a New York version. We'll see.

Q. You project the ice water in your veins persona. Is that something you had someone teaching you along the way to do that, or do you think you have it?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: I think I have the self-confidence I was born with. I have always been confident in everything I do. I have always been kind of a perfectionist to try to do as well as I could. Whether it was a math test or a board game with my family, I always just wanted to win and be the best. That translated on to the tennis court as well.

Q. You talked a little bit about how your life has changed a lot since reaching the Wimbledon final. I mean, for people that really can't comprehend what that would be like, in what ways has it changed? Is it people recognizing? What have these last few weeks been like for you?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: They have definitely been, you know, busier weeks. I took some time off after Wimbledon though, which was necessary, and definitely, you know, tried to be normal a little bit for a few weeks, which was actually very nice. But for sure, you know, just being recognized a lot more, just feeling a lot of eyes on you no matter what you do, and feeling, you know, the expectations and pressure when it comes to tennis. Yeah, but it's a position I want to be in. I want to be climbing up the ladder like that. I want to be, you know, the one that people want to beat and to get to that position. I just feel like I'm on my way to the place I want to be. I'm not there yet. Still a lot of work to do.

Q. (Indiscernible) Probably don't remember.

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: I do.

Q. But it was in the stage of the quarterfinals. You were very confident then, but you did win the tournament. How important was that to get that out if the way, winning the first tournament?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: That was definitely a milestone for me. It was important for me to go to a city to play five matches and leave and not lose. There is something to be said about that. No matter what level tournament it is, that was a great accomplishment. I was proud to win my first WTA title. That was a goal of mine, so I'm glad to have accomplished that. I think it gave me confidence for the rest of the clay season and the rest of the European season, as well.

Q. The hard court leadup like you had, what do you tell yourself mentally? Obviously maybe it wasn't as good as it could have been. How do you handle that mentally?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: I'm not worried too much about my leadup to the US Open. I have looked back, and before all the slams I have had different leadups and have done well in them. You know, not to say, you know -- you never know what's going to happen is my point. I don't think there is a magic recipe of what you can do before a slam to guarantee a win because you can never guarantee the result. It's unfortunate. I would have liked to play more matches, for sure. I would have liked to have just more time on the court, but I haven't been able to do that. Just a little bit unfortunate, but I'm feeling better this week. I'm spending a lot of time on the court, so I'm looking forward to playing my first match.

Q. Are you from Montreal?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: Yes.

Q. Growing up there, probably weren't a baseball fan. That was a big thing when the Expos left town. There is talk to put the team back. They had exhibition games. It would be good for the economy if nothing else.

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: I'd love them to come back. I went to one of their last games when I was 10 years old. It was sad because the stadium was really not full, and so they left. But, you know, it would be a great thing for them to come back. We don't have many professional teams in Montreal.

Q. Are you a hockey fan?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: A little bit, yeah.

Q. What are your thoughts specifically on your first-round match?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: Well, I have played Govortsova before. Played her two years ago, but that's so long in tennis years it's almost irrelevant. I'm just so grateful to be here at a Grand Slam, and, you know, playing tennis and doing what I love. I'm just going to go out and be so excited to play a match. I haven't had that many matches on the hard courts this summer, so I'm really going to just see it as such an opportunity. I'm going to just try to go for it and try to play my best tennis and, you know, keep a positive attitude.

Q. Given the lack of that many hard court matches, how does that affect your mentality when you go out for the first time here?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: It won't affect me, I don't think. Maybe it's not the ideal leadup you want, but I don't think there is, you know, a specific way you want to lead up to a Grand Slam that's perfect, that will guarantee results. I'm going to go in knowing maybe I haven't played as many matches as I wanted to, but I have been hitting the practice courts recently and getting a lot of practice matches and I am going to go in swinging from the first round. It's important for me to go in and go for it. Whether I have played ten matches or not, I still have to fight and battle no matter what. That's what I'm going to do.

Q. For recreational players that want to train like a professional athlete, what are a couple of your favorite exercises to do in the gym and what are a couple where you say, Oh, my God, that was terrible?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: I think tennis is interesting because you need everything. You need to, you know, have good flexibility. I spend a lot of time stretching. You need cardio for those long points. So I would do probably, you know, bike intervals and things like that. But you also need the strength. I work out with my fitness trainer and we do strength programs. That's why I think tennis is so hard. You need kind of every aspect of it. Even then you still get on the court and you still need to be kind of like tennis fit, match fit, which you can only get from playing. You need a good combination of everything.

Q. (Question regarding Sports Illustrated jinxes.)

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: That didn't cross my mind. I'm not superstitious.

Q. You look ahead in the draw or don't you?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: I don't, because it's not about superstition. It's just something I don't need to worry about. To get to the finals you need to win your first round. It's just as important as the final match. So I'm just going to focus on this first round, because that's all -- the only match I'm going to play right now.

Q. In terms of scouting the other player, how do you prepare for a match?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: I let my coach do that. He likes to scout the players. He'll give me, you know, some tips on my opponent and, you know, her tendencies and things like that. So that's what we do about that. He also reminds me that it's about what I do on the court, as well, and to not focus too, too much on the opponent.

Q. Are you at all surprised just how quickly you have arisen up the ranks? I am sure you always expected to get in the top 10, but to be unseeded last year and now a Top 10 seed, are you surprised how quickly that has come in one year?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: I wouldn't say surprised. Definitely proud of how I have come such a long way in a short time. But, you know, I have dreamed out of this path that I'm on, and so in my head it's kind of a step in the journey. It's something I have envisioned already of what I'm doing. But it is a little crazy to think like two years ago I was in the juniors here and I lost like second round juniors. Definitely happy to be doing better than that.

Q. How do you like this environment, the US Open? What are you thinking about it?

EUGENIE BOUCHARD: It's very exciting. I see the US Open as glamorous. That's the word that comes to mind. The city is so full of energy. The fans get really into it here. It's a crazy, busy, hectic week. If we had this all year round maybe it would be too much, but for the US Open it's amazing. I think all the players are excited to come back here. I am also very excited. Every time I come, I act as if it's the first time I'm here and I'm taking pictures and like a little kid in the car looking out the window. I have been like ten times. It has this special effect on you.

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